Grey Matters, March 9, 2020; Volume 8, Number 27 

Hi Everyone, 


It seems that there are quite a few among us in the New England area who are closely monitoring every breath that Tom Brady takes, whether his clothing on a certain day suggests his plans for next season, and making predictions about if the GOAT returns to the Patriots.  Count me as someone who is completely disinterested in that daily (and fruitless) exercise. Instead, you can include me in what I would speculate is the larger cohort of us who are paying attention to updates and analysis regarding the coronavirus and trying my best to sift through the countless stories that are emerging each hour, and making my best effort to discern what information is useful and what precautions are appropriate, versus what might be overly dramatized commentary or speculation.  And for the sake of my immediate health, I’ve stopped conducting a daily online check of my parents’ retirement investment accounts. As for how our school district is processing the mountains of information that keep arriving, I am grateful to Superintendent Light and Assistant Superintendent Bentley for their ongoing updates to the staff and community about the guidance we are receiving from state health and education agencies.  If you haven’t already, you can read their latest updates by going to this site on the District’s website, and also return to that site as the situation evolves.  I’m also appreciative of how their communication efforts continue to include explicit reminders about how coronavirus does not target specific populations, ethnicities or races, and the stigma that many Asian American families and communities are facing as it relates to beliefs and worries related to coronavirus.  On this note, Chinatowns across the country have faced a devastating economic impact over the past two months because of this stigma and I’ll be interested to see what the foot traffic is like in Boston’s Chinatown when I go there for my haircut next week.  For the past twenty-three years, the hair on my head has been cut by only one man who I’ve loyally followed from one salon to another throughout Chinatown. Now that he is retired, this gentleman cuts my hair in the little living room of his apartment across from the Chinatown YMCA.  I actually wrote a short memoir piece about the relationship I have with this barber, my own identity development as an Asian American through the story of my hair, and bringing my oldest son to eat dim sum before many of my haircut appointments. The details are best saved for another Grey Matters, but suffice it to say that my own feeling of connection to Chinatown has strengthened over the course of my lifetime. To be sure, my visits to Chinatown with my family in the 1980s were filled with much more trepidation than any fear that some might feel I should be feeling about my visit next week given that visiting Chinatown in the 80s would often require us to walk through the (now non-existent) Combat Zone and the many adult entertainment stores and their neon signs that left little to the imagination.  For those at RJ Grey who marvel at how fast my normal walking stride is in the hallways, you can attribute some of that to the many childhood visits to Chinatown that developed in me a natural propensity for speed walking.  


Below are useful updates regarding Spring sports, reminders about High School course registration for 8th grade students, and a brief preview of this Spring’s MCAS calendar.  

The Winter Trimester ended last Friday, and grades will be entered this week, and 
Winter Trimester report cards are scheduled to be emailed to families on or around March 18th.  Please remember that report cards will be sent to all email addresses listed on a student’s Emergency Card.  

Our
tryout and meeting schedule for Spring interscholastic sports - baseball, softball, and girls volleyball has now been set, and can be viewed below.   Students interested in the Spring Track program should plan to attend a meeting on Monday, March 30 at 2:55pm in the Junior High auditorium.  At this meeting the coaches will provide an overview of the season, distribute important paperwork, and review expectations attached to the two levels of participation that I outlined in last week’s Grey Matters.  Please remember that families must register on FamilyID for EVERY SEASON that their student plans to participate in a sport. If your child already participated in a Fall or Winter sport and wishes to participate in a Spring sport, they must still register for their Spring sport on FamilyID. Additionally, all payments for spring athletic fees must be paid by CHECK and submitted to the team coach. The Athletics Department  will not be accepting electronic payments during the spring season due to technical difficulties. All information related to Athletics can be found on our school website here


Sport

Tryout Dates

Times

Location

Volleyball

3/25, 3/26, 3/27

2:45 - 4:30

Meet in the gym dressed to play.

Baseball

3/30, 3/31, 4/1, 4/2, 4/3

2:45 - 4:30

Meet in the gym lobby dressed to play.

Softball

4/1, 4/3

2:45 - 4:30

Meet in the gym lobby dressed to play.

Track & Field

Mandatory Intro Meeting: 3/30

2:55 - 4:00

JH Auditorium


A final and important reminder that the R.J. Grey Junior High yearbook is offering you the chance to send your love, pride and congratulations to the graduating 8th grade R.J. Grey student in your life.  You can purchase one of two advertisement formats to relay a message that your 8th grade student will cherish forever. Ads must be submitted by this Wednesday, March 11. Please click the link for submissions guidelines and instructions. Please contact Marc Lewis (mlewis@abschools.org) with any questions.  


I mentioned last week that on Thursday, March 19 the portal for current 8th grade students to register for high school courses will be open. Before that time, students will have met with their current teachers to discuss course recommendations for next year.  As you prepare to work with your 8th grade student on his/her/their choices for next year, please be sure to review the materials that have been made available to you and them.  Families should review all of the following documents: (1) the High School Program of Studies, which includes details about course requirements and guidelines; (2) the list of 9th grade electives for 2020-2021; and (3) directions for electronic course selections.  I would strongly recommend that all 8th grade families review the entirety of the directions - there is information about the process for override requests that must be followed should you wish to pursue that route. Please note that families who might need assistance with accessing the portal should use the high school contact information that is listed at the top of the instruction sheet.  

Finally, assuming that we don’t get any surprise snowstorms in April, we begin our MCAS testing this year on Tuesday, April 7.  Last year both 7th and 8th grade MCAS assessments were computer-based.  Rest assured that we will again be providing our students in both grades some training on how to engage with the computer-based testing platform prior to April 8.  When we get closer to the MCAS testing dates, I will be sharing more information about how we organize the testing days (and constant reminders to make sure your kids eat a good breakfast), along with some thoughts about the role MCAS should, and shouldn't, play in the academic lives of our students.  In the meantime, here is a link to the MCAS schedule for the Junior High.   If your child is absent for one of his/her testing dates, there are a number of make-up dates that we have already scheduled, and we will coordinate those make-ups with students. 


Have a great week, everyone. 


Cheers, 

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Posted by ashen On 08 March, 2020 at 1:23 PM  

 
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