September 9, 2021 

Good afternoon,

I hope you all had a chance to enjoy some downtime over this recent long weekend. I always embrace an anticipated long weekend! This was a good one for my family - we spent the day at the beach on Saturday and hosted our families on Monday for a combo birthday party for two of my daughters (5 and 3). When the long weekend ends, though, you realize that the same amount of stuff now fits into 3 or 4 days when it’s ideally designed to fit into 5! This is one of those weeks where it feels busy and feels far removed from the slower pace of summer. I hope your students are still feeling good about their experiences at RJ Grey this week even as the pace picks up.

I wanted to highlight a few events that have happened this week, and I’ll preview a few upcoming events, too.

On Wednesday, we had our first fire drill and evacuation drill to the Parker Damon Building. We’ll have 4 fire drills this year - the first happened on a nice sunny day - we’ll hope for the rest to be the same. In a fire drill, we exit the building, line up in our front parking lot, take attendance and in most cases, return to the building immediately. On Wednesday, we continued the drill to the Parker Damon Building (across Charter Road) where we again took attendance. We would only ever use this plan if we needed to leave RJ Grey for an extended period of time, or if we needed to escape inclement weather. Our drill was a success and we were able to get back to our routine a short while later.

Last week, I zoomed into each homeroom to talk to students about other safety protocols, including our ALICE procedures. ALICE procedures are designed to keep people safe during dangerous situations involving an armed intruder. The ALICE protocol is widely accepted in schools across the country, and is used at schools in Acton-Boxborough. Next week, we’ll have our first ALICE drill at RJ Grey. While this drill can seem shocking to some, we emphasize that practicing and preparing for situations like these makes it far more likely that we’ll respond appropriately if ever faced with an emergency situation. You’ll see another email from me (to all RJ Grey families) shortly about this upcoming drill.

Lastly, and on a more positive note, we hosted a brief social this afternoon for our students who are new to our district. I mentioned last week that there are areas where staff have recognized that we could do better. And today we did better! The brainchild of Elizabeth Broadwater, an assistant principal here, this was an easy, low-stakes opportunity to get our new students together again after about 6 days of classes. We had some easy snacks and the space for kids to talk to each other, and with us, about how they’re adjusting to RJ Grey. In talking to a few tables, I learned that our cafeteria food is pretty good (true), that everyone has been helpful in giving directions to classes (true), everyone has been welcoming (happy to hear), and that our teachers are really nice (also true)! If you are the parent or guardian of one of our newest students to AB, thank you for sending your child to our school, and please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help with the adjustment. And if you’re the parent or guardian of a student who has been at AB for several years, thanks for raising children who are welcoming to newcomers! 

Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

  • Monday, September 13: Early Release at 1 pm

  • Thursday, September 16: No School for Yom Kippur

  • Monday, September 20: School Picture Day for 8th graders

  • Tuesday, September 21: School Picture Day for 7th graders

  • Monday, September 27: Early Release at 1 pm

Take care,

Jim Marcotte

Posted by jmarcotte On 09 September, 2021 at 4:45 PM  

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