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Good evening,


We are nearing the end of our first 5-day week of school at RJ Grey! I hope your child continues to adapt and feel confident about their school year. Below are several pieces of information that I’d like to share this week.


Yesterday, as we knew the high school was in a shelter-in-place situation, and after we considered our junior high response, I texted my own parents. Knowing that my mom reads this weekly column and keeps an eye on the news for any AB-related items, I figured I should reach out. I knew that the helicopter I was hearing circling above our campus would prompt them to wonder if I was safe when they saw the mid-day news or a Facebook post. I let them know that our school was safe, as was the high school. Any parent, no matter the age of their child (40, in my case), will always hope that their child is safe at school. At RJ Grey, safety is our most important goal. We did postpone our ALICE drill that was scheduled for today. We’ll wait a few weeks and run our drill at that time. 


I addressed our students today as part of our morning announcements with the following message: “If you heard from your family about a situation at the high school yesterday, I want to reassure you this morning that everyone here at RJ Grey is safe. Everyone at the high school is safe. At times, we will hear about information that causes us concern. It's the adults' job to follow a process to make sure everyone is safe at school. If you ever have information to share because you've heard something, or you saw something on social media...you have to connect with one of your trusted adults. This might be a teacher, your counselor, an advisor, or a family member. We rely on each other to stay safe - thank you for your help with this.”


Speaking of social media, we’ve learned that the Be Real app has caught on with some of our students. This new app informs users to take a picture of whatever they’re doing at a specific moment in time. Everyone (worldwide, I imagine) using the app is prompted to take a picture during the same 2-minute window. I predict that those 2-minutes will at some point collide with the 396-minutes of our school day. While I appreciate that a streak might be important - students don’t use their phones in school. If you know your child uses this app, please pass along the message that using it during the school day is not allowed.


We will be hosting our Back to School Night on Thursday, October 13th, starting at 7 pm. This year will be our first in-person event of its kind since 2019. We are excited to invite you to our building to meet many of your child’s teachers and sit in their classrooms. We’ll email each family a specific schedule (your child’s schedule divided into 10-minute classes) on or around October 7th. Please mark your calendars and join us!


Finally, I hope to use this column to highlight some of the work of our Advisory program. While we have growing pains, as there would be with any new program, we are happy with our Advisory program thus far. This week marked our first 25-minute advisory session. In general, on Mondays and Fridays, we meet for a quick 10-minute check-in. On weeks with 5 school days, we meet on Wednesdays for 25-minutes. Across our building, all Advisories did some activity related to The Dot by Peter H Reynolds. This children’s book sparked a quick discussion in Advisories about what mark each of us can leave on our school community. Each student then got a chance to make their own “dots.” As we build in simple lessons like this, we have a few goals: connections with peers, connections with an adult, and a chance to work on a Social-Emotional skill. During September, we are focusing on the theme of Belonging and in this case, Social Awareness. Helping our students realize their impact on our community is a big deal for us. Many walls of our school are now decorated with some good looking "dots!"


Here are some upcoming dates that will be helpful for you to know:

  • Monday, 9/19: Early Release at 1 pm for Professional Learning

  • Friday, 9/23: School Picture Day at RJ Grey

  • Monday, 9/26: No School - Rosh Hashanah

  • Monday, 10/3: Early Release at 1 pm for Professional Learning

  • Wednesday, 10/5: No School - Yom Kippur


Take care and have a great weekend,
Jim






Posted by jmarcotte  On Sep 15, 2022 at 7:16 PM
  

Good afternoon,


I hope you enjoyed a nice Labor Day weekend. While Monday and Tuesday provided us with lots of needed rain, the preceding days were perfect weather days to wrap up a great summer. Next week will be our first 5-day week at RJ Grey. It’s only then that we start to feel what it’s really like to be back in school. From our current perspective, it’s been a great return! Our students seem happy to be here, they are excited to be learning and seeing friends and classmates. I’ve seen them interacting with their teachers in classes, having fun in Advisory, and being full of joy (mostly) in our hallways. And with the return of our fall sports tryouts and practices this week, there’s an after-school energy that is exciting, too. 


