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Grey Matters, March 30, 2015; Volume 3, Number 28

posted Mar 29, 2015, 2:34 PM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 6, 2015, 6:42 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

I have a friend, Bill, who used to live in Providence, and then ten years ago trekked across the country and landed in Marin County, which is in the North San Francisco Bay area.  His school (he’s a history teacher) just started their Spring Break last Friday, and so on Saturday, I was treated to the below photo of him and his wife (or at least their bare feet), enjoying the view from their porch.  billandstori.jpgMany of you might recall that on Saturday, it snowed here in our lovely neck of the woods.  All. Day. Long.  

After viewing the photo, it was tempting to to send Bill a grumpy reply that would unfairly project my frustration with our weather onto him, but at least would be somewhat cathartic (for me).  It was also tempting to call him and ask him to get me a job at his school.  I’m sure they could use some help directing traffic during their morning drop-offs.

Speaking of directing traffic, those of you who do drop your children off in the lower parking lot in the morning likely crossed paths with Mr. Crossman, one of our Minuteman Tech teachers, who filled in for me on Wednesday since I wasn’t at school, and I wanted to thank him for taking on the challenge on short notice.  You may be shocked to learn that no one’s really attempted to wrestle morning traffic duty away from Mr. Marcotte’s and my cold fingers; which is fine since it’s actually quite nice to have a routine in the morning that involves seeing a lot of the same students and parents in the morning.  It would just be nicer if I didn’t have to wear snow pants while I am out there.  

We are finishing up the first round of MCAS testing at the start of this week.  7th grade students have the English Language Arts MCAS (reading comprehension) portion on Monday and Tuesday.  Any students who were absent during the initial testing period will be asked to make it up later in the week.  The Math portion of MCAS, along with the Science and Technology MCAS for 8th grade (only), will be administered in the first week of May.  

As we mentioned last week, the portal is now open for current 8th grade students to register for their classes at the high school next year.  Here again is a link to the Power School Parent Portal. Please contact your child’s current RJ Grey counselor if you might have any questions about the process.  

Another reminder about our Spring sports programs.  Softball tryouts started last week (in the gym) and finishes up this Wednesday; baseball tryouts don’t start until next Monday.  Anyone interested in participating in our track program needs to attend an informational meeting after school on Monday (March 30th) in the auditorium, to learn more about program expectations.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the track program is going to offer students the choice to sign up for one of two options: (1) students who can commit to at least three practices per week, including all home meets, should sign up for the Blue Team.  Students who wish to travel to away meets (in addition to home meets) and be eligible for relay teams and field events can sign up for the Gold Team.  Gold Team members are expected to attend all practices and all meets, without exception (unless the student is sick and absent from school).  It is entirely up to the student (and his/her family) to choose the best option that makes the most sense for him or her.  

This Wednesday evening is the community event featuring Dr. Michael Thompson, who will be speaking on the subject of “The Pressured Child” (which is also the title of his most recent book).  It will be held in the High School auditorium, and begins at 7pm.  I hope you’ll consider attending, as I think Dr. Thompson has some perspective on modern parenting and schooling that might resonate with some of our own experiences, challenges, and questions that we have here in Acton and Boxborough.  For those who might want to see a brief snapshot of Dr. Thompson, I found this five-minute video of him speaking to parents in, I think, California.  

Now that we are entering the month of April, we will soon begin in earnest our outreach to 6th grade students and their families, and introducing aspects of the registration and transition process.  If you have neighbors and friends who have 6th graders and are new to the Junior High, please encourage them to attend some of the programs and information sessions that we offer later this month (i.e. the curriculum night, the PTSO parent panel, and the tours for parents during the school day).  They’ll all be receiving this week letters that list the dates and times for all of these opportunities.  

Finally, some friendly calendar reminders for this week.  First, town elections take place this Tuesday, March 31st (and the Junior High is one of the polling stations).  Please be sure to vote! Secondly, there is a half-day of school scheduled for Thursday, April 2.  Students will be dismissed at 10:40am (regular bus routes will run at that time), and staff will remain for professional development.  Finally, there is also NO SCHOOL the following day, Friday, April 3, as it is Good Friday.  

Have a great week, everyone.