Eye on the Junior High

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June 2023 - Posts

Good afternoon,

This will be the final edition of Eye on the Junior High for the year. I hope you’ve found it informative and that it has provided a snapshot into the comings and goings of RJ Grey. As we get set to mark the end of the year, there are probably some feelings for your kids about this transition. On the surface, who doesn’t love the feeling that comes when walking out of school on the last day?! I remember my own last days of school growing up. With such anticipation for the year to end, I remember being somewhat disappointed by the few days that followed until whatever version of a summer routine took shape. Going from a predictable, scheduled school year, to nothing can be a shock to the system…for educators, too! While I do work most of the summer, the pace changes and I have some vacation time built in. But if your student is sullen for a day or two, or just not acting normally, that’s okay! Encourage them to connect with friends, read a book, or help pick up the house! Those three tasks are on my own kids’ lists for once school lets out!

Next Friday, our students and staff will gather in the high school auditorium (a location able to hold us all), and mark the end of the year. We’ll give out a few awards, hear from our Jazz Band and Select Choir, recognize our retiring teachers, and watch the end of year slideshow. This tends to be one of my favorite events of the year. I’ll share a few words with the students, and while not yet prepared, I’ll thank them for a great year. They embraced our Advisory program for the first time. They supported each other and their classmate when a tragic accident occurred. They spoke up and showed outrage when offensive graffiti and language were used at our school. They were kind to their peers and teachers and made me and our admin team very proud to know them. We have really great students, really strong teachers, and a wonderfully supportive community of families.

If you are with us next year as the parent of an 8th grader, or maybe your current 6th grader is coming to RJ Grey, we look forward to continuing to work with you. If you are moving on from RJ Grey to the next chapter, I wish you and your children all the best this summer and in future years.

On Tuesday, I sent out an email with end of year dates and responsibilities. I received a few replies that individuals got a blank email, while I know plenty of others received it. Just in case you didn’t see my message, I’m copying that info here to offer one more chance to know what’s happening in the next week.

Upcoming Dates

  • Friday, June 9: 8 Red field trip

  • Friday, June 9: 8th grade celebration, 7 - 9 pm. 8th grade students must purchase tickets for $5 before the end of the day on Thursday

  • Monday, June 12: 8 Blue and 8 Green tour of ABRHS

  • Tuesday, June 13: 7th grade field trip to Mel’s Funway

  • Wednesday, June 14: 8 Gold and 8 Red tour of ABRHS

  • Thursday, June 15: 8th grade field trip to Canobie Lake Park

  • Friday, June 16: Last day of school, early release at 11:10 am

If your child is not going to be here through June 16, they are responsible for telling their teachers and returning the items below before leaving for the summer. As parents and guardians, we ask that you let our Main Office know if your student will not be here through June 16 so that we can properly record attendance and student whereabouts each day. Please email us at [email protected] to tell us if your child will not be here through June 16.

Items to Return

All students must return school-owned materials before they depart for the summer:

1.     Return the school-issued Chromebook, Charger, and Stylus. If lost, please do not purchase your own replacement as each item needs to be the same model;

2.     Return any library books that are due to the library;

3.     Return any school-issued textbooks, classroom library books, or other items to teachers;

4.     Pay any remaining balance on your child’s school lunch account.

We will send a bill to families this summer for any item(s) not returned. Thank you for helping your child locate any/all of the items listed above.

The following flyers have been approved for distribution by our Superintendent’s Office: NARA Summer Events, Workplace Safety and Restrictions for Youth

Take care and have a great summer!

Posted by jmarcotte  On Jun 08, 2023 at 4:41 PM

Good afternoon,

We are closing in on the end of the year with lots of classwork wrapping up, alongside lots of celebrations, too. Next Friday, June 9th (7 - 9 pm), we are hosting the 8th Grade Celebration. This event is always one of my favorites of the year. Most students dress up a bit and come spend two hours in our cafeteria which gets transformed into a beautiful venue! The work of the evening is mainly supported by parent volunteers. If you are able to help in any capacity with decorating, cleaning up, or donating food or drink, we’d appreciate you! Below is a message directly from the parent organizers, seeking your support:

The 8th Grade End-of-Year Dance/Celebration is next week -- Friday, June 9th! We still need tons more help in order make the dance a success. Specifically, volunteers are urgently needed to help with decorating on the day of the dance, and clean up after the dance. We also need many more donations of hot appetizers, chicken fingers/wings, Gatorade, watermelon, baked goods, and paper products.  Click here for more info and to sign up to help! Also, please follow the PTSO on Instagram - @abrptso - for updates on the dance!