We’ve been intentional about our lunch routines this year. When we returned to school last year, out of the hybrid-remote model Cafeteria Rules we had in 20-21, we were caught off-guard by our need to be explicit about expectations for how to behave in shared spaces - hallways, lunchrooms, etc. This year, we were ready! Over several days, and with more specific reminders to individuals, we’ve reiterated expectations (pic at right) for how to use our lunchrooms. Next week, we are going to review some procedures that will allow students to eat outside if they choose. I’m hoping for a continuation of the cooperative behaviors we’ve been seeing.


As a reminder to everyone, all students are entitled to one free breakfast and one free lunch every day. We are seeing many students take advantage of this - and some choose to get one lunch free and buy one! My own children returned to school recently and every day I hear exciting reports of what they ate for lunch. It is the little things in life that keep us entertained, I suppose!


Here are some upcoming dates that will be helpful for you to know:

  • Monday, 9/19: Early Release at 1 pm for Professional Learning

  • Friday, 9/23: School Picture Day at RJ Grey

  • Monday, 9/26: No School - Rosh Hashanah

  • Monday, 10/3: Early Release at 1 pm for Professional Learning

  • Wednesday, 10/5: No School - Yom Kippur


Take care,
Jim

Posted by jmarcotte  On Sep 08, 2022 at 4:12 PM
  

Good afternoon,


If you’re wondering why you’ve received this email message today, it’s because you are currently subscribed as a recipient of the Daily Announcements and Eye on the Junior High message series at RJ Grey Junior High School. I will not feel bad if you choose to “unsubscribe” by clicking the button at the bottom of the email you received. And if you are in the right place, Welcome! Please stay and read these weekly messages which will generally come out on Thursday afternoons.


We’ve now been back to school for four days - an excellent four days! After the first two days, I woke up on Wednesday morning grateful that we had moved past the two prior days of mixed-up, choppy schedules. Whenever we get the chance to return to our predictable schedules, our daily rhythm just seems to flow better here at RJ Grey. The next few weeks will have lots of random events and interruptions to our days, including safety drills, picture day, and other items, but we’re happy to have our feet beneath us and ready to move forward with building our Joyful, Inclusive Community of Engaged Learners.


The return of students to school is always an exciting time for us. Before we even managed to have our students return, we had a major shift in our Admin team at RJ Grey. We hired one new assistant principal last spring after we found out that Mr. Lawrence had accepted a principal position in another middle school. And we found out later in the summer that Ms. Boege had accepted a curriculum coordinator position in another town, too. I have tried to not take each of these departures personally, as each presented a great opportunity for their continued professional growth.


We have lucked out with our recent hires of assistant principals who are truly great additions to our leadership team and the daily life of RJ Grey. Because they both work primarily with students, families, and teachers, I want to make sure to introduce them to you.


Mrs. Kelly Doherty is joining us as the Assistant Principal responsible for working with 7th graders. She has experience as an assistant principal at the elementary and high school levels. She was a math teacher and digital learning teacher, along with being a department leader for many years. Kelly has hit the ground running, getting to know the 7th grade students and all of our teachers. She’s been a great addition to our school. Kelly can be reached by email at [email protected].





Mr. Jun Wei (Anthony) Zhang is also joining us as an Assistant Principal. Anthony will work with our 8th grade students, families, and teachers. Anthony recently earned his degree in ed leadership while working as a 7th grade English teacher in Massachusetts. Anthony grew up in New Jersey and after college, joined Teach for America which brought him to the Bay State. We are thrilled that he stayed in the area and has joined our school community. If you need to reach Anthony, you’ll find him at [email protected].




Our Fall Athletics programs get going next week. Please check out
this doc with tryout/sign-up info. If you have questions about a particular sport, please reach out to the coaches listed, or to our JH Athletic Director, Jon Duclos ([email protected]).


