Welcome and welcome back to RJ Grey. I hope everyone enjoyed their summer, and that you all found opportunities to use the time in a way that was satisfying, and included at least a little bit of laughter, good company and some lasting memories. With this 4-day Labor Day weekend, perhaps you've each found an opportunity to reclaim a bit of what we left behind with the end of summer.
From our vantage point, the school year has started off well, and we hope you received similar feedback from your sons and daughters. For those new to RJ Grey, please be assured that we dedicate the first few days to helping every student get acclimated to his/her surroundings, and we know that there's a lot to take in during these first few days. We had opening assemblies for both grades, and the 7th grade assembly included a short welcome video that we hope gave students a snapshot of what will be part of their school year. Our hope is that each student ended last week knowing how excited we are to be working with them.
There are some members of the administrative team that we should introduce to you. This year, Mr. Marcotte (Assistant Principal) will travel with our current 8th grade students, and continue working primarily with them. Jim is joined by Ms. Dancause and Ms. McGowan, two of our counselors. Ms. Warren will be the Assistant Principal working with 7th grade teams, and she will be joined by our other two counselors, Ms O'Brien and Mr. Duclos.
Getting back briefly to some of the nuts and bolts that we covered last week, last Thursday we had our first fire/evacuation drill of the year and it went extremely well. We will have three more fire drills this year, and later this month we will practice our emergency lockdown procedure for when there might be an unsafe situation in or around the school campus. For those of you who might be visiting RJ Grey during the day, please remember that visitors can only enter through the front door, and must sign in at the main office window. If and when you do come through the front door, you'll be greeted by Ms. Katy Frey, who is our front office receptionist/Director of Office Affairs. If you need some additional guidance about the dismissal process (managed by Katy), please visit this page on our web site.
Many of you who have dropped off your children in the morning have probably encountered Mr. Marcotte and I directing traffic in the lower parking lot. If you need some clarification about where to enter, and when cars can leave campus from the exit nearest to Prospect Street, please review this document. While some of the morning traffic can be a bit of a nuisance, I shared this site with families at the start of last year, and do so again this year, as a way to offer some perspective on some of the woes that we might experience over the course of the upcoming year.
By now I hope most of you have had an opportunity to visit our school website - rjgrey.abschools.org. We make every effort to keep the site current, and you can access a number of important school documents, and connect to individual teacher websites. In addition to our website, we have an RJ Grey Twitter account - please consider signing up! This account will repeat some information that will always be included in our Daily Announcements, and also gives us a platform to share some fun photos and notes about activities taking place within the school. Over the course of last year, we more than doubled our following, and sit at a respectable 332 followers. To be sure, Dr. Brand has twice our following, though I chalk that up to his ability to declare snow days, which is clearly a distinct advantage (or at least that's the excuse I use to give me comfort).
There's a few upcoming events and activities that I want to make sure families have on their respective radars:
Within the next week, our website will include a list of clubs and after school activities that are open for all students to join. In the meantime, I did want to highlight a few new activities that are beginning very soon (one this week), and involve slightly different sign-up processes:
Continuing with the subject of after school options, our Library will again be available to RJ Grey students after school from , and directly supervised by a staff member. Our hope is to create the feel of a "learning commons" where different types of independent and group work can take place, and students can access resources in a variety of ways. With this in mind, the Library should not be viewed as a space for socializing after school. We aren't requiring absolute silence, though we want an environment where chaos is kept at a minimum. Please also know that we can not accommodate the siblings of our students who may be attending other schools on campus. If your child is not interested in the Library but needs to wait for bit of time for a ride, we have expanded the number of couches and tables found in our Lobby, and students are welcome to congregate there. A reminder to families that they should work directly with their children on communicating their whereabouts after school has ended.
Finally, Back to School Night will be on Wednesday, September 24th - save the date!On that evening, we ask parents to vote for two 7th grade parent/guardian representatives who will serve on this year's School Council. The School Council is comprised of four parents, three RJ Grey staff members, and yours truly. The role of the School Council is to review and discuss various aspects of the school's activities and goals, and offer advice and guidance about different topics that may emerge during the year. The Council will meet seven times this year, email@example.com or to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. evenings ( being the first one). If you are a 7th grade parent interested in serving on the Council, please submit a short paragraph about yourself by on for the ballot. Write-ups can be sent to PTSO co-chair Tammy Sarnelli at
Have a great week, everyone. Welcome back.