Eye on the Junior High



Recent Posts
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 

Good afternoon,

 

It has been a good week of reconnecting and settling in at RJ Grey after last week’s vacation. I know you’re all aware that we’ve adjusted our Covid practices and we are now a mask-optional school district. As always, our students have come through and do exactly what we have asked. On Monday when we returned, I noticed about 80% of our students wearing masks (my estimate, only!). Over the last four days, that number has shifted a bit and there are now fewer students wearing masks throughout the day, but we’re still hovering around the 50-60% mark. We made clear that we would respect all student and staff decisions to wear masks or not. We haven’t had any issues with students questioning each other’s mask-wearing. We have great kids who are really respectful of this process. Thanks for letting us work with your children!

 

We returned on Monday with several important world events to unpack. Our social studies classes were front and center with helping students grapple with the situation in Ukraine. I visited all eight social studies rooms on Monday to see how teachers were helping the students process what they might have watched on the news over the prior week, and in many cases they connected the current events with topics they’ve already studied this year. These same teachers also got the chance to talk about the nomination of a supreme court justice, topped off by a State of the Union address. It’s been quite a week! I am always so appreciative when this particular department comes together to help our students unpack important events that happen in our world.

 

If you’re the parent of an 8th grader, you may start to hear your child talk about courses for next year at ABRHS. This week, our 8th grade counselors began talking to some students about the process for next year’s course registration; other teams will hear this talk next week. The counselors answer general questions about the high school, including course loads, and logistics (how long is lunch!). Our counselors leave specific conversations about content-area courses and recommendations to our team teachers. Those conversations will be coming up in the next few weeks, where a teacher will make a recommendation for your child’s continued study in that discipline. Starting on March 21, you’ll go into the Parent Portal to see the recommended courses. There will be instructions shared prior to then, but I include it as context for what your kids might be starting to excitedly talk about. The high school has developed a specific site where you can gather information about this upcoming transition.

 

My final point today is to talk about social media. Every year, we try to help students navigate the complications of living in a world with social media. I am continually thankful that there was no such thing during my own middle school years! The computer we had at home was in the living room and the only reason you’d use it was to maybe use the word processing features. And when I was home and didn’t want to talk to any of my classmates, I had the luxury to choose to just be, without the constant feeling of keeping up with what’s happening online. Our kids don’t have that luxury now.


I encourage you to have a conversation with your children this week to ask about their social media habits. We’ve seen accounts this year that pop up with the goal of embarrassing or exposing pictures or facts about peers. When we find out about these, we try to help locate the responsible party and have the account taken down. Just this week, I talked to several students who I could see were following and liking posts on certain accounts that were posting concerning images. In each case, students didn’t know who had created the account, nor did they know who was adding content. Yet, they continued to like the posts, and in some cases, comment. I think our kids face a dilemma with social media: view it, like it, comment on it, or be left out of the loop. I understand the conundrum. In my conversations this week, I tried to have students understand that if none of them liked inappropriate posts, and if no one commented, the account would likely become obsolete and unimportant. I’d encourage you to ask your kids about how they approach this. If they have any insights into how we can all do better, please feel free to share those thoughts with me!

 


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Monday, March 7: Early Release at 1 pm

-Monday, March 7: Youth Risk Behavior Survey for 8th graders

-Friday, March 11: End of Trimester 2

-Friday, March 11: Sports Jersey Day

-Friday, March 11: Student Council Basketball Tournament after school

-Monday, March 14: RJ Grey School Council, 7 pm on Zoom


Take care,


Jim Marcotte



Posted by jmarcotte  On Mar 03, 2022 at 4:53 PM
  

Good afternoon,


We are just a half day away from February vacation. If you have travel plans as a family, I hope they allow you to end up somewhere warm. And if your family is sticking close to home this coming week, like mine, I hope we have a few more days that felt as great as today.