With every August/September, comes a level of excitement for people who work in schools. We hope that our excitement for school and learning has been made apparent to your children. If school hasn’t hit the mark for your child yet, that’s okay. Change, whether it be to a new grade or new school, can be difficult for some students. If the return to school seems like a real struggle after another week or so, I invite you to reach out to your child’s teachers or counselor. We’d like to hear what you’re seeing at home so that we can partner together on how to help.


Here are some upcoming dates that will be helpful for you to know:

  • Friday, 9/2: No School

  • Monday, 9/6: No School - Labor Day

  • Monday, 9/19: Early Release at 1 pm for Professional Learning

  • Friday, 9/23: School Picture Day at RJ Grey

  • Monday, 9/26: No School - Rosh Hashanah


For now, enjoy the long weekend. We’ll see all of our students again on Tuesday, September 6. 


Take care,
Jim


Posted by jmarcotte  On Sep 01, 2022 at 9:09 AM
  

Good afternoon,


I broke my streak with this message series! I was really good at getting this message out on Thursday evenings all year, until the very last week. The last few days of school were a whirlwind and I didn’t find the time to close out this year’s Eye on the Junior High with a final message. You may not have noticed - but I did!


It actually works out well that I can comment on the final events of the school year to you now! The 8th graders had a fun trip to Mel’s Funway on June 17th. As one of the chaperones, I saw that our kids represented themselves and our school well and seemed to have a great time using the facility. The weather was perfect and the cheeseburgers were good, too.


Our last day of school featured our annual Tug-of-War Competitions! This fun event pits homeroom against homeroom in our bracket-style competition. Shout out to Ms. McGovern’s homeroom for winning the 7th grade trophy and to Mrs. Macey’s homeroom for winning the 8th grade trophy. We also distributed our yearbooks to those students who ordered one earlier in the year. We are aware that some families thought they had ordered or missed the emails about ordering altogether. We have several takeaways that we hope will make this process smoother next year.


The last event of our school year was a school-wide assembly at the high school (the only facility that can hold our whole school)! Our Select Choir sang two pieces, the winner of our Last Verse poetry contest read her poem, and we acknowledged several students who represented our values of Joy, Community, and Engagement throughout the year. We also awarded our Good Citizenship Awards to two students who were voted by the staff as wonderful contributors to our school community throughout the year. The end-of-year assembly is always a great event for us and I’m glad we were able to do it in person again.


I’m shutting down the Eye on the Junior High until the start of next year. My family and I have a few beach vacations planned, where we’ll be able to be together and enjoy a different pace than the rest of the year provides. I hope you have something fun planned for these next two months. If your child is moving onto high school and you hope not to continue to receive these messages next year, feel free to Unsubscribe at the bottom of the email you received. Otherwise, even if you don’t have a student at RJ Grey next year, feel free to stay connected to us.


We will welcome our 7th graders on Monday, August 29th, and our 8th graders will come back on Tuesday, August 30th. Until then, I wish you a great summer!


Take care,


Jim Marcotte



Posted by jmarcotte  On Jun 30, 2022 at 1:15 PM
  

Good afternoon,


This is the penultimate edition of Eye on the Junior High for this school year. If you remember the first issue of this series, back in September, I commented that I changed the name of this message series to not be confused with our former principal’s series. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this update as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Being a principal this year has brought about a lot of changes for me, but most significantly, I have started to develop my “voice” as a principal. Assistant principals have voices, too…but usually used for different purposes. Thanks for being readers this year!


I have two RJ Grey staff members to recognize and thank in this week’s message. And then I’ll share a poem written by one of our students.


For the first recognition: Mr. David Lawrence has been with us at RJ Grey for the last five years as an assistant principal. David is currently the assistant principal for the seventh graders. He is entering his final weeks at AB before he moves on to be the middle school principal in the Dover-Sherborn school district. David has shown us over the last five years that he cares deeply about our students and he enjoys getting to know them as well as he can. He cares about the instruction in our classrooms and wants it to be the best it can be so that our students learn. In that regard, he has worked with teachers over his five years to improve the teaching and learning experience. We wish Mr. Lawrence well as he transitions to his new role…where I know he will find his principal “voice” very quickly.