This is a PTSO-sponsored event – if you haven’t had a chance to make a donation to the PTSO this year, please consider donating to support the dance and all of the PTSO’s work. Use the following link to make a Venmo donation: https://www.venmo.com/u/ABRPTSO or visit the PTSO website for additional ways to make a donation.

As we are now officially in June, it’s time to turn our attention to our retiring educators! RJ Grey is wishing our best to three of our long-time educators. In our assembly on the last day of school, I’ll recognize each of these teachers in front of our 800+ students. Each year, when our students bust out a thunderous applause for our retiring teachers, my heart swells with gratitude and amazement for each of these educators. I’m twenty years into my work in education; looking ahead another 15 or 20 years seems daunting. The teachers below have my gratitude and appreciation for careers well spent educating young minds.

Brian Crossman starting working at RJ Grey in 2000, after spending 10 years teaching middle school technology in Lowell. While Mr. Crossman has been positioned at RJ Grey for the past 23 years, he has always actually worked for Minuteman High School in its outreach program; his course has been called Minuteman Tech during that time. Mr. Crossman has taught just about every 7th grader at RJG in all of those years - coming close to 10,000 students. His work with developing a bobsled unit, rockets, and other memory-making experiences for our kids will be remembered always. Aside from teaching, he’s been an AB track coach for many years, leading the boys’ team to over 20 DCL titles, 4 Division 1 state titles, 1 All-state title and developing 25 All-Americans. Brian is planning to retire on Cape Cod with his wife. If you know Brian, you’ll appreciate that he hopes to “work out twice a day and get completely ripped.” We’ll miss Mr. Crossman next year but we are so happy that he gets to enjoy his time with family!

Deb Rimpas is retiring as a Health teacher at RJ Grey, a position she’s held since 2004. Before even that point, Deb worked at AB as a consultant, utilizing skills from her first career as a social worker. She lead parent education programs, worked with Kindergartners and Youth Safety Officers, and facilitated lessons on substance abuse prevention, anti-bullying, and sexual harassment, among others. Since taking on the Health teaching position at RJ Grey, she expanded the nutrition curriculum to include cooking. She developed the after school Cooking Club, something she’s very proud of. She has advised the Ping Pong club, Anime club, and coached cross country for several years. Deb has been an active and involved member of the RJ Grey staff for years, including representing the off-team department as a member of the Leadership Team. Deb doesn’t have a clear plan for retirement, but is looking forward to spending time with family, including her grandson, and traveling. 

Mae Shoemaker is retiring from teaching 8th grade science at RJ Grey, where she has worked since 1998. In addition to her love for teaching science, and making connections with students and families, Mae is a prolific coach at AB. She has coached the AB field hockey team to several state championships, she coaches lacrosse, and serves as a referee for swim meets. Mae has run the Boston Marathon for more than 25 years. While we will see Mae back in the fall continuing to coach and working with kids, she is excited to have more time to spend with her own children and their growing families. Summer happens at her family home on the shore in New Jersey. While summer is always exciting for teachers, this one will feel extra special for Mae, who wraps up a career well-spent, educating RJ Grey students in the field of science.

To all three of our retiring educators, I wish them a hearty congratulations and my deepest respect for their work affecting all of our students, our staff, and many families over the years.

Our last day of school this year is on Friday, June 16. That day is an early release and we will dismiss students at 11:10 am. If your vacation plans start a bit earlier, please be in touch with our Main Office to let us know. We do expect students to return all school-owned items before they leave: this includes library books, textbooks, Chromebooks with charger and stylus, and any other materials loaned to students. We will send out bills for items that are not returned prior to the end of the year. 

Here are some dates to be aware of:

  • Thurs, June 1: Empty Bowls Event, 5:30 - 7:30 pm

  • Fri, June 2: ABRHS Graduation

  • Mon, June 5: Library closed after school

  • Wed, June 7: Performing Arts field trip

  • Fri, June 9: 8th grade Celebration, 7 - 9 pm

  • Tues, June 13: 7th grade field trip to Mel’s Funway

  • Thurs, June 15: 8th grade field trip to Canobie Lake

  • Fri, June 16: Last day of school, dismissal at 11:10 am

Take care and have a great weekend,

Posted by jmarcotte  On Jun 01, 2023 at 4:30 PM
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