I want to make sure and thank some people that have helped us out in significant ways recently. Firstly, we wrapped up our Ski and Board Club this week. Over the last 7 weeks (we canceled one week), about 100 students boarded buses to Wachusett Mountain to ski and board with their friends and classmates. This club was historically organized and chaperoned by RJG staff members. For lots of reasons, we started over this year with a lot of new adults, including our Advisor Ernie Camposano. As this was his first time taking on the club, our main office did a lot of organizing and leg work ahead of time, which we are pretty good at…that was the easy part. The hard part then came when we had real kids with real equipment on real buses! Ernie did a great job of leading and making sure kids were safe and had a great time. I want to thank our staff chaperones: Kat Contini, Karen Dudziak, Anastasia Koulopoulos, Katie Mammola, Lisa Piandes, and Gina Saxena. And we benefited from a committed group of parent chaperones: Amy and Matt Arnett, Josh Bregman, Melissa Clayton, Cydney Cotter, Mike Plate, Jennine Redmond, and Dan Stouch. I am grateful that these parents gave up their Tuesday afternoons and evenings to make an enjoyable experience for many of our kids!


We’ve also been doing a good amount of collecting and donating here at school. If you see our daily announcements email, you’ll know that students and staff on 7 Blue have been collecting Pennies for Pets for donation t

o the Lowell Humane Society. They’ve made great progress - they have collected over $700! And our Student Council has been hard at work with collecting canned goods for the Acton Food Pantry. The picture to the right was taken yesterday…after I moved several bags and boxes out of the main hallway. The table area was literally overflowing with generosity. If your pantry cabinets contributed to our collection, we thank you! These two drives are just one way that students get to experience the joy of giving and contributing to their community. We’re proud of the student initiative these past few weeks.



If you joined me last night at the Chorus Concert, I hope you were also pleased with the performances. It was a short show, but Mr. Charig mentioned that it’s a lot of work to sing in masks! I was very proud of our students for committing to singing through the Pandemic. Last night was our first evening Chorus Concert in quite a while. It felt good to be a part of!


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Friday, Feb 18: Blue and Gold Day!

-Friday, Feb 18: RJ Grey Early Release, 11:10 am

-Monday, Feb 21 - Friday, Feb 25: School Closed for February Vacation

-Monday, Feb 28: School Reopens

-Monday, March 7: Early Release at 1 pm

-Monday, March 7: Youth Risk Behavior Survey for 8th graders

-Friday, March 11: Sports Jersey Day

-Friday, March 11: End of Trimester 2


Take care, and happy vacation!


Jim Marcotte




Posted by jmarcotte  On Feb 17, 2022 at 4:35 PM
  

Good evening,


I’m not sure what has been different about the sun over the past few days - but maybe the fact that it has been present is a good start…and it feels brighter! I’m sure any 7th grader could give me a lesson or two on this topic based on their science studies this year, but it just feels different this week. Maybe we’re emerging from our winter dark period. Whatever we call it, it works for me!


We are heading into the last week before February vacation! On Friday, February 18th, we’ll have Blue and Gold Day at RJ Grey. This is a fun day where students dress in their blue and gold to show their school spirit. In a more typical year, we would have an assembly featuring several student groups. We made the call about a month ago to skip the assembly this year. At the time, bringing together two full grades, or even one, seemed to go against the Covid norms we were enforcing. We seem to be coming down from those high case counts, which is great for all of us. So while we’ll skip the assembly on Friday, we’ll still ask students and staff to dress in their blue and gold. And as we’ve shared before, RJ Grey will also have an early release (11:10 am) on Friday, February 18th. 


You might have seen the news out of DESE on Wednesday where the Commissioner announced he is not going to renew the mask mandate in schools, effective February 28th. We’ll share more info next week about what that looks like, but it is important to us to find a way to make sure that anyone who wants to continue wearing a mask feels comfortable doing so. I’ve thought about my own mask-wearing post February vacation. I think I’ll likely still wear one while supervising lunch, but maybe not when I’m visiting a class? The point is, this will be a personal and family decision and we’ll support students with those decisions. More will come out next week on this most recent change.