Secondly, I want to write briefly about our only retiring teacher. Ms. Kellie Carter is currently the 8 Red Social Studies teacher and Social Studies Department Coordinator. Kellie is not acting like a soon-to-be retiree. She continues to give her all to her students on 8 Red and to her colleagues, every day, which is the way she’s always operated. Kellie started work at RJ Grey in 1997; she’s taught Social Studies in both 7th and 8th grades, and for a time, was an English teacher when RJ Grey had a half-team. She’s served on a ton of committees and has advised the Current Events Club, along with the Model UN club, among other things. In her role as Department Coordinator, she has helped her department plan responses to various and sometimes tragic world events. It has always been important for our social studies teachers to help students think critically, and our world has given us all plenty of things to think deeply about. Kellie is going to travel through Europe, spend time with grandkids, and catch her breath in the early days of retirement. Our students and our staff are going to miss Ms. Carter dearly. When the history of RJ Grey JHS is written, there will be a few special pages written about Ms. Carter.


Finally, I want to invite you to read a poem that was shared with students today as part of the morning announcements. Lucia Sabatelli is an 8th grader who entered a poem into our 8th grade Last Verse poetry contest. Another participant will share their poem at our end-of-year assembly. Lucia read her poem from my office this morning over the PA. I hadn’t read it ahead of time, so I got to enjoy it “live.” I asked Lucia to share it with me and I also asked if I could share it in this newsletter. She agreed. I hope you enjoy it:


Growth and Goodbyes

If only the walls of RJ Grey could talk

For then they would erupt with joy 

If only the echoing of my steps

Could match the beating of my heart

Filled with a yearning for new experiences

Yet encased with a melancholy for what once was

What trials, what tribulations

Once frustration, now learning

Growth

And although my feet will not walk these halls anymore

I will carry the halls with me

The lessons, the learning, the courage

Afterall,

RJ Grey has granted me such

So I will bask in the warmth of this final farewell

For there are no new beginnings

Without saying goodbye

~ 


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Friday, June 10: Great East Music Festival

-Friday, June 10: 8th Grade Celebration, 7 - 9 pm

-Friday, June 17: 8th grade trip to Mel’s Funway

-Monday, June 20: No School due to Juneteenth holiday

-Tuesday, June 21: End of year assembly, early release at 11:10 am



Take care,


Jim Marcotte



Posted by jmarcotte  On Jun 09, 2022 at 4:03 PM
  

Good afternoon,


I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful Memorial Day Weekend! On Monday afternoon, my family joined some neighbors for a cookout and it didn’t seem real that we had to return to school the next day. Last weekend felt like one of those great summer weekends - more of those to come shortly, I know.


I wanted to preview a little about our last day of school, coming up in just under three weeks. Our last day of school is Tuesday, June 21. We’ll release at 11:10 am that day. Our students will arrive in the morning and will receive their yearbooks and have some time to look at them. We’ll also have our annual Tug-of-War competition where homerooms compete against each other for the all-important plastic trophy! We’ll then head to the high school for our end-of-year assembly. We’ll recognize some student achievements, we’ll recognize our retirees, and end the year as a community, which has been an important part of our focus this year.


When our assembly ends, we’ll leave the high school and walk back towards RJ Grey where your children will either board a bus, meet up with you for a ride, or be with friends to begin their summer. As a reminder, there is no school on Monday, June 20th in honor of the Juneteenth holiday.


If you know that your child will not be with us on one of the last days of school, feel free to start communicating that directly with our Main Office. You can email us at [email protected] and let us know the days your child will miss. That will help you by not having to call your child in absent on those particular days. If your child won’t be here starting prior to June 16th or so, please be very clear with them that they have to return to their Chromebook, library books, textbooks, or other loaned items before they depart for the summer. When returning their Chromebooks, we need students to return the device, the charger, and if in 7th grade, the stylus. Teachers will check off that those elements are all returned so that we can be ready for distribution again in the fall. Thank you for your help with this important task.


