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Grey Matters, April 25, 2016; Volume 4, Number 31

posted Apr 24, 2016, 12:39 PM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 24, 2016, 5:24 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back! I hope everyone had an April Break that met whatever goals you might have set for that time off from school (and work).  Hopefully the good weather in the Boston area gave those who stayed local the opportunity to begin some Spring-related activities.  As you know, 100 students and 10 of us chaperones made

our way to Washington D.C. for the first half of the vacation week, starting with a 3:30am departure on Sunday to Logan Airport.  We returned to RJ Grey at midnight on Wednesday evening (without having lost anyone), and then the Shen family took off for New York City mid-day on Thursday.  Whatever possessed me to think that such a brief turnover was a good idea is beyond me.  Both adventures turned out to be great experiences for all involved. At this very moment, I hope all will understand and be sympathetic to the moderate feeling of exhaustion that is currently overwhelming my body and mind.  When some energy has returned I look forward to sharing with everyone over the next few weeks highlights of our trip.  In the meantime, I offer these three teasers to tide you over: (1) what I learned by listening to a group of 8th grade boys coordinating plans to rent a microwave for their hotel room; (2) the giddiness that anyone of any age experiences when the President’s helicopter flies low over your head and comes in for a landing on the White House lawn while you’re right across the street; and (3) the hot mess that your Principal became while going through two security checkpoints at the Supreme Court, with his belt in one hand, holding up his shorts with his other hand, and explaining to the less-than-amused security guard that it was normal for my Fitbit to have a rapidly flashing green light.  Drama notwithstanding, I was the last one allowed in to watch the final ten minutes of an actual court hearing of a case that originated in Massachusetts, so the temporary possibility of getting tackled was all worth it.  On a serious note, we will be appropriately spending the rest of the year finding multiple opportunities to thank parent chaperone Dr. Jeff Ristaino for serving as our medical support for the trip, and for doing so with such grace, humor and patience throughout the entire adventure.

This week is a busy one in terms of our engagement with current 6th grade families whose children plan to join us at RJ Grey in September.  We have our Curriculum Night scheduled for this Wednesday evening, and then we have two days of tours that we offer to parents and guardians on Thursday and Friday; and then on the following Monday, the PTSO is hosting an event where families can engage directly with current parents to discuss the transition process and the strategies, advice, and reassurances that our parents are most equipped to offer to incoming families.  If you have friends and/or neighbors who are joining the RJ Grey community for the first time this Fall, please encourage them to attend some of these programs, as we look forward to welcoming them (and their children) to our school.  

I’m excited to share with everyone a new dimension to the all-school assembly that we hold on the last day of school (for students and staff).  This year, as part of our celebration and annual send-off, the English Department will be sponsoring a (friendly) contest for students who wish to read an original poem during the assembly.  Called, “The Final Verse”, current 8th grade students are invited to submit an original poem that speaks to one of a few possible themes (such as life lessons, memories, endings/beginnings).  One of the submitted poems will be selected and the student author will be invited to read it as part of the year-end celebration.  8th grade English teachers will share more information directly with students, and families can review the details of this contest by clicking here.  Students who submit a piece must make sure to give it to their English teacher by May 26.  

The week prior to the April Break, I met with our fifth group of Everyday Leaders, who joined me for some pizza and conversation, as the students caught me up on how the school year has gone, and some ideas I should entertain for next year.  Congratulations to the following students whose teachers included them in this cohort of Everyday Leaders: Riley Fagans, Ashleigh Parlman, Katie Jackson, Matt Erickson, Charissa Yu, Sean Bamberry, Katie Kaminski, Jack Bartle, Caroline Caruso, and Tal Dassau.  

Finally, for those who ran the Boston Marathon last week, or who went to the event to cheer on friends and family, I hope it was a great day for all of you. Congrats to 8 Orange Science teacher Mae Shoemaker who completed the marathon for the umpteenth time in her storied running career.  

Have a great week, everyone.  Welcome back.