February 1, 2024 

Good afternoon,

Happy February to you all! Each morning, I leave the house with my two youngest daughters. On the way out the door this morning, my 5-year-old  asked if we could go sledding soon. She’s right - we haven’t gone to any local hills to sled yet this year. I am hopeful the sun will return this weekend to be able to enjoy a bit of the snow before it’s gone. And I am hopeful that with one more year under her belt, she can walk back up the hill on her own to avoid me carrying her!

Our Ski and Board club is halfway through its season. With cold enough temperatures and some natural snow, they’ve had better conditions than recent years. If you drive your child to school, I am ever grateful for your patience on Tuesday mornings. I know our regular drop-off routine can get slowed down by all the gear that gets brought into school on those days. We have considered alternative drop-off strategies to keep things moving, but we worry those will actually make the impact worse and slow down traffic even more. If you do drop off, regardless of the day of the week, please pull as far forward as possible (up to the car in front of you, or as far forward as Mr. Zhang!) to allow additional cars to pull in behind you. If you stop right at the stairs or even earlier, we prevent at least 3 or 4 cars from pulling in. 

Next week is National School Counselor Week. We have four excellent counselors here at RJ Grey, plus three great school psychologists. They are all busy this week and next with teaching lessons on the Signs of Suicide in 7th grade classes. If you have had experience working with our counselors, next week, or really any time, is a good week to thank them!

As I noted, we started SOS this week. I taught the lesson to Ms. Kulkarni’s homeroom 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 (89% report they currently do), we know that almost all of them are more likely to have someone they trust in their homes (93% report that they do). 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 own 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.

Next Wednesday, February 7th from 6 - 7:30 pm, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School is hosting their annual Transition to ABRHS Night for parents and caregivers of current 8th graders. The high school administrators, department leaders, and students will talk about life at the high school. Our 8th graders already met with reps from the high school in the fall, and we’ll take them for a tour later this spring. Please mark your calendars for this important event.

Upcoming Dates

  • Mon, Feb 5: Library closed to students after school

  • Tues, Feb 6: 7 Red SOS Lesson

  • Tues, Feb 6: Ski Club Session #4

  • Tues, Feb 6: School Council Meeting at  7 pm

  • Tues, Feb 6: Cartwheel Care Seminar

  • Wed, Feb 7: Transition to ABRHS Night for 8th grade families

  • Thurs, Feb 8: 7 Green SOS Lesson

  • Sat, Feb 10: Budget Saturday, 8:15 - 3:30

  • Mon, Feb 12: Early Release, 1 pm

  • Thurs, Feb 15: End of Round 3 for PE/Health classes

  • Fri, Feb 16: Blue and Gold Day

Take care and have a great weekend!

Posted by jmarcotte On 01 February, 2024 at 2:25 PM  

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