On Tuesday, our students watched a brief video that we prepared, highlighting our new Incident Reporting Form. This can be an anonymous way for students or families to report to us something important. The video we made for them highlights that they can use this form if they’ve already considered how to handle this with one of their trusted adults at home or at school. Our ideal situation is when a student comes directly to a staff member to talk about an issue. This lets us respond immediately, offer support, and make sure the student is feeling okay. Receiving an electronic report makes it less personal, but it may make students feel a bit more safe, so we welcome it. While the form does allow for anonymous submissions, we do encourage students to share their own names so that we can follow-up, ask additional questions, and when possible, provide resolutions. If you have a child struggling with something, and they’re not ready to approach someone at school, please remind them of this option, which also resides on our school homepage.


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Tuesday, Feb 15: ABRHS Curriculum Night, 6 pm, on Zoom

-Wednesday, Feb 16: RJ Grey Chorus Concert, 7 pm

-Friday, Feb 18: Blue and Gold Day!

-Friday, Feb 18: RJ Grey Early Release, 11:10 am


That’s it for now. Take care,


Jim Marcotte


Posted by jmarcotte  On Feb 10, 2022 at 7:15 PM
  

Good afternoon,


I hope you’re doing well. Happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate. During Tuesday’s morning announcements, I wished this over the PA to our students. Immediately after that, as I stood in the hall for passing time, a student approached me and asked why we didn’t recognize Black History Month that morning. The student was right that we hadn’t mentioned it that morning. I thanked her for calling us out and I explained that we wanted to highlight the New Year and that we’d be following up to recognize Black History Month. Over the past two days, we’ve shared quotes about black history month and we’ll continue to recognize it each day this month. Just this afternoon I received an email from a student asking if she could share with me a list of important people in black history, and could I share those one morning next week? I responded with a Yes - of course!


As our communities continue to wrestle with topics of race, bias, and discrimination, we continue to think about how to create opportunities to talk with your children. We have some staff leaders who are working to get a few student affinity groups up and running. We are also working on a parent group who will be able to offer feedback and experiences from their perspectives. We are excited to take next steps in this important work and we’re hopeful that being open and direct about some of these topics, we’ll create a space where students can be as comfortable as they can be, at all times. We all have a lot to work on and we’re excited to learn more.


There is one operational topic that I wanted to write about briefly. Actually, maybe two! The first involves the afternoons at RJ Grey. We are very pleased to be able to offer a lot more after school activities than we could last year. Last year, after school was a breeze because we didn’t have any in-person clubs, activities, athletics, or even in-person extra help! Supervision was easy - but it wasn't ideal for kids! Because we have that variety of items back in place this year, we regularly work with students to understand the expectations for being in the building after 2:36 pm. The basics include: Students who stay after for a club, sport, extra help, etc. can do so! We staff our library until 4:30 every day and we have a staff member present in the building until 5 pm. We expect students to be in the library quietly working while waiting for a ride or the late bus. What we’ve been experiencing recently is students leaving school, heading to Starbucks, CVS, or Sorrento's, and heading back to school to hang out and socialize. While we love that they enjoy being in school, we’re not built to be a hangout location. I ask for your help in reinforcing that message. Being at RJ Grey after school is a privilege and we do have some expectations that all students need to uphold if they need to stay. Thanks for your help with this.


The other operational item is that we’ve noticed the number of tardies to school is growing recently. School starts at 8:00 every day. Seventh graders start with a 3-minute homeroom, and eighth graders have a 6-minute homeroom. Both of those short periods are opportunities for students to get themselves ready, hear the announcements, and breathe for a minute before the first period starts. Each day we have students entering after 8:00. Those kids need to sign-in at the main office (since they missed attendance in homeroom), and I know for many, it sets their day off on the wrong foot. So my request is that if you drive your child to school, and I know traffic near the school campus  can be a challenge, potentially leaving a bit earlier is something that needs to become part of the routine. I know this is a challenge. Just this morning, my own 8 year old realized she forgot her snow gear when I dropped her off at her before-school daycare. Of course, I drove home to get it, making me 20 minutes later to school than I normally am. I was still ready and executed my 7:30 traffic duty on time! But it started me off on the wrong foot. If getting out of the house is a challenge early enough to be here prior to 8:00, please reach out to us and we can help you and your child brainstorm some solutions. 


