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Grey Matters, March 19, 2018; Volume 6, Number 27

posted Mar 18, 2018, 11:54 AM by Andrew Shen

Hi Everyone,

Another week, another snow storm, another two snow days.  I went back and read the Grey Matters from last year at this time and was reminded that we have now missed March 14 - Pi Day - for two consecutive years.  These snow days have made for some interesting conversations with kids, along with conversations amongst kids that have been overheard.  I am sharing three that you might relate to, and perhaps might echo conversations you have also had or overhead. The first conversation comes from my wife, a high school teacher, who spent some time on her first day back at school last Monday (after the storm that knocked out power everywhere) talking to two 10th grade students who were debating which was more in-

tolerable - having no heat for two days (where the temperature in their house reached the mid-30s), or having no internet for two days.  I’ll leave you guessing as to where those students landed. The second was a conversation amongst my kids that I overheard last week, as they and a few of their friends were playing card games including what sounded like a very simplified version of Texas hold’em poker.  Somewhat related to the first conversation, I found myself not minding so much that they were dipping their toes into card games and gambling because at least they weren’t itching to be on their iPads and Xboxes.  We can unpack the sorry state of affairs that this preference of mine represents some other time.  The part of their conversation that I enjoyed the most was when I heard them create a new rule that if a player ran out of poker chips, they could request additional chips that they decided would be called “a student loan.”  We still have a few years before any of them might be considering college and time to correct their understanding of what a student loan really involves. Finally, at RJ Grey, a number of students claimed that they knew exactly what these snow days meant for the end of the school year.  A few students declared that it is against the law to have more than five snow days (maybe it’s in the Constitution?), others assured their friends that we can’t have any more snow days, a few students insisted that they heard we would have school on Saturdays, and others mentioned that April Break was being canceled.  There may be parents and guardians who are also a bit unsure of whether there are guidelines and limits involving snow days and how late the school year can go. Let me provide a quick overview: (1) there aren’t any limits on snow days. The school calendar tends to indicate what the last day of school would be if we had five snow days simply as a reminder for teachers and families of the possibility that school may extend beyond the stated last day if we have snow days within that year.  We can have, and this year we have had, more than five snow days in order to meet the requirement of a 180-day school year; (2) As of right now, our last day of school is scheduled for Wednesday, June 27; (3) there are no plans to “reclaim” school days by eating into April Break.  I have heard that some Districts are entertaining that idea (Billerica comes to mind), and Andover has already scheduled a day of school on Saturday, April 28 because they’ve already reached their ninth snow day. Please know that AB has not explored either of those pathways.  I understand the impulse to explore those options, and those are solutions that are both a blessing and a curse because they solve one problem and potentially create four others.  Here’s hoping that we will soon be turning a corner when it comes to the local weather and focus on transitioning to the Spring season.

Here’s some updates and reminders for you:

IMPORTANT FOR 8th GRADE FAMILIES: Because of the four snow days that we’ve had in the past two weeks, the course registration process has been pushed back a bit, which allows teachers to finish conversations with their students about their recommendations.  The Parent Portal was originally scheduled to open tomorrow (Monday) for families to review recommendations and submit course selections. The Portal will now open this Wednesday, March 21.  Nothing else has changed, just the date when the Portal opens.  

    A friendly reminder that Good Friday is on Friday, March 30 and we will not have school that day.  

            Report cards for the Winter Trimester were emailed to families last Friday, and a paper copy was handed to students at the end of the school day.                If you haven’t seen the report card (either via email or from your student), please let me know and we can produce another copy for you.  

            We have students at RJ Grey who have organized a drive to support Cradles to Crayons  with donations of gently used or new clothing and shoes to             support programs that assist families that are homeless.  Please consider donating sizes infant to adult medium for clothing, and shoe sizes 0-10.                 The drive will start March 26th and go until April 6th, and bins will be located near the library entrance.  

Don’t forget that Thursday, April 5 is the Junior High’s last early release day, where students are dismissed at 10:40am and staff remain to                           participate in professional learning.  

For current 7th grade families, you will be receiving in the mail at the end of this week/early next week the scheduling/registration form regarding your child’s 8th grade year.  This form includes math level recommendations, confirmation of current world language choice, and a space to indicate preferences for Grey Block.  There is also a letter that provide important information about an adjustment we are making to the schedule for next year that involves all students participating in an elective during our Grey Block period, and how we’ll be providing a study period for students in a different part of the day.  Please be sure to review that letter carefully because it will provide important context for your children as they identify their Grey Block preferences.

The tryout and sign-up schedule for our Spring Sports programs are almost set.  As you can imagine, the snow currently sitting on the ground has created some logistical challenges for our outdoor sports.  Before I get into those details, a friendly reminder that our after school clubs and activities welcome new members throughout the year.  For those who are interested in the Track program, there is a mandatory meeting this Thursday, March 22nd at 2:30pm in the auditorium.  Those interested in Girls Volleyball, tryouts have been scheduled for Monday, April 2 at 3:45pm, and April 3 and April 4, both at 2:30pm.  Once we have a clearer idea for Baseball and Softball tryouts, we will post them on the RJ Grey Athletics Page and I’ll provide an update in next week’s Grey Matters.  You might want to visit the Athletics Page to also review or download the Green Forms (medical) and athletic fee waiver request forms.  Please remember that no student may participate in tryouts without a valid/updated Green Form. This is an MIAA regulation and no exceptions can be made.  

In between the four snow days, we did have school last Monday and the School Committee met that evening to deliberate on the two finalists for our Superintendent position.  At the end of the evening, the School Committee voted to name Peter Light as the next Superintendent for Acton-Boxborough pending successful contract negotiations. Mr. Light is currently an Assistant Superintendent in Franklin, and would likely join our District in July.

Finally, after the need to reschedule twice, I had lunch with our latest round of Everyday Leaders last Thursday and I had great conversations with both the 7th and 8th grade lunch groups. Always grateful for the chance to break bread (in this case, pizza) with them and spending a little time learning about the school through their eyes.  Congratulations to the following students who were part of this round’s Everyday Leaders group: Casey Corkery, Casey Glode, Ian Ryan, Silvia Dominguez-Bodie, Keira Baglio, Claire Ali, Sophie Zhang, Aarti Jeslani, Shreya Sarcar, Isobel Brookes, and Isabella Mombrini.  

Have a great week, everyone.