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Grey Matters, June 5, 2017; Volume 5, Number 36

posted Jun 4, 2017, 6:52 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 18, 2017, 11:02 AM by James Marcotte ]


Hi Everyone,


With the passing of every season I have experienced significant personal growth in my abilities as my three childrens’ personalized taxi service for their various, and overlapping, extracurricular activities.  Accounting for in-town traffic at certain times, prioritizing who to drop off first and when, and figuring out whether it makes more sense to simply wait at the practice instead of coming back at the end, are all becoming more instinctual and automatic.  When Melisa and I were first dating and later married, we would have, similar to other budding romances, moments of bonding and connection where we might finish each other’s sentences about shared ideas about the world, or common interests and goals for the future.  We still have plenty of sentence-finishing moments, though now they are mostly along the lines of Andrew: “So if I get Hayden to soccer at 3:45, and then bring Parker to baseball for his 4:00 start, then…” Melisa: “you can get back to Hayden’s game by 4:15 and I’ll have dropped Addie off at her practice with her overnight bag so she can go to the sleepover straight from there.”  Not exactly a dialogue you’d find in a Nora Ephron movie, but I suppose there’s still some romance within that scene (it’s just buried and hidden under the frenzy of our family’s schedule).  I am sure that similar to many of you, there is a temptation to try and figure out ways to consolidate or streamline the extracurricular commitments of our kids.  The one exception I would make to this current goal is if any of our kids became interested in the growing movement of playing in a quidditch league (see photo above).  I had heard a few years ago that the Harry Potter-inspired game had been growing, and now there is actually a Major League Quidditch league.  Check out this NPR article about the growth of the quidditch movement, and get a glimpse of the Major League Quidditch website.  While we’re on the subject of activities for kids and families, this month’s Challenge Success newsletter from our District is out and available to families.  The focus is on the concept of carving out enough Playtime, Downtime, and Family Time (PDF) in our respective schedules, especially as we prepare to enter the summer months.  


Here’s a few reminders for you and your kids:


  • An important reminder for 7th grade families that the RJ Grey Student Council will be hosting the 7th Grade Celebration in the school gym this Friday, June 9 from 7-9 pm.

  • The 8th Grade End-of-Year Celebration is scheduled for the following Friday, June 16, from 7 to 9:30pm.  

  • Have you sent in your child’s permission slip for the end-of-year Kimballs (7th) or Canobie (8th) trip?  Thanks in advance for your attention to this.  

  • If your child has books and materials from our Library, please remind them to begin returning those items.  We know that it often takes a bit longer to really get everything returned (and sometimes requires more than one reminder, occasionally four or five…).

  • On a related note, I do want to make families aware of textbook “obligations.”  Over the next few weeks, teachers will begin collecting textbooks, library books, and other materials that need to be returned to the school. Please work with your children on locating textbooks that might be hidden under piles of laundry, and avoid replacement fees (some of which can reach a painful $75 for a textbook).


I want to be sure to acknowledge the recent beginning of Ramadan, which for our Muslim classmates, neighbors and friends will continue through late June.  Thank you to the students and families who have taken a moment to share with us their experiences and what, for them, serves as the most important and impactful aspects of Ramadan.  Messages and stories focused on family traditions, spiritual importance, and rejuvenation have been part of different conversations. A few of our students who are fasting this month have also had conversations with teachers about options and choices for their daily lunch period.  There will be some students who are fasting who may still want to be in the cafeteria so they can spend some downtime with their friends.  For students who would prefer to be in a space other than the cafeteria, a few teams have started to identify some supervised rooms that can be available during lunch.  We will continue to work with each of our teams to offer messages to all of our students about the choices that are available and the standing invitation to speak to any of us about anything they’d like us to keep in mind as they and their families continue to observe Ramadan this month.  


With the summer months fast approaching, our District wants to provide families with a number of resources related to summer reading and digital citizenship.  Our Edtech department has created a Digital Citizenship page that includes recommended websites dedicated to informing families about online media, internet filtering guidelines suggestions for social media privacy settings, and more.  Given that most incidences of inappropriate online behavior occur outside of school hours, the unstructured summer months can be tricky.  Click here to visit the  Edtech page on Digital Citizenship.  


For those of you whose children might be open to some continued pleasure reading over the summer (it’s coming up quickly), two resources for you: (1) our RJ Grey Library website includes a number of links to book lists and search engines that provide suggestions based on specific interests; and (2) the High School has released its updated Summer Reading List (click here to view) that it encourages all of its students, including rising 9th grade students (those are your kids, 8th grade parents!), to look at if they’re stuck for suggestions.  Please note that the High School does not have any required summer reading for 9th grade English, but they do want to encourage students to find something to enjoy and read.  They also want to note that a number of the titles on the list are ones that families could read together.

A very important note about our end-of-year field trips on Wednesday, June 21, regarding transportation home at the end of the day: 7th grade students will return to RJ Grey before the 2:06 dismissal, and can take the bus home during the “regular” time (or be picked up).  Our 8th graders will be returning from Canobie around 3:45pm.  Please note that our District’s buses will return to do a second run for our 8th grade students. However, because they are finishing their elementary routes, some buses will pick students up at 4:00pm, and others may start these second runs closer to 4:15pm.  We will stay with the students in the auditorium until their buses arrive, or families are welcome to make other arrangements to pick their children up after we return.  We just want everyone to be aware of the timing.  For any questions, please contact Jim Marcotte at


Finally, we had our last round of Everyday Leaders last week, bringing our total number of students recognized through this effort to a little over 60.  I messed up, though, and left the list of students at work and I don’t want to leave anyone out.  I’ll celebrate and mention them in next week’s edition!


Have a great week, everyone.