September 2, 2021 

Good afternoon,

Thank you for signing up for weekly communications from me - the principal of RJ Grey Junior High School. If you’re still on this list because your child used to be a member of RJ Grey, or if you signed up without knowing it, I will not have hurt feelings if you choose to unsubscribe by following the directions at the bottom of this email. If you are in the right place, welcome! Please stay and read on about the recent happenings at RJ Grey Junior High School.

My name is Jim Marcotte and I am the Interim Principal of RJ Grey this year. Our former principal, Andrew Shen, was (is) an excellent writer and communicator -- something I can only hope to be! His weekly message series as the RJ Grey principal was called Grey Matters. In no way do I want to be compared in wit, intelligence, or writing quality to Andrew, so I purposely changed the name of this weekly message series to Eye on the Junior High. In these messages, I hope to focus on some of the things that are happening every week, give a bit of a preview of what’s to come, and highlight how our ongoing work connects to our school and district goals. 

We’ve had quite an excellent first week at RJ Grey. For the first time since March, 2020, our hallways and classrooms are full and we feel the positive energy in the building that only comes from having lots of kids here with us! The staff and I are very impressed by your children and we have strong feelings that this will be a great year. We welcomed our 7th graders on Monday. Despite the heat and humidity, we had a great day and our students had a chance to explore our space without all of our 8th graders. On Tuesday we welcomed our 8th graders - over 75 of them were in our remote sections last year, so for them, this was the first time that they’ve experienced in-person learning at RJ Grey. I have gotten some positive feedback from our students; they report that they’re happy to be back in-person, every day. I hope your own children have been happy with t
heir first few days with us.

I had the chance to speak to all of our students on Monday and Tuesday over the course of four assemblies. Instead of having a single assembly for an entire grade, we invited two teams at a time and kicked off the year with a focus on our school’s work this year: Building a joyful, inclusive community of engaged learners. I started by asking our students why we chose to say “Building...” and not “We are a…” Several students in each assembly volunteered the correct answers…”it’s because it’s a work in progress.” They were right! As I talked with each of them about those three elements: joy, inclusive community, and engaged learning, I named the areas where our staff recognizes we have room to grow. I asked our students for their support in these three areas and I challenged them to consider how they’ll help contribute to a joyful, inclusive community of engaged learners. I bet many of them have some awesome ideas about this and I look forward to hearing from them and seeing those ideas in action.

For now, we’re heading into a long weekend. We won’t be back in school again until next Wednesday (9/8) after we get some time off to celebrate Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah. The choppiness will continue throughout September, so please take a look at this brief preview of upcoming important dates:

  • Friday, September 3 - No School

  • Monday, September 6 - No School - Labor Day

  • Tuesday, September 7 - No School - Rosh Hashanah

  • Monday, September 13 - Early Release at 1 pm

  • Thursday, September 16 - No School - Yom Kippur

  • Monday, September 20 - School Picture Day - details to come

  • Monday, September 27 - Early Release at 1 pm

We ended our assemblies this week by reciting a poem together. I remember coming across it a few years ago, but it ended up in my twitter feed this past weekend and I stopped cold when seeing it.  I think it perfectly describes what we’re building here at RJ Grey. I asked all of our students to recite it with me (and they did!), and so I wanted to share it with you.

May This Be a House of Joy

By Lucille Clifton

May this be a House of Joy.

May we be open here to dreams,

and to each other.

May all who enter in these magic walls

feel love and feel respect

for learning and each other.

May we be always friends to life.

May we walk in that friendship.

May learning live in this house.

May it never leave.

I hope your family has experienced a smooth transition to RJ Grey Junior High School! And if it takes a few extra days of adjustments for your child, that’s also fine. If you think there’s something more  to consider regarding the transition with your child, I invite you to reach out to our teachers and counselors and share some of your child’s experiences so that we can help.

I look forward to working with your kids, and you, this year. I wish the best for a relaxing and enjoyable last weekend of summer!

Take care,

Jim Marcotte

Posted by jmarcotte On 03 September, 2021 at 7:27 AM  

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