Skip to Content
  Now accepting applications for students entering grades 7-9! Application deadline is February 1, 2022. MORE
Now accepting applications for students entering grades 7-9! Application deadline is February 1, 2022.

Family Information for December 3rd

Family Information for December 3rd
Parker Families,

“As individuals, (teachers) can model.  So too can a school, by its collective signals and its tangible priorities, “model” what is worthy and what is not.”  With that epigram from Ted and Nancy Sizer I could go in any one of a number of directions in talking about Parker:  modeling inquiry and intellectual vigor; modeling tolerance and respect; modeling creativity and collaboration; modeling trust and decency.  Today, though, I want to talk about adult learning at Parker and how, through reflective professional practice, our school models authentic life-long learning for our students.

Parker teachers work in domain-based planning teams to design, deliver, and refine all aspects of the academic program.  As a school, we make choices about how classes are scheduled so that teachers have significant blocks of common planning time each week to do this work—a tangible priority that reflects our values.  These collective efforts—routine collaborative teamwork—are complemented by the regular reflection of individual teachers who gather each month (as we did this Wednesday) to support each other in critical friendship, taking turns presenting professional dilemmas, sharing student work, or tuning teacher work before launching it in the classroom.  The experience of critical friendship is part of the fabric of professional life at Parker and is completely consistent with how we ask students to learn each day:  think of it as “teacher-as-worker, critical-friends-as-coaches.”

Our Critical Friends Groups (CFG’s), which meet once per month, are unique groupings of the staff—cutting across divisions and domains and staff roles.  CFG is and has been a locus for race and equity-oriented professional development; CFG space also exists for dilemmas that have a less obvious focus on race and equity.  Knowing that I was writing on this topic this week, I asked the group I coached with Cordelia on Wednesday to share some thoughts about how and why they value CFG as part of their adult learning experience at Parker.  I’ll close with representative comments:  “CFG is a place where colleagues can share ideas, grapple with dilemmas, and collaborate to improve teacher practice and positively impact our community.”  “CFG opens my eyes to the different methods and approaches other subject areas use to help students learn and grow.”  “I value the chance to hear insights from colleagues who teach in other Domains.  They always broaden my perspective.”  “CFG is a breath of fresh air.  I love thinking deeply about my colleagues’ work.  Invariably it makes me think more about my own practice.”

This week’s topics:
  • December at Parker
  • Ski & Snowboard Update
  • Enrollment is Open – Siblings Apply Now!
  • ECO Meeting
  • Division 1 & 2 Wellness
  • Our Essential Commitment Fund
  • Notice to Families of 12th Grade Students
  • Fall Show Tickets on Sale
  • 2022 Calendar Orders
  • TOYS for TOTS
  • Dental Care
  • Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker
  • COVID-19 Safety Checks
  • Health Office COVID-19 Information

December at Parker: From Todd

Parker teachers are eager to make December as productive and positive a month as possible for our students, some of whom have January gateways in view, college applications due, or other work products that need to be completed before the winter break. While their individual circumstances and stressors vary, all our students are coming to school amid the seasonal swirl of cultural expectations and celebrations associated with December holidays. The faculty plans to “manage the fun” of December to ensure a non-sectarian, safe, and purposeful school environment throughout the month. Several teachers asked me to write a Friday announcement that summarizes the Commonwealth’s ethics regulations on gift giving and acceptance for public employees, which I have done after consulting similar letters from other school districts and the Ethics Commission website:

Gifts where the combined value is $50 or more may not be accepted. Whether gifts are given for the holidays, end of year, or other occasion, a public school employee may not accept a gift or gifts from a current student or a parent over the course of an entire year (365 days) with the combined value of $50 or more.

Gifts which have a value of under $50 are permitted under the law but may be subject to reporting to the State Ethics Commission on a disclosure form. When Parker staff take the mandatory ethics training, they learn about the difference between an actual conflict of interest and the appearance of a conflict of interest. Regulations requiring disclosure of gifts valued at less than $50 are intended to guard against even the appearance of a conflict of interest. A teacher accepting a gift of less than $50 from a current student/parent, according to the amended regulations, may create the appearance of a conflict of interest, and therefore a disclosure must be filed. Generally, any item of monetary value gifted during the year, including the holiday period, is subject to disclosure because the teacher is still in the role of performing duties for the student/parent.

