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Grey Matters, May 8, 2017; Volume 5, Number 32

posted May 7, 2017, 7:32 AM by Andrew Shen   [ updated Jul 18, 2017, 11:08 AM by James Marcotte ]

Hi Everyone,

I hope that by now all of you had an opportunity to read the letter that Dr. Brand sent to all members of the Acton-Boxborough community about our District’s work on the issue of school start times.  If that email got buried amongst a whole slew of other messages that arrived in your Inbox I’ve made a copy of the letter and you can easily access the message by clicking here.  Dr. Brand’s note provides a summary of our work around the question of changing school start times, and includes a link to a community survey about potential options for start times at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels.  If you have a little bit of time, please consider reviewing the start time information and completing the survey so we include community perspective on this incredibly important topic.  Most of you are probably aware that school start times is receiving a lot of attention at both the national and international level.  There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t see multiple articles about research on sleep, proposed legislation, and debates about the challenges and benefits of later (and earlier) start times for students.  Just last week the Education Subcommittee of the California state legislature passed a bill that would require all schools within the state to start school no earlier than 8:30am, and now it travels on to the next stage of deliberation.  More locally, the school start time task force in Falmouth (in the Cape) recently recommended that no changes (for now) be made to their schools’ start times.   A few weeks ago a piece in The Atlantic attempted to tackle one of the most oft-cited and contentious elements of the school start time debate, which is the potential impact on athletic programs. Because questions and concerns about athletics is something that I am sure will emerge within our community’s analysis of school start time options, that article might be of interest to you.  Please complete the survey (click here to go directly to the survey)!  

We are about to enter the final week of MCAS testing (insert cheers, streamers, and noisemakers here).  On Monday and Tuesday, all 7th grade students will be completing the Math portion of the MCAS.  For the remainder of the week, students (both 7th and 8th grade) who were absent for one or more sections of MCAS will be scheduled into make up sessions.  

Interim reports for this current Spring Trimester will likely be sent via US Postal mail on Tuesday or Wednesday.  If your child receives one or more from his/her teachers, it’s likely that it arrived with Wednesday's or Thursday’s mail.  If you have any questions about those interims, please start a dialogue with your child’s teacher.  

Come see the Spring One-Act Plays put on by our Stageworks drama program. TWO hilarious comedies about life in the age of the INTERNET! The shows are Thursday, May 11 @ 3:30pm and 7:00pm and Friday, May 12 @ 7:00 pm. Admission is $5 at the door. Looking forward to seeing many of you there!  

On Wednesday, May 17, we will be taking the annual 8th Grade class photo.  This is a panoramic photo that we take outside on the hill by the football field.  Order forms will be distributed to 8th grade within the next week or so.   If you have any questions or need any sort of financial assistance, please contact Jim Marcotte at  Please know that we are very committed to never letting finances interfere with any student’s ability to fully participate in these types of school events or “keepsakes”, and want everyone to enjoy these moments without having to think twice about potential financial impact.  

A friendly reminder for families whose children participate in our Band, Strings and Chorus programs.  The Spring concerts are coming upon us.  The Band’s Spring concert is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16 at 7pm, and the Chorus and Strings Spring concert is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23 at 7pm.  Please stay tuned for updates from your kids and/or Mr. Hickey (band), Ms. Green (Strings) or Mr. Charig (chorus) about details for those evening festivities.  

Finally, our District’s Challenge Success newsletter for the month of May is now out, with a focus on Social Emotional Learning.  Check out the resources and materials that are highlighted in this most recent edition.  

Have a great week, everyone.