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Grey Matters, October 6, 2014; Volume 3, Number 5

posted Oct 5, 2014, 4:12 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 6, 2015, 6:59 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

Glenn Brand, our new Superintendent, has made plans to visit each of the schools fairly regularly throughout the year.  During a visit to RJ Grey this past Monday, Glenn and I first met in my office to talk about a few of my goals, and then our plan was to visit a number of classrooms.  Halfway through my explanation of a particular goal, Glenn had a bit of a confused look and started staring intently down at my feet, which had me wondering if I was making no sense whatsoever.  No, it wasn’t my explanation that had him bewildered, it was the mouse that was running laps around the base of my chair that had his attention.  Along with our head custodian, we spent the next ten minutes of what was intended to be a time to put my (and our school’s) best foot forward, re-enacting this scene from Tom & Jerry.  Thankfully, our new Superintendent has a good sense of humor.  

Along with being present in our schools, I know Glenn is working hard to connect with many members of the community, and has plans for other forums to engage with all of you (stay tuned for invitations).  Along with in-person contact, you may want to consider following him on Twitter which you can do by visiting his Twitter feed.  His feed currently has 166 followers.  RJ Grey’s Twitter feed currently has 162 followers.  Not that I’m remotely competitive, but a bit of adrenaline did run through my veins when I saw that we were behind by 4 - so help us out by following our feed, which also provides you with useful updates and photos of what’s happening in and around school.  

A few calendar notes to share with all of you.  First, for those who observe Yom Kippur, I hope the experience was a meaningful one for all of you this past weekend.  Also, please note that there is no school next Monday, October 13 as part of the Columbus Day long weekend.  For those who have thought about doing some apple and/or pumpkin picking that weekend, here is a link to a site that lists most (if not all) of the orchards in the immediate area; if during your visit to an orchard you are deciding which pumpkin to take home and whether it’s too big (or not big enough), consider comparing it to this pumpkin that won first prize at the Topsfield Fair (and got to have its picture taken next to someone wearing a tiara).  Finally, a reminder to 8th grade families that Minuteman Technical High School will be visiting RJ Grey this Tuesday and Wednesday to provide students with a brief overview of the school and the application process.  For those who want to know more about this option, I would encourage you to email your child’s counselors.  

I want to highlight a program that we are offering to our families on the evening of October 22 from 7pm to 9pm (though limited to 15 female student/parent pairs - I’ll explain in a moment).  As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, we made the decision to shift from away from our one day Project Wellness model and instead working on offering student clubs, programs, and workshops throughout the year .  As part of this shift, we knew that we had to make an effort to bring the workshop that was facilitated by IMPACT, the self-defense and violence prevention workshop that was of the most popular options at Project Wellness.  

IMPACT is a leader in offering interactive workshops to adolescents and adults that focus on strategies and tools for protecting yourself using one’s voice, building self-confidence and becoming assertive.  Classes are taught by a team of two instructors, and includes simulations where one of them wears a padded suit so students can safely simulate defense tactics.  Because of how the program is structured, IMPACT provides instruction in small groups.  This first offering will be for female students only (the parent/guardian can be male or female).  If we get significant interest from our families, we plan to schedule subsequent sessions with IMPACT for additional students, including a session for our male students.  For more information about IMPACT, check out their website.  

To register for the workshop offered on October 22 (7-9pm), please email Kate Murray at  Registration for the 15 female student/parent pairings will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.  If we aren’t able to include you in this session, we will definitely begin a wait list for the next offering.  

A quick heads up to 7th grade families -- starting October 15, every 7th grade team will be traveling to the Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State.  This is a trip that we take every year as part of the science curriculum, and very much emphasizes the importance of communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.  If you’d like to read a bit more about the McAuliffe Center, you can visit their site by clicking here.  

Finally, in this week’s installment of strange headlines, I leave you with a link to the article I came across last night entitled, “Coast Guard Rescues Man Running Across Ocean in Bubble” which only narrowly beat the more locally-oriented article, “Trading Tom Brady May Make More Sense than the Patriots Will Admit.”  

Have a great week, everyone.