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Grey Matters, October 9, 2017; Volume 6, Number 6

posted Oct 9, 2017, 7:22 AM by Andrew Shen

Hi Everyone,

In an effort to model the practice of carving out opportunities for downtime, this week’s edition of Grey Matters will be on the short(er) side as a nod to the long weekend.  I’m going to hopefully be spending this afternoon with a friend at Fenway Park to cheer on the Red Sox, though likely wrapped in plastic to stay dry.  By the time I reach Fenway later today I will have mastered the art of watching live sporting events, having just spent most of this long weekend tag-teaming with Melisa to cover all of the kids’ games.  Nothing says “long weekend” like youth sports programs scheduling even more events, tournaments and other can’t-miss opportunities that start bright and early in the morning.  You can probably detect some of the snark in my writing about youth sports, and yet I’m also the one dutifully sitting in my fold-out camping chair on the sidelines every week. One

game I did not attend this weekend was when my youngest son had his first experience this past Sunday competing against an AB youth soccer team. Some of you already know how this collision of my loyalties always makes me a bit fidgety (when RJ Grey students show up as the refs it gets even more layered and stressful for me).  So Melisa attended that game and reported what I would find to be the best outcome in these circumstances, a 1-1 tie. This weekend reminded me of two articles I read this summer about the expansion and unintended challenges of youth sports. The first is a Time Magazine article called “How Kids Sports Became a $15 Billion Industry” and the other a Boston Globe article about how many high school athletes must forego participation on school teams in order to commit to other elite training programs.  Aside from any kid-activity commitments all of you might have also had, I hope many of you took advantage of the homework-free long weekend and set aside time to pursue different activities and interests with your kids.

As we make our way into and through October, I want to remind everyone of the Junior High’s Rise to the Challenge program, which is our way of recognizing student involvement in community service.  We know that many students are already participating in service activities outside of school, and we hope to celebrate those efforts along with encouraging more students to become active in service opportunities.  Students who complete 10 hours of service within the school year will be recognized for their efforts.  Please visit the community service page on our website that provides all the details for this program.  If you have any questions, please email Debbie Brookes at  

Here’s some reminders for the next few weeks:

  • Our first early release at the Junior High (and High School) is this Thursday, October 12.  Students will be dismissed at 10:40am, and the regular bus runs will be available at that time.  Please be sure to connect with your children about your and their plans for this day.  A friendly reminder that the building will not be available for students to remain after school, and the Library will be closed due to professional development activities for the staff.  The Late Bus will not be running on this day.  

  • Interim reports for the Fall Trimester are scheduled to be sent around October 19 or 20.  I will include in next week’s Grey Matters a summary of the intent of interims and what families might expect as part of those forms.  

  • Halloween is Tuesday, October 31 and so I’ll include a note in the next Grey Matters about our school’s Halloween Dress Up Day tradition.  This will include a reminder about how to help your students enjoy the event (should they choose to participate) while also being thoughtful in their choice of costume/outfit.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that the School Committee voted and approved a District Homework Policy last June that applies to all of our schools and offers specific guidance for different grade levels.  You can view the Policy by clicking here.  On Tuesday, October 24 at 7pm there will be a Homework Policy Implementation Information session (try saying that five times faster) in the Junior High library that will involve a panel that includes all eight school principals (and a few others). You can download the flyer by clicking here. If you’d like to hear updates of how each of our schools are working on implementation, you should consider attending. I am looking forward to sharing the work of the Junior High, and I hope it will complement what you might have already learned at Back to School Night from your child’s teachers, as well as what your children might have experienced so far at the Junior High.  Don’t forget to utilize the team homework calendars that are maintained by each team.  For 7th grade teams, you can go here.  For 8th grade teams, you can go here.

Finally, an important reminder about the District’s Family Learning Series which partners with several community organizations to schedule workshops and seminars throughout the year on child development and learning. The next event is this Wednesday, October 11 at 7pm (JH Auditorium) featuring Dr. Rob Evans whose presentation is entitled Raising Resilient Children in Challenging Times.  I’ve had the opportunity to listen to and work with Dr. Evans and I would strongly encourage you to attend this presentation if your schedule will allow it. He’s smart, funny, relatable, and can take complicated ideas and offer practical and applicable strategies. If you can’t make the Dr. Evans event, please take a look at the other events scheduled throughout the year.  

Have a great week, everyone.