A teacher may accept a gift to the classroom that is to be used for the class and it will become the property of the school district and not the property of the teacher. Gifts from individual students, parents, classes, or other groups and entities are allowed as long as the gift is to the school. These gifts are not subject to disclosure. Parker will maintain a record of the gift. Such gifts must be in accordance with Parker’s policies.

Ski & Snowboard Club Update

Wachusett Mountain has "sold out" of season passes, so joining Ski & Snowboard Club is a great way for families to buy in at a group rate. Parents and siblings (Grade 3 and up) are eligible to sign up through the Parker link. Also, if a student already has a pass but wants to be part of the club, they can indicate during the registration process that they already have a pass and will still be included in our group and count towards our numbers for chaperone purposes. Click here for more information and registration instructions. Email Kristen at with questions.

Enrollment is Open - Siblings Apply Now!

Parker is currently accepting applications for students entering grades 7 through 9. If you are interested in the Parker School for the 2022-2023 school year, you MUST complete an application and return it to Parker no later than February 1, 2022 (this includes siblings of current students). You may visit the website to complete an application online. It is your responsibility to verify that we are in receipt of your completed application. You are welcome to call our front office prior to February 1, 2022, to make sure it has been received. A completed application will include you in the lottery.

ECO Meeting

The next ECO meeting is scheduled virtually on Tuesday, December 7th, from 6-7 PM. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Click here for the meeting link.

Division 1&2 Wellness: From the Parker Wellness Team

In the week or two following Thanksgiving break, Health classes will have a lesson on intuitive eating vs. disordered eating vs. eating disorders. This can be a sensitive topic for many teenagers, so the Wellness team is working closely with our school counselor (Sheila) to design a lesson that is best suited to the majority of our students and also addresses the MA Framework that the lesson is built around:

Identify the behaviors and avenues of support for young people with disordered eating, behaviors, or eating disorders.

If you would like to review the lesson yourself, please email your student's Wellness teacher for a copy. We are asking for your support as well for your student - if you suspect that this lesson may cause harm in any way, please reach out to their Wellness teacher so we can work to come up with an individual plan. Thank you for your support and advocacy!

Our Essential Commitment Fund

Earlier this week, on GivingTuesday, Parker's Alumni stepped up and showed their dedication to Parker! One alumnus said that she gave because she "needs to know future generations will get the same amazing opportunities that she did while at Parker." We are grateful for her and other's generosity.  If you would like to join our alumni in showing support, you can make your 2021-2022 donation by clicking here.

As of December 2nd, we have received over $88,000 from our Board of Trustees, staff, current families, ALUMNI, parents of graduates, and friends of Parker. THANK YOU!! For more information, click here.

Notice for Families of 12th Grade Students - Life After Parker (LAP)

All LAP classes will begin talking about sexuality, relationships, consent, birth control and protection methods and sexually transmitted infections, starting on Monday, December 7th, 9th, 14th and 16th.  Per Massachusetts General Law, parent(s)/guardian(s) are entitled to copies of our curriculum and can choose to have their child “opt-out” of part or all of the sexuality unit.  If you would like to have your child opt out of all or part of this unit, or you have questions about the content we will be covering, please email or

Francis W Parker Charter Essential School Presents:


December 16 - 18, 2021

7:00 PM in the Parker Cafeteria

Tickets - $10
Deluxe Tickets - $12

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

Graphic for fall play - brick wall surrounded by ivy and covered by an inverted red heart with three swords - much ado about nothing.

Last Call for Calendar Orders!

Click here by December 7th to order a fabulous 2022 wall calendar featuring student artwork! Calendars will be available for pick up by December 16th. Proceeds support Our Essential Commitment Fund. Shown below is an image that will be in the calendar. Don’t miss out and order your calendar now!

line drawing of students in class

marine toys for tots bear with logo
TOYS for TOTS until December 10th
Some have lots, some have not. Donate now to TOYS for TOTS!

Toys for Tots, a 70-year national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides happiness and hope to less fortunate children during each holiday season. The toys, books and other gifts collected and distributed by Marines and volunteers offer these children recognition, confidence and a positive memory for a lifetime. It is believed that such experiences help disadvantaged children to become responsible citizens and caring members of their community.