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Monday, Feb 7: Early Release (1pm)

-Monday, Feb 7: RJG School Council, 7pm

-Thursday, Feb 10: NAEP assessment for selected 8th graders

-Tuesday, Feb 15: ABRHS Curriculum Night, 6 pm, on Zoom: (new date and time)

-Wednesday, Feb 16: RJ Grey Chorus Concert, 7 pm

-Friday, Feb 18: Blue and Gold Day!

-Friday, Feb 18: RJ Grey Early Release, 11:10 am (new)


That’s it for now. I hope we all fare well with tomorrow’s ice and snow. Take care,


Jim Marcotte


Posted by jmarcotte  On Feb 03, 2022 at 4:39 PM
  

Good afternoon,


I hope you’re doing well. As we enter a weekend with a snowstorm looming in front of us, I hope you have a plan for snow removal, which frankly, should involve your 7th or 8th grader! Growing up, my sisters and I, along with my dad, were responsible for shoveling a pretty long driveway. Though it was always the heaviest part of the driveway, I always took on clearing the area in front of the mailbox. Being precise and digging out a clean edge along the street always made me pretty proud and confident that the mailman would have easy access. I did become a letter carrier one summer during college, so maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing into that role. No one on our street had a snowblower back then and getting a plow was considered unnecessary. Physical labor was the name of the game in Lowell in the 80s and 90s! So as I start up my expensive snowblower on Saturday, I’ll think of my childhood days of shoveling… as I clear the snow completely by myself!


We have several community-type updates to share today, so please read along:


Mascot Re-Naming Survey Reminder

We are sending this reminder to the community about the current opportunity to submit a suggestion for a new mascot for our district.  Thank you to the many individuals who have already offered one or more suggestions.  Below is the original invitation sent to the community earlier in January.  Please note that the deadline for suggestions is February 4, 2022. All entries should be submitted through the online survey - here is the address:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ABMascot

 

Vaccine Booster Opportunity at AB

At this time, we are planning one booster clinic at R.J. Grey Junior High School on Saturday, February 12th from 9:00-3:00 for 12-18 year olds.  The Acton Health Department has ordered 300 initial vaccine doses, and sign up is first-come, first served. If there is an overwhelming response from our families, we may be able to add additional slots. Please check your email for additional information from last week, and the link to sign up!


Knowing we have limited vaccine availability, we encourage you to visit the MassVax site at https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/, where you can filter vaccines by the Pfizer booster and find available appointments.

 

ABSAF Recruitment

The purpose of ABSAF (Acton-Boxborough Student Activity Fund)  is to raise money each year through ABSAF pass sales, donations, and fundraising events, which will, in turn, be gifted to the Jr. High and High School to subsidize student activities like music, drama, athletics, and other club activities. ABSAF is currently recruiting interested 8th graders to be part of this group. This message and more information will be sent to 8th grade students soon, but I thought it would be valuable to share with our parent community. ABSAF has always been generous to us and any support you give to this organization benefits all of us.



Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Friday, Jan 28: Hawaiian Shirt Day

-Monday, Jan 31: SOS Lesson for 7 Green

-Wednesday, Feb 2: SOS Lesson for 7 Blue

-Monday, Feb 7: RJG School Council, 7pm

-Thursday, Feb 10: NAEP assessment for selected 8th graders


Take care, and lift with your knees, not your back as you shovel this weekend!


Jim Marcotte


Posted by jmarcotte  On Jan 27, 2022 at 3:37 PM
  

Good afternoon,


I hope you are all doing well. Where this past Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, my Instagram and Twitter were flooded with important and relevant quotes from Dr. King. One quote that stuck out to me was, “The time is always right to do what is right.” This quote will likely fill the bulletin board in our main lobby when I have a few minutes to break out my artsy side soon. I really like that quote and I think it fits with the work we’re doing at RJ Grey. As many times as possible, we work with your kids to make good decisions: we advise them, we coach them, we model for them. And sometimes they make a mistake, and then our focus switches to trying to help them understand the impact and effect of their actions. And while we don’t necessarily use Dr. King’s words above, we should. As we build a joyful, inclusive community of engaged learners, we’ll have some hiccups and we’ll all make some mistakes, but the overall sentiment is that as a community, doing the right thing is the right thing. Thank you for your support as we deliver messages along these lines to our students.


