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Grey Matters, February 8, 2016; Volume 4, Number 22

posted Feb 7, 2016, 11:42 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jun 24, 2016, 5:27 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

The snowstorm that we had on Friday came, at least for me, a bit out of nowhere.  Given the timing and heaviness of the snow (and subsequent power outages), a snow day made a lot of sense.  And with Friday’s school cancellation comes the obligatory photograph of my kids enjoying the winter wonderland by making a snowman, so I can project to all of you an idyllic image of our family’s snow day activities. This carefully selected photo does not share with all of you the following: (1) the two hours of on and off bickering that dominated the morning; (2) my incoherent explanation that ended with the brilliant and always effective, “because I said so” to one of my children for why playing Minecraft all day was not likely to happen; and (3) the moment five minutes after the photo to the right was taken, when one of our children karate chopped the snowman to pieces and then ate half of the snowman’s carrot nose. Before the snowman met it’s untimely end, the kids did share with us that they had decided to name their creation after a certain colorful candidate for President because, and I quote, “it had a really weird hair thing on the front of its head.”  The eventual dismantling of the snowman was not really a political statement, but in response to my pointing out that they had built their creation in the middle of our driveway, which I needed to clear with the snowblower.  

And now I hear that we may continue to get more snow over the next three days. Right now, it sounds like it won’t interfere with school on Monday, but we’ll clearly need to monitor for any shifts in timing or intensity of snowfall at the start of this week.  So everyone should stay tuned for any changes that might affect our school schedule.  In the meantime, this recent stretch of snowy weather has prompted me to make additional contributions to my “San Francisco or Bust” jar, including some extra dollar bills that I threw in there this past weekend.  I would have contributed more, but Melisa and I used the snow day to register our kids for their various camp activities this summer, and by the end of that process my credit card melted from excessive use.  Just a friendly reminder that with last Friday’s snow day, our last day of school now shifts by a day to Tuesday, June 21.  

On Friday, we will enter the break by having our annual Blue & Gold Day assembly, which has traditionally served as a celebration of school spirit, and where we gather as a whole school (which only really happens a few times a year).  Last year’s assembly involved RJ Grey staff participating in a  musical chairs-themed challenge, and the year before it was a Hunger Games-inspired activity.  In both events, there were moments when the competitive spirit overcame our contestants, and children were witness to some lively moments.  I’m usually in the corner of the gym, biting my nails and worrying about workplace injury claims.  Whatever happens on Friday, I am sure we’ll post pictures of the event on our school’s Twitter feed, and it will make for a great start to the February Break.  A friendly reminder that there will be no homework assigned for the vacation period, and we hope families use this time to cultivate other parts of their family’s life, be it in the form of leisure and social activities, or simply quality time with each other.

Chinese New Year starts today, so I wanted to wish everyone who celebrates the event (and even those who don’t), a happy and festive new year as we enter the Year of the Monkey.  Perhaps some of you might want to use the new year as an opportunity to try some new Chinese restaurants.  If so, the Boston Globe recently included an article that featured a number of Chinese restaurant options in the suburbs, and a few of their suggestions might appeal to you.  Speaking of food, our new Iron Chef Cooking Club had its first meeting last week, and it went really well.  I believe fresh salsa was the focus of this session, and the students had a great time.  We really do wish we could have included every student who wanted to sign up for this program, and I’ll be sure to meet with Ms. Rimpas and Ms. Nelson later this Spring to figure out what makes sense moving forward given the significant interest.  In the meantime, for those who enjoyed the article I shared last week about the science behind making really good macaroni and cheese, you might also want to check out this 2014 posting on, entitled, “The Science Behind Baking Your Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie”.  

Thank you to everyone who attended last Wednesday evening’s presentation by Dr. Abigail Baird.  There were about 100 to 120 who joined us for the event, and I hope each of them found it to be a worthwhile use of their time.  Dr. Baird also presented to the Junior High and High School staff the following day, and it was very well received, with many hoping that Abby might be open to returning next year to continue the conversation.  Abby covered a great deal in both of her presentations, including a piece about why, and in what ways, peers matter a great deal to adolescents during this formative period of their lives.  One minor talking point in her presentation was a reminder about how peers will usually develop a shared language, a set of expressions, and references to popular culture that are specific to their group, and will last into their adult years.  In other words, for those of you who are also entertained and made a bit giddy by the recent news that Mark Paul Gosselear will be a guest on Tiffani Thiessen’s cooking show, thus creating the long-awaited reunion of Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowsky from Saved by the Bell, you and I are likely part of the same tribe/peer group.  

A final reminder that the R.J. Grey Junior High yearbook is offering you the chance to send your love, pride and congratulations to the graduating 8th grade R.J. Grey student in your life.  You can purchase one of two advertisement formats to relay a message that your 8th grade student will cherish. Please click the link for more information.  You can also contact Vicki Weeks ( with additional questions.  The deadline to submit ads is this Friday, February 12.  

Another final reminder to 8th grade families that this Thursday, February 11th at 7pm the high school will be hosting an evening for the parents of 8th graders. The night will begin in the high school auditorium with a welcome by principal Dr. JoAnn Campbell followed by a brief presentation by each department leader focusing on the classes available to ninth grade students. Please also note that this event is geared specifically for a parent/guardian audience, and not for the students themselves.

Finally, our District has identified three finalists for the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services position.  You can read more about the finalists by viewing this announcement, and members of the community are invited to meet with all three candidates this evening (Monday night) between 7:00pm and 9:15pm in the Junior High Library.  Each candidate will have an opportunity to introduce themselves and answer questions that member of the community may have for them.

Have a great week, and a wonderful February Break, everyone.