Help Parker support this great cause by dropping off new, unwrapped toys in the TOYS for TOTS donation bin located in the Front Lobby of our school until December 10th. Please help our effort to bring a ray of holiday joy to a child in need. THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! For more information, visit

Dental Care at Parker (Caring for Kids)

Reminder students have an opportunity to receive dental care right here at Parker School through Caring for Kids. Please read about Caring for Kids HERE and complete the documents by clicking HERE and return to Nurse Lisa. The consent can be completed on the Health Portal as well. The dental program provides dental examination, X-rays, fluoride treatment, sealants, and teeth cleaning. There is no direct cost to the patient. However, if the child has insurance, the insurance will be billed. If you have any questions, please email Lisa Zick at

Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker

Positive COVID-19 cases in the Parker community are reported to the Department of Secondary and Elementary Education (DESE) and to the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health, which is our local board of health.  The following are positive cases in the Parker community from 11/19/21-12/3/21:

  • Staff – 2
  • Students – 2

If there is a positive case on campus, all close contacts will be contacted immediately by Lisa Zick, School Nurse.

COVID-19 Safety Checks

Participating individuals are tested individually once a week with a nasal swab test.  Each person does a shallow swab of their own nose by rotating three (3) times inside each nostril.  A maximum of 10 swabs are mixed together into a group called a "pool" and sent out to a lab for a molecular PCR test and tested for COVID-19 at one time.

  • If the pool test comes back negative, all staff/students in the pool are COVID-negative.  In this case, you will not hear from us.
  • If the pool test comes back positive, it means that at least one person in the pool is COVID-positive.  In this case, all members of that pool will come back to school as soon as possible for an individual rapid follow-up test with the school nurse.
  • On occasion, a pool will be resulted as inconclusive which may be due to lab error or too much mucous in the tube.  In this case, Nurse Lisa will retest staff/students who were in that "inconclusive" pool.
Pooled Test Results from 11/19/21-12/3/21:
  • # of pools = 39
  • # of NEGATIVE pools = 38
  • # of POSITIVE pools = 1
  • # of INCONCLUSIVE pools = 0
Health Office COVID-19 Information

Reminder to please call or email the school nurse if any family member tests positive for COVID-19 or is a close contact to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.  Lisa Zick can be reached at 978-772-3293 x135 or

Reminder that students should not come to school if:

  • the student is sick, even if they don’t have a fever. Reach out to Nurse Lisa with questions
  • the student or a family member living in the same household presents with COVID-19 symptoms
  • a student has been exposed to COVID-19 (close contact outside of the school setting which does not include close contacts at school) and is in quarantine, regardless of a negative test result
  • a family member has been exposed to COVID-19 (close contact) and is unable to isolate from the rest of the family, regardless of a negative test result
  • a family member/student is AWAITING RESULTS of a COVID-19 test

Below is the full list of COVID-19 symptoms to monitor for:

  • Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills or shaking chills
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
  • Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms
  • Headache when in combination with other symptoms
  • Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms

An individual experiencing a symptom in bold (above) should get a PCR test and quarantine.  If an individual has other symptoms on this list, getting a PCR test is recommended especially if the individual has a combination of symptoms on the list.  Please stay home while waiting for test results.

Note:  Fully vaccinated individuals are testing positive for COVID-19.  Many are presenting with symptoms, but some are asymptomatic.

Close Contacts - Fully vaccinated and asymptomatic

Based on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health protocols, students who are fully vaccinated and are asymptomatic, do not have to quarantine or test but must continue to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

Close Contacts - NOT fully vaccinated and asymptomatic - Can do Test & Stay

  • Must be symptom free
  • NOT fully vaccinated
  • Wear masks in school at all times, other than eating or drinking, and should maintain 3 feet of distance from other individuals
  • Take a rapid antigen test (BinaxNow) on each school day for 7 days from last exposure and receive a negative result.  When the 7 days from the date of exposure includes weekends or holidays, individuals should quarantine on weekends, and if they remain asymptomatic, upon return to school be tested immediately.  If the individual remains negative, they can stay in school
  • Conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 14, and self-isolate at home if symptoms develop
  • Must quarantine outside of school per the Board of Health

Sports Schedule

Upcoming Dates of Note:



ECO Meeting


DEC 10

Divisions 2 & 3 Dance


DEC 14

Board of Trustees


DEC 16

Fall Show


DEC 17

Fall Show


DEC 18

Fall Show

Click here for the Online Calendar

Looking for help with or information concerning:

Please contact:

a specific class or assignment

the teacher of that class (see Parker email list)

technical support


your family’s or student’s health


mental health/emotional support needs


food insecurity/free and reduced school lunch needs


FindUsOn_Header_2019.png NicePng_black-and-white-instagram_874192.png
PlusPortals Sign In

Can't access your account?