Lastly this week, I wanted to point out an email you received from the district at the end of May. The email directed you to a School Climate family survey about our Acton-Boxborough schools. I’d like to make a plug for you to please complete the survey about your experiences at RJ Grey. I haven’t completed the parent version, but I have completed the staff version. Knowing the questions that I answered, I am hopeful that you’ll take the time to complete the survey as I anticipate that your responses will help inform our work next year. So please, if you haven’t already done so, please spend some time providing some feedback about your RJ Grey (and other AB schools) experience. The survey closes tomorrow evening (Friday, June 3) at 5 pm.


Tomorrow marks our ABRHS Graduation! Congratulations to any families who have a graduating Senior. Our kids have all been through a lot in the past few years. Getting them to the finish line was likely not an easy task. I hope you have a great ceremony and celebration with your kids!


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Friday, June 3: High School Graduation on Leary Field

-Friday, June 10: Great East Music Festival

-Friday, June 10: 8th Grade Celebration, 7 - 9 pm

-Friday, June 17: 8th grade trip to Mel’s Funway

-Tuesday, June 21: End of year assembly, early release at 11:10 am



Take care,


Jim Marcotte



Posted by jmarcotte  On Jun 02, 2022 at 4:39 PM
  

Good afternoon,


Spring has arrived. The recent bright sunny days make the light coat of pollen over everything just a bit easier to deal with. I hope you’re looking forward to the unofficial start of summer this weekend with Memorial Day. Last year we bought a 15-foot Intex pool. It’s one of those that comes together quickly with PVC poles and a vinyl liner. I pulled it out of the garage last weekend to discover some pumpkin seeds and a 2-inch hole. I’m imagining some kind of small animal must have made himself comfortable over the winter. A quick trip to the hardware store for a vinyl patch made it possible to get the pool up and we’ve been slowly filling it over the week. My kids, who don’t feel cold in the water, will likely get to take the first swim this weekend. I hope you have some fun plans, too.


I wrote to you all on Tuesday night with our plans for how we planned to talk about the shootings in Texas. As always, your kids were great. When I sit in my office and make announcements, I don’t get the immediate feedback that teachers get when they’re face-to-face, so I never know how our messages on serious topics land for our kids. Our teachers reported back that they took our messaging seriously and I know some teachers asked them throughout the day to share, or write any of their fears, wonderings, or hopes coming out of the situation. I still remain sad thinking about it all while remaining committed to keeping RJ Grey as safe as it can be. That’s the work for all of us, so thank you for your partnership in this.


Turning to happier thoughts - we had a great seventh grade celebration last Friday. We sold about 340 tickets - I’m not positive all of those students came, but we had a great turnout. All of the chaperones and I were happy to see kids just having fun. I talked to the attendees at the start of the event and reminded them that our goals of Joy and Community were being represented by the particular event they were a part of and I reiterated our expectations for what their behavior should look like. They rose to the occasion and there was a lot of joy and community that night. Events like this only come together with the support of our PTSO and our staff. To start, I’d like to thank the parent volunteers who took on the important job of setting up and staffing the snack and drink tables. Megan Connor, Deb Datta, Diane Randolph Jones, Barbara Miranda, Durga Nirgudkar, and Dara Sweetser all volunteered their time and energy and the kids greatly appreciated it. And thank you to all of you who dropped off boxes of Doritos, desserts, and other snacks and drinks. You contributed to a great event!


I’m putting in a plug for our AB Summer School options. They have some classes that are appropriate for our students. If you’re interested, please see the info below and check out their website:


Summer School Registration

Join us this summer at the AB Summer school!  Summer School 2022 dates are Monday, June 27th - Friday, August 5th for six-week classes and Monday, June 27th - Friday, July 22nd for summer physical education classes.  A full range of Enrichment, Remedial and Test Prep courses include: English, Creative Writing, Math 7, Math 8, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Math Counts, SAT Prep, Science Research, & Physical Education.  Course offerings and other information can be found on the AB Summer School website.  Email [email protected] with questions!  


We are certainly closing in on the end of the school year. I hope it winds down well for all of you and your children. Have a great long weekend!


