February 2, 2023 

Good afternoon,

I hope you are all doing well. Several of you stopped in the drop-off line this morning to make sure  I would be bundled up for the cold weather coming our way. I will, and thank you for your concern! I ask that you make sure your own children are prepared for the incoming cold temperatures, too. As much as we work to make sure our heating system keeps us warm and comfortable, I anticipate a few cold spots tomorrow, including in our cafeteria. The wall of windows that lets in lots of natural light becomes our enemy when the temperatures get pretty low. I hope you all stay as warm as possible through these next few days. 

This week, we started our annual SOS lessons in the 7th grade. SOS stands for Signs of Suicide. I taught the lesson to Ms. Davis’s homebase on Tuesday morning. It’s only on rare occasions nowadays that I get to teach full class periods. My class was great - they were all interested in the topic, asked great questions and had thoughtful responses. The main focus of our SOS work is to have students remember a simple acronym, ACT: Acknowledge, Care, and Tell (a trusted adult). I find that the acronym is universal to lots of situations but is highly applicable to a situation when an adolescent is concerned about a friend who might be feeling depressed, upset, or in the worst case, suicidal. We talk with students about the differences between sadness and depression, we alert them to warning signs for depression, and we ask them to think about who a trusted adult is for them. While we hope all RJ Grey students have at least one trusted adult at school (80% report they currently do), we know that almost all of them are more likely to have someone they trust in their homes. One of the vignettes presented in the SOS video is between two middle-school aged boys. And while one of the boys is resistant to talking to his own mother because she has so much going on, the friend offers up his mom as someone who could help. Please know that many of you may be a trusted adult for kids who aren’t even in your own family! Kids certainly know who they can trust, so please be open if a student needs to talk to you about something important.

Our counselors view the student responses after the lesson and have follow-up conversations with students who either asked to speak to someone, or whose answers prompt us to want to learn more. We’ve now delivered the lesson to 7 Red and 7 Green, with 7 Blue and 7 Gold next week. If you think it would be helpful to connect with someone regarding your child’s emotional needs, please be in touch with your child’s counselor. If you don’t know who that it is, please reach out to me and I’ll connect you.

In other news, I ask all families who drop off their child in the morning to recommit to our expected traffic pattern. I have heard reports of families dropping off students on the driveway in front of our gym. This results in slowing down other cars, but more dangerously, it forces students to cross over the lane of oncoming traffic. Please always drop off in the lower parking lot, or if after 7:50 am, in the front circle.

Finally, I wanted to remind our 8th grade parents and guardians about the upcoming evening presentation at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (Thursday, February 9th from 7:00 - 8:30 pm). At this presentation, the high school administration and department leaders will share information about the curriculum and student life at ABRHS. High school students will also share their experiences in activities and athletics. At the end of the presentation, there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions. The high school will come to talk to our 8th graders in early March, so this evening is set aside for just the adults.

Here are some dates to be aware of:

  • Monday, 2/6/23: School Council Meeting at 7 pm on Zoom

  • Tuesday, 2/7/23: 7 Gold SOS Lesson

  • Thursday, 2/9/23: 7 Blue SOS Lesson

  • Thursday, 2/9/23: 9th grade curriculum night at ABRHS, 7 pm

  • Monday, 2/13/23: Early Release, 1 pm

  • Friday, 2/17/23: Blue and Gold Day

Take care and have a great weekend,

Posted by jmarcotte On 02 February, 2023 at 3:57 PM  

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