March 3, 2022 

Good afternoon,


It has been a good week of reconnecting and settling in at RJ Grey after last week’s vacation. I know you’re all aware that we’ve adjusted our Covid practices and we are now a mask-optional school district. As always, our students have come through and do exactly what we have asked. On Monday when we returned, I noticed about 80% of our students wearing masks (my estimate, only!). Over the last four days, that number has shifted a bit and there are now fewer students wearing masks throughout the day, but we’re still hovering around the 50-60% mark. We made clear that we would respect all student and staff decisions to wear masks or not. We haven’t had any issues with students questioning each other’s mask-wearing. We have great kids who are really respectful of this process. Thanks for letting us work with your children!


We returned on Monday with several important world events to unpack. Our social studies classes were front and center with helping students grapple with the situation in Ukraine. I visited all eight social studies rooms on Monday to see how teachers were helping the students process what they might have watched on the news over the prior week, and in many cases they connected the current events with topics they’ve already studied this year. These same teachers also got the chance to talk about the nomination of a supreme court justice, topped off by a State of the Union address. It’s been quite a week! I am always so appreciative when this particular department comes together to help our students unpack important events that happen in our world.


If you’re the parent of an 8th grader, you may start to hear your child talk about courses for next year at ABRHS. This week, our 8th grade counselors began talking to some students about the process for next year’s course registration; other teams will hear this talk next week. The counselors answer general questions about the high school, including course loads, and logistics (how long is lunch!). Our counselors leave specific conversations about content-area courses and recommendations to our team teachers. Those conversations will be coming up in the next few weeks, where a teacher will make a recommendation for your child’s continued study in that discipline. Starting on March 21, you’ll go into the Parent Portal to see the recommended courses. There will be instructions shared prior to then, but I include it as context for what your kids might be starting to excitedly talk about. The high school has developed a specific site where you can gather information about this upcoming transition.


My final point today is to talk about social media. Every year, we try to help students navigate the complications of living in a world with social media. I am continually thankful that there was no such thing during my own middle school years! The computer we had at home was in the living room and the only reason you’d use it was to maybe use the word processing features. And when I was home and didn’t want to talk to any of my classmates, I had the luxury to choose to just be, without the constant feeling of keeping up with what’s happening online. Our kids don’t have that luxury now.

I encourage you to have a conversation with your children this week to ask about their social media habits. We’ve seen accounts this year that pop up with the goal of embarrassing or exposing pictures or facts about peers. When we find out about these, we try to help locate the responsible party and have the account taken down. Just this week, I talked to several students who I could see were following and liking posts on certain accounts that were posting concerning images. In each case, students didn’t know who had created the account, nor did they know who was adding content. Yet, they continued to like the posts, and in some cases, comment. I think our kids face a dilemma with social media: view it, like it, comment on it, or be left out of the loop. I understand the conundrum. In my conversations this week, I tried to have students understand that if none of them liked inappropriate posts, and if no one commented, the account would likely become obsolete and unimportant. I’d encourage you to ask your kids about how they approach this. If they have any insights into how we can all do better, please feel free to share those thoughts with me!


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Monday, March 7: Early Release at 1 pm

-Monday, March 7: Youth Risk Behavior Survey for 8th graders

-Friday, March 11: End of Trimester 2

-Friday, March 11: Sports Jersey Day

-Friday, March 11: Student Council Basketball Tournament after school

-Monday, March 14: RJ Grey School Council, 7 pm on Zoom

Take care,

Jim Marcotte

Posted by jmarcotte On 03 March, 2022 at 4:53 PM  

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.