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Monday, May 30: No School, Memorial Day

-Thursday, June 2: RJ Grey Choral Performance

-Friday, June 3: High School Graduation on Leary Field

-Friday, June 10: Great East Music Festival

-Friday, June 10: 8th Grade Celebration, 7 - 9 pm

-Friday, June 17: 8th Grade trip to Mel’s Funway

-Tuesday, June 21: End of year assembly, early release at 11:10 am



Take care,


Jim Marcotte



Posted by jmarcotte  On May 26, 2022 at 4:52 PM
  

Good evening,


Thank you to everyone for your well-wishes regarding my Covid case. I feel fully recovered, and as I said last week, I feel grateful for having a mild case. Up through now, my wife and daughters remain negative, which is also great news! I hope your family has been able to stay healthy.


This was a busy week at RJ Grey. We are in the process of hiring for several teaching positions. After our hiring committees do initial interviews of candidates, we invite finalists back to RJ Grey for demo lessons. We have our finalists create a lesson to deliver to one of our current classes. While the demo lesson doesn’t show us the complete perspective of how a teacher will lead a class of their own, it does give us a bit of insight into how a candidate interacts with students, and how students respond to the energy and instruction of the guest teacher. Relationships and trust between students and teachers are huge factors for us. We know that if students don’t trust their teachers or if they don’t have a relationship, we won’t see the maximum amount of learning. After a candidate teaches a demo lesson, they then spend about 30 minutes in an interview with me. I ask what they thought of the lesson, I ask what it might look like if I visited their own classroom, and I ask about their thoughts about working with middle schoolers! We are very fortunate to have lots of candidates who love the idea of working with 12, 13, and 14 year olds. I am excited about the teachers we’ll be bringing on board for next fall.


Before we get to the fall, we need to get through this spring. Coming up tomorrow evening is our 7th Grade Celebration! It starts at 7 and ends at 9 pm. The event will feature food, music, dancing, the Limbo, and fun for all. Thank you to Ms. Ahl, our Student Council advisor for her work on this, along with our PTSO volunteers who help with all of the arrangements. Later this spring, on June 10th, the 8th graders will have their own evening celebration. We are not a school that does a graduation ceremony. It just has not ever been a part of the culture of RJ Grey. So in addition to the evening celebration, we’ll have an 8th grade year-end field trip to Mel’s Funway Park, in Litchfield, New Hampshire. This trip will take place on Friday, June 17th. Permission slips will be coming home soon. Prior to Covid, we took the 8th graders to Canobie Lake Park. I am very willing to admit fault in not booking Canobie early enough this year for our entire grade to attend. So, we made some adjustments and are going to try out a new venue for this year’s trip. Trying something new seems to be the theme of the year; we are very excited about getting to spend a fun day off-campus with our 8th graders.  Our 7th grade teams have each taken, or will take, trips to Boda Borg this spring, so they will be staying on campus for the end of the year. But we have some fun activities in store for them, too.


Our last day of school is Tuesday, June 21st, with an 11:10 dismissal. We’ll end our year with a school-wide assembly at ABRHS where we’ll recognize some of our students and our retiring staff members, and we'll get to see the always fun End of Year Slideshow. This is always an enjoyable assembly for me and marks the close of the year with all of us being together one last time.

Finally, our friends at the High School have asked for your help in being part of the annual Project Graduation. Please see the info below about how you can be part of this very successful event to help keep our graduating Seniors safe on their graduation night:

RJ Grey Parents: We Could Use Your Help! 

We are so excited to be back inside the high school for Project Graduation 2022, the all-night, all-inclusive, substance-free celebration for seniors on Friday, June 3Class of 2022 parents are not allowed to volunteer at Project Graduation. Someday, that will be you! But right now, you can pay it forward. We need YOUR helpas chaperonesfood servers, and entertainment assistants. Here is our GIGANTIC PG2022 Main Event SignUpGenius! It's so big because we need so much help. The best part is keeping kids safe, but the next best part is that it's a really fun night for the volunteers too. Oh, and there's one specific thing we still need: a henna artist! If you are a parent with henna art skills and you'd like to volunteer your time at this year's event, please send us an email
Jennifer Mabardy and Jennifer Philion
AB Project Graduation 2021 Co-Chairs

I hope you’re all doing well. Have a good night!


