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Grey Matters, April 11, 2016; Volume 4, Number 30

posted Apr 10, 2016, 8:26 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 24, 2016, 5:24 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,     

The success of our new Iron Chef Cooking Club has led to a second round of sessions so we could invite previously wait-listed students who couldn’t participate the first time around.  As they were preparing for this next series of activities, I mentioned to Deb Rimpas (Health teacher and club advisor) that I recently came upon an article that highlighted the less-than-healthy concoctions that many baseball parks are actually offering to its patrons - ranging from the hot dog covered in cotton candy to the one pound bag of cheetos that is opened up and topped with one’s choice of “chili, taco meat, chicken, or brisket then covered in nacho cheeses.”  See above photo of the burger/pizza/coronary on a plate is offered down in Atlanta.  While many of you are well aware of my (and my youngest son’s) affection for bacon, we’ve got our limits (though I was excited to read about this bacon-themed gastropub opening up in Worcester!). Rest assured that our cooking club will be taking a slightly different approach to our exploration of food.  Speaking of food, I hope the students on 7 Red enjoyed participating in that team’s annual egg drop competition.  The shouts of joy (and playful anguish) that were coming from the cafeteria last Thursday gave me the impression that everyone was having a good time watching different student groups’ attempts to design a contraption that would provide a safe landing for their egg.  As you can see in the photo to the left, Ms. Doiron had the honors for setting the eggs on their voyage to the cafeteria’s tile flooring.  

    A few updates, reminders and acknowledgements for this week: 

    Registration forms from current 7th grade students for their 8th grade year were due last Friday.  Thank you        to the many families who submitted those forms.  If you’ve still got that form, please send it in with your child     or bring it to the main office right away.  

  • For any 7th grade families considering a math override, please remember that the deadline for that request is this Friday, April 15th, and the override form must be submitted by that date.  We will not be able to accept requests after that date.  

  • We had about 170 8th grade students join us last Friday night for a fun Spring Fling social event in the gym. We hope everyone had a great time, and enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time together that evening. Many thanks to our parent volunteers/coordinators Tina Connors, Susan Rigby, and Carol Zeroual.  Also, many thanks to our teacher chaperones Mrs. Ahl, Mrs. Latham, Mr. Balulescu, Mrs. Shoemaker, Ms. Mazonson, Mrs. Lin, Mrs. Byrne, and Ms. Kelley.

                                                                            We are done with
MCAS testing for the next few weeks.  Math MCAS for 7th and 8th grade students, and                                                                                         Science MCAS for 8th grade students, will take place the week of May 9th.  

April Vacation is next week,  and so couple of things on that.  First, Friday is a full day of school.  If your travel plans involve your child missing some school we would appreciate your letting us know ahead of time so we can manage the attendance process a bit more easily.  Secondly, I wanted to continue offering a reminder and encouragement to use the vacation period to prioritize “playtime” and/or downtime for your kids.  Remember, there’s no homework assigned over the vacation periods, and that’s so families can comfortably attend to other activities and interests.  There will, of course, be 101 RJ Grey students who are visiting Washington D.C. during the first half of the April Vacation, and we hope everyone’s excited for that adventure.  I’ll be attending this trip, along with teachers Marc Lewis, Gabby Berberian, Lana Paone, Chris Fenniman, Denis  Reedy, Deb Rimpas, Val Glod, Lynne Kondracki, and parent Dr. Jeff Ristaino.  Many thanks to Mr. Lewis for coordinating this trip, and to Dr. Ristaino for providing medical support  for our group.  

I hope everyone received and had a chance to read the letter that was sent to all Acton-Boxborough families about some areas we hope to prioritize in our work with staff and families, and our upcoming work with Challenge Success.  That letter made reference to a student survey we hope to administer between April 25 and May 4 to students in grades 6 through 12.  Tomorrow (Monday), I will be sending an email to all RJ Grey parents and guardians that provides a bit more information regarding the survey, as well as a document from Challenge Success that describes the scope of the survey in more depth.  I’m looking forward to this work, and hope many of you share my interest in what the survey will provide us in terms of better appreciating the current experiences and perspectives of our students.  

We had our most recent edition of Poetry Fridays at the end of last week, with Mr. Malloy offering to us a piece that poet Ted Kooser wrote about American artist Mary Cassatt.  Entitled, “A Box of Pastels” Kooser pays homage to an artist who often created images of the social and private lives of women, with a particular focus on the special bond between mothers and children.  Click here if you’d like to read the poem.  

Finally, I read with a good deal of enjoyment a tribute to children’s author Beverly Cleary, who turns 100 this coming Tuesday.  Nicholas Kristof’s piece in the New York Times offered those of us who remember with some fondness the adventures of Ramona Quimby, a few moments of nostalgia and I appreciated the opportunity to turn back the clock a bit.  Not sure I’ll feel the same if and when author Judy Blume reaches her next milestone birthday (she’s currently 78).  I have a more jarring and semi-traumatic memory of when, as a fairly naive and sheltered 5th grade boy who loved to read anything within arms reach, innocently came upon Ms. Blume’s, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.   I still remember feeling like I had entered an alternate universe and being completely disoriented after finishing that book.  

Have a great week, and a wonderful April Vacation, everyone.