October 21, 2021 

Good afternoon,

Today was our first Team Community Building Day at RJ Grey. Today was designed for the 8th graders; the 7th graders are tomorrow. This summer, when the admin team was crafting plans for the year, we put a few dates on the calendar that would focus on joy and community for our students. Each team (8 Blue, 8 Green, etc.) had classes up through lunch and then transitioned into a Zoom assembly followed by activities planned by their teachers. One team made 25 scarecrows, one team created sidewalk chalk designs that matched certain themes. Members of another team learned to play rugby! The beautiful weather helped support the outdoor activities. My overall thinking as I walked through many of the activities was, “I hope this is what they remember.” Kids were connecting with each other, with their teachers, and doing something different!  The seventh grade activities are set for tomorrow and I hope for the same joy and community feeling. We’ll repeat these days in January and March.

We are entering the season when 8th grade families may start to think about plans for next year. Most of our students will go to Acton-Boxborough Regional High School for the ninth grade. We’ll work to connect with families this spring for course selection and other items. There is no need to rush the transition to 9th grade! However, if your child might be interested in attending a technical high school, or a private school, we need to start connecting and sharing some resources.

Technical high schools: The Town of Acton belongs to the Minuteman Regional School District. Our 8th graders who live in Acton who wish to attend a technical school apply to Minuteman High School. Minuteman has a process for reviewing applications and will offer admission to students from member towns based on set criteria. In November, we’ll have a chance to take a bus of interested 8th graders (from both towns) to Minuteman for a tour. You’ll learn more about that in the next few weeks. 

The Town of Boxborough does not belong to the Minuteman Regional School District. Boxborough students who wish to apply to Minuteman apply as non-resident members. Students from Boxborough also have the choice to apply to Assabet Valley Technical High School (Marlborough) or Nashoba Technical High School (Westford). In all three cases, the students apply as residents of non-member towns. Our counselors are helpful in talking through options with you or your child. If your child lives in Boxborough and wants to learn more about technical school options, please click here to indicate that - a counselor will then be in touch with your child. 

Private Schools: Students in either grade may be considering attending a private school for next year. This is also a step that starts in the fall, so if you’ve considered applying to a private school, please click here to access our Electronic Form for Private School Application. 

Your child will often need recommendations from a counselor and several teachers. Below is a paragraph I’ve stolen from my predecessor, Mr. Shen, about seeking these recommendations: 

Our teachers and counselors are happy to support students in their applications, and take seriously the crafting of a recommendation.  With that in mind, we ask that families honor the request that teachers be approached about letters of recommendation at least 4 weeks in advance of when those letters are due.  In many situations, parents initially reach out to teachers on behalf of their child, which is perfectly fine.  It’s also important for the student to connect with their teachers first about their interest in private schools.  This is valuable for a few reasons.  First, hearing a bit more about the student’s interest in the schools to which they are applying gives the teacher a better sense of what might be useful to include in the letter.  Secondly, having a teacher find recommendation forms on her desk, or sent via email, without any prior explanation from a student or parent is never the ideal way to start the conversation about a recommendation. By no means are teachers and counselors expecting students to feel indebted to them for writing a letter, and forever genuflect whenever they enter the room. However, speaking directly to the teacher is, I think, central to showing an appropriate level of appreciation for this additional task the students are asking their teacher to complete on their behalf.  If you think your child may be a bit nervous with this task, you might encourage them to speak with the counselor, who can offer some tips and even help them practice.  Your child’s counselor is also, in general, a great resource for various aspects of the application process.

Finally, as we approach the end of October, I highlight that RJ Grey has traditionally hosted Halloween Dress Up Day (Friday, October 29th). This, too, fits with our work on community and joy this year. We usually have about half of our students dress up, and likely half of our staff, too. There is no requirement to dress up, but we support anyone who would like to! Costumes must be appropriate for school and may not include weapons or other dangerous items. Each team will put forward a best costume for the entire staff to then vote on. The costume winner will win a prize for their homeroom.

Here are some upcoming dates at RJ Grey:

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

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

-Monday, November 1: School Picture Retake Day;

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

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

-Thursday, November 11: No School - Veterans’ Day

Take care,

Jim Marcotte

Posted by jmarcotte On 21 October, 2021 at 4:58 PM  

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