November 11, 2021 

Good afternoon,

Happy Veterans Day to you all, especially to those who have served our country. I thank you for your service. You are receiving this on Thursday, but I wrote it on Wednesday afternoon. I am hopeful that my day home is filled with a little bit of downtime with my family. My 7 year old and 5 year old daughters are each having a friend over in the morning. Their three year old sister will undoubtedly tag along. I hope your day has been productive!

I’ve gotten a few emails about two items, so I’ll address them both here. Yes, we will be having parent conferences this year, and yes, we do plan to have Ski Club again this year. You’ll be hearing from me about both of those topics in the next week or so. In my nine years at RJ Grey, I tended to be the “details guy.” So it pains me greatly that we’ve not yet sent out some of our annual items like parent conferences. With our recent turnover in our main office, and me being brand new in this role, I’m giving myself some grace to be okay with this. I thank you for your patience, too.

Our dates for parent-teacher conferences will be December 16, December 21, and January 6th. We affectionately call these conferences “speed dating.” Parents or guardians who wish to connect with a teacher can choose a 5-minute slot of time to do so. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, in most cases, the time is well spent where you can hear from a single teacher, you can ask questions, and get a sense of what your child is like in a particular class. You do not have to request a parent conference, though! If you’ve had a recent connection with teachers through a team meeting, email, or other avenue, you might not feel the need to sign up for a conference. We are continuing what began last year - our parent conferences will be on Zoom. We found that it is actually easier to schedule on our end. And we heard feedback that many parents preferred to be able to zoom for a few minutes, rather than taking an afternoon out of work to come to school. We don’t yet have a plan for next year, when hopefully we are able to fully invite visitors back into our schools more regularly. Look for additional information from me, sent to all RJ Grey families, early next week about conference sign-ups.

We have finished up our fall sports season. Our soccer teams, field hockey teams, and cross country teams had really strong seasons. It was great to know that we were able to bring back one element that was completely absent last year from RJ Grey. We are now gearing up for our winter season. We have boys and girls basketball teams, as well as a Cheer team. These teams all require tryouts as we don’t have an unlimited capacity for players. See the tryout schedule here. Please pay special attention to the requirement of the physical and the Family ID sign-up. Having these things in place well ahead of time will help your child have a successful tryout without the stress of not having all the paperwork ready!

We are at the beginning stages of working to identify a new mascot for the Acton-Boxborough schools. I was part of a meeting last week, along with five students from RJ Grey, joined by high school students and staff members from both schools. At our first meeting, we were briefed on the process outlined by the superintendent to identify a new mascot. We took time to read the Mission, Vision, Values and Beliefs of the District. We each had a chance to share why we were interested in being part of this committee. There were several common themes that came up about why we were interested in being part of the committee: to include lots of voices, build community, have a positive impact on the schools and towns, have all views represented, leave a legacy, build school pride, be a safe place, and be unifying. I am confident that this student-led group will do good work to identify a mascot and make a recommendation to the subcommittee of the School Committee later this year. I will continue to use these Eye on the Junior High messages to share our progress as we move forward this year.

Finally, I want to introduce you to a new and important person in our Main Office. Mrs. Eileen Matarese has taken over as the Main Office Support at RJ Grey. Eileen worked with us as a teaching assistant in 2019-2020, spent last year in the RLP, but otherwise, has worked at Douglas for a lot of years as a classroom assistant. She’s a parent in our community, has worked with the PTSO and supports Acton and Boxborough in all sorts of ways. We are very excited to welcome her. Her first 3 days have been great and she keeps telling me that she didn’t realize how busy it would be! I did tell her...honestly, I did!

Eileen has been introduced to kids leaving early, coming late, and working with families to troubleshoot some issues. I wanted to remind all families about our process for dismissing students from school. If you follow these procedures, you’ll have a more efficient experience picking up your child: 

-Absences or Late Arrivals: If your child will be absent from or late to school, please call the absence line at (978) 264-4700 ex: 3333 before 8:00AM and state your child’s: name, team and the reason for the absence or tardy arrival.

-Dismissals: Students who will be dismissed during the school day need a note from home signed by a parent or guardian stating the time of dismissal and whether or not the student will return that day. You may write a note or print a dismissal form. Students should bring the note or completed form to the office first thing in the morning. They will be given a pass to leave class at the appropriate time. They should check in at the office as they are leaving and again when they return.

There will be emergencies and you will sometimes need to come pick up your child without having sent a note. That’s not a problem! Just give us a call and we’ll track down your student and have them ready for you when you arrive.

If you need to email the main office, we’ve created a new email address where you can reach us: [email protected]. You are welcome to use this email which will reach several of us. As we recently experienced changes in our staffing, we thought this might be a useful tool to know that your message is getting to multiple people.

Here are a few upcoming dates:

-Monday, November 15: Early Release at 1pm

-Monday, November 15: School Council Meeting #2 (Zoom link)

-Wednesday, November 24: Early Release for Thanksgiving (11:10 am)

That’s it for this week - I hope you are all doing well.

Take care,



Posted by jmarcotte On 11 November, 2021 at 9:06 AM  

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