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Friday, May 20: 7th grade Celebration, 7 - 9 pm

-Monday, May 30: No School, Memorial Day

-Friday, June 3: High School Graduation on Leary Field



Take care,


Jim Marcotte



Posted by jmarcotte  On May 19, 2022 at 8:41 PM
  

Good afternoon,


I hope you and your families are doing well and enjoying the recent change in the weather. It’s starting to actually feel like May! This will be a brief message today and it focuses on our nemesis of the last two years: Covid-19. In full disclosure, I am at home this week with Covid. My symptoms are mild, for which I feel very lucky. Many of us know people who have had serious complications or worse from Covid. So while at home, I’m trying to isolate myself from my family but find myself super grateful that it’s a beautiful May day and not the dead of winter so that I can spend time outside with my family safely.


Each day for most of this year, our nurse has sent me an email (or multiple emails) with the name of a student who is newly diagnosed with Covid. I send that along to that student’s set of teachers with their expected date of return. You can see our case counts over the last few weeks by checking out our Covid site; our case counts have been growing over the last few weeks. What I’ve noticed over the last few days is that we’ve been diagnosing some students here at school. Plenty of students are tested at home and don’t come in on a day when they’re not feeling completely well. As we narrow in on the end of the year, I’d ask all of us to redouble our efforts to be on the lookout for signs of illness. If there is any sign of illness, I ask that you please test your child, either at home or at their doctor’s office or pharmacy, and if they aren’t feeling great, please keep them home. I am hoping we’re on the downward trend with cases at RJ Grey, but only time will tell us that. If you have any questions about illness or symptoms, please reach out to our health office at 978 264-4700 x 3318.


While there is no change in official mask status at AB, we still encourage students to make decisions about mask-wearing that make sense for them and for their families. We continue to keep doors and windows open and our air filtration systems operating. We’ve returned to allowing for outdoor lunches on the days that weather and supervision allow for it. I know we’ll have a positive end of the year, and I thank you for your support in keeping an eye on your child’s health status. Please be in touch with any questions.


Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Friday, May 13: 7th grade Math MCAS Session 2

-Monday, May 16: School Council on Zoom,  7 pm

-Friday, May 20: 7th grade Celebration, 7 - 9 pm


Take care,


Jim Marcotte



Posted by jmarcotte  On May 12, 2022 at 2:31 PM
  

Good afternoon,


I hope you are all doing well. If you aren’t aware, this week is National Teacher Appreciation Week. I follow many educational leaders on social media and I see the gifts, spreads of food, balloons, and daily treats that other principals have provided for their staff over the past four days. If I had to rate myself on a rubric, I would be “Unsatisfactory” for demonstrating my appreciation in this way. I do have the same sentiment these people have though, just without the catering bill to pay.  I continue to be so very appreciative of the teachers and staff who work at RJ Grey. I have asked you twice before in this column to please reach out and thank your child’s teachers. If you haven’t already done so, or even if you have, this is a good week to thank a teacher or someone who works in a school.


I have observed several teachers this week, and in our post-observation conversations about the lesson, I often ask questions that I’m wondering about, or I ask the teacher to fill in the gaps for me: what happened the day before, what was next in the sequence of activities? Having these lesson debriefs this week continues to remind me that our teachers are thinking of 100 things at the same time: planning for the student who has trouble reading to access the text you just handed out, making sure the two girls who are having an argument aren’t sitting in the same group, re-teaching something that you taught the day before that you know went right over their heads, remembering when class ends today because the schedule is different because of Math MCAS. The to-do list of every teacher is endless, and all of those tasks are in service of teaching our kids and making our school a really great place for kids to learn. If you haven’t done so yet, please thank a teacher or two this week!


I have several community-based announcements that I want to share with you today: one is RJG-based, one is AB-based, and the others relate to the summer!