You likely received an email late last week that directed you to a survey about choosing a new mascot for Acton-Boxborough. I’ve mentioned in this column before that five RJ Grey students are part of the student group whose task is to select the next mascot of AB. The student group has put together a survey, asking for ideas for a new mascot. I would encourage you to share any awesome ideas you have, and please share the survey with anyone interested in AB. The survey will close on February 4. I hope some of our creative community members take a few minutes to share their thoughts with our student committee. Please feel free to share this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ABMascot


Today is day 86 of our school year, meaning we’re just about at the halfway point. I’ve always found the second half of the year to go even faster than the first, so buckle up! Teachers will be submitting Trimester 2 Interim Reports early next week, to be emailed mid-week to families. Interim reports are designed to alert families to situations where something could be better. Low assessment grades, lack of homework completion, or classroom behavior all might be reasons for a teacher to issue an interim. Trimester 2 won’t end until March 11, so there is a good amount of time to make adjustments. If, after receiving an Interim Report where questions remain, please reach out directly to your child’s teachers and if necessary, help to make a plan with your child for the next steps for improvement. We’re happy to help with that if you need it, so please let us know.


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Monday, Jan 24: Early Release (1pm) for Professional Learning

-Monday, Jan 24: Signs of Suicide Lesson (SOS) for 7 Gold

-Wednesday, Jan 26: SOS Lesson for 7 Red

-Friday, Jan 28: Hawaiian Shirt Day

-Monday, Jan 31: SOS Lesson for 7 Green

-Wednesday, Feb 2: SOS Lesson for 7 Blue

-Monday, Feb 7: RJG School Council, 7pm

-Wednesday, Feb 9: ABRHS Curriculum Night for 8th grade families, 7pm on Zoom

-Thursday, Feb 10: NAEP assessment for selected 8th graders



Take care,
Jim



Posted by jmarcotte  On Jan 20, 2022 at 4:21 PM
  

Good afternoon,


I don’t know that I wished anyone a Happy New Year in last week’s message. If you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, you might recognize the interaction where Larry David declares that you cannot wish anyone a Happy New Year after January 7th. While I’m breaking his rule in this message, I think it’s worth acknowledging that we’re in a New Year!


And while I can never hold fast to a resolution, I do always start the year with some energy and renewed focus on something. While it should be riding my exercise bike in the cold basement, or spending less time scrolling on my phone, neither of those have come to fruition yet. This week, I have found myself with a fresh energy around the prospects of our continued work this year at RJ Grey.


I spent just a bit of time at a few basketball games this week. And I see the musical tryouts taking shape in the auditorium. And it’s just a little lighter outside right now than it was last week! As administrators, we are starting to plan on how to roll out things like parent night for 6th grade families, and even getting deeper into our plans for having an Advisory program at RJ Grey next year. While my wife and I were just this morning bemoaning the boringness of mid-January (“what do you want for dinner tonight? I don’t know, what do you want?”), there is excitement for the prospect of how this year will continue to unravel, making way for the planning for a new year! 


For parents of 8th graders, you saw an email from me today about an upcoming Info Session (January 19th at 7 pm) with the high school about a change in the science curriculum. Please see the email I sent today for the Zoom link. Also be aware that the high school will be holding a Curriculum Night on Wednesday, February 9th. We’ll share more info as we get closer, as well as the Zoom link. Here at RJ Grey, we’re gearing up for our annual SOS (Signs of Suicide) lessons in the 7th grade. See my email from this week for more info on that. So while your students are plodding their way through this year, completing their iReady assessments and other tasks, know that we continue to be excited to plan out the rest of this year and beyond. 


In closing, Happy New Year! If you’ve found a way to keep your exercise bike a regular part of your life, I welcome some inspiration! And I’ll likely finish this message and text my wife, “What do you want me to pick up for take-out on the way home?” 


