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Grey Matters, January 8, 2018; Volume 6, Number 18

posted Jan 7, 2018, 5:39 AM by Andrew Shen

Hi Everyone,

I know it’s a very New England thing to talk incessantly about the weather, and I think we can hardly be faulted for doing that this past week.  I hope all of our families were able to stay warm and didn’t experience any heating malfunctions or challenges.  None of you will be surprised to learn that I saw this most recent stretch of weather as an opportunity screaming out for me to revisit with my wife the idea of heading out west and settling down in San Francisco.  In my mind, things were lining up in a way where it would be hard to ignore the appeal of the Bay Area. This extended stretch of brutally cold temperatures, coupled with the wind and snowfall on Thursday presented one of the best opportunities I’ve had in the past few years to make a solid and convincing case to Melisa and the family. We even had a whole snow day on Thursday to discuss the merits of my argument.  And as if on cue, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake struck the San Francisco area early Thursday morning. Fortunately, there were no reported injuries or substantial structural damage in the area.  No, the only permanent damage that this earthquake caused was to my dreams of our family living there.  Many of the stories post-quake were centered around questions of whether this incident was a foreshock to something larger because the last big quake in the area was 1868, and that big quakes tend to happen every 150 years on that particular fault line.  So I guess that settles that.  

We appreciate the flexibility and understanding our families demonstrated with the weather-related changes we made to the end of last week’s schedule.  While the abrupt change of the early release day was ultimately made into a non-issue by the additional snow day, that wasn’t necessarily something families could plan for and the change we made could have complicated plans.  Please remember that we now have the early release day scheduled for this Friday, January 12th where students and staff are dismissed at 10:40am.  As for the final set of parent-teacher conferences, those will be held this Thursday, January 11th from 5pm to 8pm.  Thank you for your flexibility on that shift as well.  

Along with the automated calls that our District sends out to families regarding school delays and cancellations, families can also utilize different social media platforms for that and other information as well.  Acton-Boxborough has both an official Twitter feed as well as a Facebook page where announcements and reminders will be posted.  If you aren’t already following RJ Grey’s Twitter feed, please also consider joining our 693 other followers.  On that feed, we’ll “re-tweet” important District announcements along with our own school-based reminders and updates.  

Here’s a few additional reminders and update for the coming two weeks:

  • The Winter Band Concert is this Tuesday, January 9 at 7pm in the Auditorium.  The Chorus and Strings Concert is next Wednesday, January 17 at 7pm in the Auditorium.  

  • Temperatures are expected to rise into the double digits this week, so we are confident that Ski and Board Club will be starting on Tuesday.  An important reminder to Ski and Board Club families that equipment is not allowed on buses.  Most families bring the equipment at morning drop off, and a few families bring the equipment to school later in the day (it all gets stored in the auditorium).  Please be sure to have the ski and board equipment organized for a speedy drop off in the morning.  

  • A reminder to students and families that our after school clubs and activities welcome new members throughout the year! You can review the club and activity options on our website at this page.  

  • There is no school next Monday, January 15 in recognition of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday (and the aforementioned early release this Friday).  

I hope 7th grade families have had a chance to review the letter that I sent to parents/guardians last Wednesday regarding our plans to conduct the Signs of Suicide (SOS) lesson and the Brief Screening for Adolescent Depression to students in 7th grade later this month.   We require every family to return a signed consent form (included with the email and also sent via US Postal Mail) from every student’s parent/guardian indicating the student’s level of participation.  Please send that form in with your child as soon as possible.  If you need another copy of the consent form, please let me know.  

For parent/guardians who would like to learn more about the SOS lesson and preview the materials that are included in the lesson before deciding on their child’s level of participation, please consider attending the Parent Information session that we have scheduled for Monday (tomorrow), January 8 at 6pm in the Junior High Library.  This session will be led by Dr. Larry Berkowitz, Director of the Riverside Trauma Center.  

Separately, and in support of our efforts with student mental health, Eliot Community Human Services (with a location in Concord), with a Healthy Teen Initiative Grant from the AB United Way, will conduct a suicide prevention workshop for members of our adult community on Monday, January 29 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, also in our Junior High Library.  QPR - Question, Persuade and Refer is a community-wide program that teachers the warning signs of suicide and an effective emergency response.  People trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone for help.  Please note that while it has a shared goal, the Parent Information session about our SOS has a very different focus, and is narrowly focused on providing families with an overview of our plans with students.  In the coming weeks I’ll provide a few more reminders about this opportunity and encouragement to attend.  

Have a great week, everyone.