Last week, I mentioned that we’ll be having a 7th grade celebration on May 20 from 7 - 9 pm. Music, food, fun, and some dancing will hopefully make for a fun night in the gym. 7th graders will be able to start purchasing tickets soon. This event, and the next one I’m going to describe, are just for RJ Grey students: friends from other towns will have fun at their own schools, I’m sure!  Towards the end of the year, we’ll also have our 8th grade celebration. This will take place on Friday, June 10th at 7 pm in our cafeteria. This is historically a really fun night for our 8th graders before they move on to high school. My wife went to RJ Grey many years ago and still affectionately calls this event “the semi,” as in semi-formal. We have moved past that understanding and while students do dress more nicely than they do for school, it is a low-key event where kids get together. No one needs fancy clothes, no one needs a “date,” and no one needs special plans for an after-party. We’ll talk more about this event to your students in the coming weeks. We are very grateful for the group of parents who will work with our PTSO and some of our staff to pull off this great night.

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If your child went to the Douglas School, I want to make sure you see this announcement: 

Calling All Douglas Elementary Alumni!

 

The C.T. Douglas Elementary School PTO is hosting a Farewell to Elm St Party on June 1st from 5pm-7pm. Our entire Douglas Community (alumni too!) is invited to party together and give Elm St. the send-off it deserves before we move over to the Boardwalk Campus. Picture warm weather, food trucks (BYO option too), yard games, and just plain hanging out with people…it’s going to be FUN! *Held rain or shine

 

RSVP HERE by May 15 as we need a headcount for our food trucks/vendors to prepare. Those who RSVP by the deadline will be entered into a gift card raffle announced at the party.

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If you are thinking about summer (we all are!), I want to share a financial resource that we’re aware of. The Doli Atamian Campership Program provides scholarships to summer camps and programs/classes for children in Acton and Boxborough based on family income. The application process is simple, and each child/student may receive up to $300 towards a summer camp program or activities/classes of the family’s choice. For more information about the Campership scholarship and an application form, go to https://www.doliatamiancampership.com/ or call 978-515-3227.

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Dear Families of Students Who Will Be Entering 6th-8th Grade Next Year:  

 

Minuteman High School is offering summer school enrichment programs for students entering grades 6-8 throughout July and August. Enrichment courses are optional classes intended for students to learn about subjects that interest them. 

 

Middle School Courses  

Click this link to register for summer courses

-Cost: The cost is $200 per 1-week enrichment course. 

-Transportation: School buses will be available for grade 6-8 students who live in one of Minuteman’s nine member towns: Acton, Arlington, Bolton, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Needham, and Stow. Scheduling and route information will be provided after the registration process is complete. 

-Dates for Middle School Summer Enrichment Courses: 

--July 11-15, 8:30 AM-11:30 AM: Auto Mechanics, Plant Science/Horticulture, Cosmetology/Salon, Early Education, Environmental Science, Veterinary Science, Multimedia
--July 11-15, 12:00-3:00 PM: Cosmetology/Salon
--July 18-22, 8:30 AM-11:30 AM: Auto Mechanics, Cosmetology/Salon, Environmental Science, Veterinary Science, Multimedia
--July 18-22, 12:00 PM-3:00 PM: Cosmetology/Salon
--July 25-29, 8:30 AM-11:30 AM: Environmental Science, Veterinary Science, Public Speaking/Debate 

 

If you have any questions about summer school courses, please contact Cindy DeMaio, summer school coordinator and cosmetology instructor.  

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Here are some upcoming dates to be aware of:

-Monday, May 9: 8th grade Math MCAS Session 2

-Tuesday, May 10: 8th grade Science MCAS

-Thursday, May 12: 7th grade Math MCAS Session 1

-Friday, May 13: 7th grade Math MCAS Session 2

-Monday, May 16: School Council on Zoom,  7 pm

-Friday, May 20: 7th grade Celebration, 7 - 9 pm


Take care,


Jim Marcotte



Posted by jmarcotte  On May 05, 2022 at 4:43 PM
  
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