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Monday, Jan 17: No School for Martin Luther King Day

-Wednesday, Jan 19: ABRHS Info Session on Science Curriculum (for 8th grade families and students)

-Monday, Jan 24: Early Release (1pm) for Professional Learning

-Friday, Jan 28: Hawaiian Shirt Day

-Monday, Feb 7: RJG School Council, 7pm

-Wednesday, Feb 9: ABRHS Curriculum Night, 7pm

-Thursday, Feb 10: NAEP assessment for selected 8th graders


Take care,
Jim Marcotte


Posted by jmarcotte  On Jan 13, 2022 at 4:31 PM
  

Good evening, everyone:


I hope you all had a nice holiday season and a chance to visit friends and family over the break. My family and I had a good week together. We saw some immediate family over Christmas and otherwise stuck close to home. We played several games of Hedbanz and Rack-O, watched Home Alone about 12 times, and collectively took about 10 Covid tests. We have thus far survived without anyone in my home getting Covid this winter. I know that’s not the same for all of you. I hope that for whoever has it, their symptoms are easy and lead to a quick recovery.


I know that many of you have experienced the virus recently because we regularly get updates from you - thank you for being so direct and quick with sharing with us when someone has symptoms or has a positive test. That’s very important to us all. You have likely gotten an email from me this week saying that your child has been in a class with a positive case. This is a shift in our practices. Our former way of contact tracing was to narrow in on seating charts and inform only those contacts who were in the immediate area of a positive case. That was not sustainable for our staff, and as a district, we’ve shifted a bit. It’s remarkable that one student can come into “contact” with up to 100 other students over a day or two just by nature of being in the same class at some point during the day. So please know that we’re committed to finding the right balance with keeping you informed, without overdoing it. Aside from notifying the families of all students in specific classes, we are paying special attention to the close contacts within 0 - 3 feet who are currently unvaccinated. We approach those students differently and more immediately and we’re in contact with those families.


When we started the week on Monday, I reminded the students about our strategies for combating Covid, including wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and making smart decisions. They’ve been great this week - so thanks for supporting us in that effort. As we all continue to work through this, I continue to be thankful for our students who are respectful, caring, and helpful. 


And while our students are awesome - our staff might edge them out a bit in being even better. We all met on Zoom on Monday morning and I reviewed some changes in our practices. They all responded gratefully for our efforts to keep our students and ourselves safe. And while this is only the first week back, and we should be refreshed, we’re exhausted! Back in the fall, I took the opportunity during one of these messages to ask you to reach out and thank a teacher. This week is another good opportunity to do so. If you haven’t thanked one of our teachers recently, sending them a quick email would be most welcome.


And finally, the biggest champions of the year are our school nurses. Mrs. Doherty, Ms. Nimz, and Ms. Chadwick each spend time in our Health Office during the week. Without them and their careful attention to detail, and their caring demeanors, we’d be in a different place right now. They continue to help us navigate the world of Covid while dealing with other ailments and concerns. They are a really great team and help make the our work at RJ Grey this year safe and sustainable.


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Monday, Jan 17: No School for Martin Luther King Day

-Monday, Jan 24: Early Release (1pm) for Professional Learning

-Friday, Jan 28: Hawaiian Shirt Day



Take care,
Jim Marcotte


Posted by jmarcotte  On Jan 06, 2022 at 5:55 PM
  

Good afternoon,


As I write this, we have just about made it through our first set of teacher conferences. I am breathing a small sigh of relief that the functionality of the whole process worked relatively well! We had a few glitches with Zoom permissions to start the day, so you have our apologies if that is the case and you couldn’t get into a meeting. Please reach out directly to that teacher if that was the case and they’ll find a way to connect with you. Connecting with families is important to us and if you didn’t have a chance to sign up for a conference, or if you want to share a bit more info than the 5 minutes allowed, please be in touch directly with your child’s teachers. We have additional conferences next Tuesday (12/21) and in the evening on January 6.


Last week, in this update, I shared with you a few statistics from our recent student survey. I shared that most students identified that they had an adult here at school, an adult at home, or a friend to whom they could go if they needed something. I’ll share again that I was pleased with the responses to this question, and I hope they only go up!

