October 7, 2021 

Good afternoon,

In college, I was a Resident Assistant (RA) for a few years. When I tell people who know me that fact, they usually respond by saying, “yeah, obviously!” If you attended a college in the US, you’ll recognize the term as the person who gets a reduced-rate for housing in order to keep the shenanigans under control in the residence halls. You’ll remember that I was an assistant principal for 13 years. Being an assistant principal and an RA are pretty similar! An RA is also the person who promotes community in the residence hall and brings people together, too. That’s kind of what I’m trying to do in this new role. As an RA and a college student, we were always told to divide our year into short chunks...thinking about making it to Thanksgiving or the end of the semester was sometimes daunting. Making it from late August to Columbus Day was a much more realistic milestone to arrive at! The same holds true for educators - we’ve made it to (what we now call) Indigenous Peoples Day. While there have been other days off this fall, this one is always a marker for me that the year is proceeding. From our point of view, it’s proceeding well. I hope your experience thus far indicates the same. 

Since we’re now into the hard work of the year, I wanted to point out a resource that you may or may not be aware of. Each of our teams maintains a homework document, outlining the nightly homework, assessments, and when appropriate, the longer-term projects. You can find your child’s team homework doc by checking out our website (grade 7 / grade 8). You might choose to bookmark the specific doc for your child’s team. This doc will help you have a handle on two things: 1 - were they telling you the truth when they said there was no homework? And 2 - you can have a general sense of what might be happening in class when the answer to your question “what did you learn about today?” is “nothing.” 

Next Friday, October 15th, is the due date for our teachers to submit “interim reports.” We’ll then collate those reports and email them to families the following week. At RJ Grey, not every student will get an interim. Interims will come to families as a heads up for a few reasons: low grades, poor homework completion, classroom behavior, or other reasons that our teachers want to make you aware of. Receiving an interim is not the end of the world. All it should do is alert a family and student that something could be going differently before our trimester ends in late November. We ask our teachers to include a narrative as part of the interim and we hope they are able to offer suggestions to improve whatever the situation might be. Whenever you have a question about what’s on an interim report, or if you want to check in about something specific, I ask you to reach out directly to the teacher.

Switching gears, but still focusing on communication, I hope some of us will connect over the Apple TV show, Ted Lasso. Tomorrow, the final episode of season 2 comes out - I’m hoping for some resolution to a few plot points! (the picture on the right is of the sign in my office). I’ve been talking about this show since last year when I sent this message to our staff as part of a weekly update: If you have access to Apple TV, watch Ted Lasso. It’s a great show about a football coach who ends up coaching soccer in the Premier League in England. He’s a happy guy with a quick wit, who has a tagline that I started to pick up on: “I appreciate you.” He uses it a ton to random people he encounters, but when you get to know him, you know he means it. I mean it - I appreciate you and I hope you have a good weekend.”

Last year I was writing that particular message (in March) to our hardworking staff who were making the best of a really challenging year. We’ve carried our own internal momentum into this year and I’m not quite sure if I’d say this year is any easier than last year. If I could pass on a request to you, it would be to reach out to some of your child’s teachers telling them that you appreciate them. It may not be now, and it doesn’t have to be a long message, but if you appreciate your child’s teachers this year...they’d love to hear it. 

Here is a preview of things to come at RJ Grey:

-Monday, October 11: No School - Indigenous Peoples Day;

-Friday, October 15: Pajama Day;

-Monday, October 18: Early Release at 1 pm;

-Monday, October 25: Last day of PE/Health Rotation #1;

-Friday, October 29: Halloween Dress-up Day;

-Monday, November 1: School Picture Re-take Day;

-Monday, November 1: Early Release at 1 pm;

-Tuesday, November 2: No School - Professional Learning Day

As we head into this milestone-worthy long weekend, I hope you get a chance to relax with your friends and families. 

Take care,
Jim Marcotte

Posted by jmarcotte On 07 October, 2021 at 5:06 PM  

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