This week, our team took some time to process what we know about the recent school shooting in Michigan. We talked about many of the elements available to us through news reports. What sticks out to me through the reporting is that some students didn’t go to school on that particular day because they suspected something was going to happen. And yet, as far as we know, those concerns weren’t shared with the school. My potentially-too-optimistic take is that our students would tell someone they trust about this. And that adult would then take it seriously enough to call us. I’ve seen students and families report serious concerns to us, allowing us to respond to potentially dangerous situations. Just two weeks ago, a parent called our office to report an Instagram account that was designed to record our students doing inappropriate things. The subtitle on the account was “Don’t snitch.” We were able to put a stop to that behavior in the same afternoon because a parent among you called and let us know. I so appreciate that person’s attention to their child’s online activities and decision to report something that seemed wrong. 


Shortly, you’ll be receiving an email from Peter Light about a national TikTok trend. While I didn’t write the message above to directly coincide with the release of this statement, it’s another example of how students and you, our families, can communicate with us when you know something unsafe has the potential to take place. As a community, we all share that responsibility and I hope you see how important that is to us at RJ Grey.


On a much lighter note, we are headed into a vacation week! While I could certainly spend a day or two of the vacation getting some work done, I’m choosing to take the whole vacation off and hope to unplug from school. As a reminder, we do not give homework to our students over vacation weeks as we hope they benefit from the same opportunity to unplug. I wish you and your family a very restful and enjoyable holiday season. I’ll write again in the New Year! 


In the meantime, here are some upcoming dates that we should all be aware of:


-Friday, December 17: Formal Dress Day!

-Tuesday, December 21: early release at 11:10 am for parent conferences

-Thursday, December 23: early release at 11:10 am for the beginning of winter break (district-wide)

-Friday, December 24 - Sunday, January 2: School closed for vacation

-Monday, January 3: early release at 1 pm for professional learning

-Friday, January 7: early release at 11:10 am for time given back to staff for evening conferences the night before


Take care,
Jim Marcotte


Posted by jmarcotte  On Dec 16, 2021 at 4:41 PM
  

Good afternoon,


I hope you are all doing well. I want to start by putting in another plug for our annual Coat Drive and our Toys for Tots drive. Both are currently accepting donations through next Thursday (12/16). If you have a used, warm coat that you’re looking to get rid of, we’ll take it! And the same applies for unused, unwrapped toys. Feel free to drop off any items, or send them with your children over the next week. We have drop-off locations in the main lobby.


Just before Thanksgiving, we gave our students a survey to create a baseline measurement of a few of the items on our School Improvement Plan. And while the survey revealed some areas where we have some work to do (and that we had anticipated), I was pleased with some of the results.


When asked, “If I have a problem or concern, I have a teacher or other adult whom I feel comfortable going to for help.” 85% of students agreed with this statement - which, in the first trimester I view as very strong. We hope this number will increase in the 2nd and 3rd trimester versions of this survey. When asked, “If I have a problem or concern, I have a family member or other adult outside of school whom I feel comfortable going to for help.” Huge shout out to our families, because 93% of our students answered Yes to this question. We also focused a few questions on students and their peer relationships. We asked, “Have you made new friendships at school this year?” 96% of our students answered yes! I think this is really great news and highlights the importance of us being back in school everyday! Finally, in this category of question, 95% of our students said they have “at least one friend from school whom I can ask for help/support.” 


I highlight these few questions to point out that at RJ Grey, we really rely on relationships. Students need strong relationships with their teachers in order to learn. And we also view relationships with adults outside of school, and with peers, as extremely important to the overall wellbeing and development of our 12, 13, and 14 year olds. I hope to share more data throughout the year as we unpack it and figure out what it means. 


In the meantime, here are some upcoming dates that we should all be aware of:


-Monday, December 13: early release at 1 pm for professional learning

-Tuesday, December 14: Trimester 1 Report Cards emailed home

-Thursday, December 16: early release at 11:10 am for parent conferences

-Friday, December 17: Formal Dress Day!

-Tuesday, December 21: early release at 11:10 am for parent conferences

-Thursday, December 23: early release at 11:10 am for the beginning of winter break (district-wide)

-Friday, December 24 - Sunday, January 2: School closed for vacation

-Monday, January 3: early release at 1 pm for professional learning

-Friday, January 7: early release at 11:10 am for time given back to staff for evening conferences the night before


Take care,

Jim Marcotte


Posted by jmarcotte  On Dec 09, 2021 at 3:47 PM
  
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 
 
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.