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Family Information for January 21st

Family Information for January 21st
Parker Families,

Last Friday, the school gathered together in what we term “super-advisory” groupings–meaning three advisories together, one from each division–to engage in Community Conversation about the question of how one can, should, and shouldn’t engage one’s community via online mediums.  The conversations were facilitated by Division 3 students, who led small group table sessions.  Together, the table groups discussed fictionalized case studies of online conduct and explored the potential impact such scenarios can have on those involved, their friends and social circles, and their greater communities.

Touring the school last Friday afternoon, what I witnessed was consistent from room to room: our Division 3 students showed themselves to be leaders within their community, fostering thoughtful and meaningful conversation among their younger peers.  The Division 1 and 2 students, in turn, showed their abilities to listen and reason with open minds and generous hearts.

In The New American High School, Ted Sizer reminds us, “Learning must have a worthy purpose and become a habit.  A trip down this road starts with the questions ‘Why?’ ‘How?’ and ‘What?’–the major interrogatives of the English language.  A wise person asks these questions virtually without thinking; a wise teacher guides his students to acquire the habit of asking them.”  Do I think that, following last week’s conversation, everything will be easy for Parker students as they navigate digital community platforms?  No, I do not.  But in the face of this year’s Essential Question, “Why should we care?” I think the Community Conversation was indeed very fine and purposeful work, and I am proud of the students for engaging it the way they did.

On Tuesday, as I got into my car after school, a story was playing on NPR in which a social scientist was reflecting on the daunting list of tribulations inherent to growing up as a part of Generation Z: to be born in the wake of 9/11, to witness the economic degradation of the 2008 financial crisis, to grow up in a culture in which climate change and the resultant devastation of the planet has become a normalized discussion topic, to find one’s place in a politically and culturally polarized country, and to witness an historic pandemic as a coming-of-age experience.  It’s an incredible set of circumstances, and that list doesn’t even include what I spend so much time thinking about in my work: the ever-ubiquitous and nagging presence of cell phones and the internet in the lives of people who have no memories of a world without such things.  Listening to the speaker on the radio, I reflected that it's no wonder the word “anxiety” has felt so increasingly prevalent and routine in describing the experiences of teenagers today.

In the shadow of so many looming and immeasurable challenges, it’s easy, I think, to feel out of control of one’s life and of one’s self.  Last Friday’s Community Conversation, I hope, will serve as the launching point of a greater piece of work for our community this semester, one that helps the students and faculty locate positive and proactive growth within the reach of all.  I hope we will begin and continue to ask the important interrogatives that Ted reminds us about, like, What aspects of my life can I control, and what action does that inspire in me?  What can I do to make my life better?  How can I benefit from helping others and making my community stronger?  Why should we care?  The students remind us daily that they are up for the challenge of such questions, and they challenge us with the questions they articulate themselves.  It is easy to feel tired lately, but last Friday reminded me that, when we focus on the work we know to be truly essential, it is also easy to see good reasons to keep working.

Wishing you and yours a fine weekend,



This week’s topics:
  • Head of School Update
  • Yearbook Sale
  • Our Essential Commitment Fund
  • Don’t Miss the Application Deadline (February 1)!
  • Immigration Panelists
  • Employment Opportunity at Parker
  • Vaccine Booster Clinic
  • ECO Faculty Appreciation Event
  • Parent/Guardian Focus Group
  • DESE Site Visit February 10
  • Collecting Materials for Senior Project
  • Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker
  • Close Contact Tracing
  • If an Individual Tests Positive for COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Safety Checks
  • Health Office COVID-19 Information

Head of School Update

This week, we have been running “Head of School Factoids” in the Morning Announcements for students, and we thought parents/guardians might enjoy seeing the same history/context that students have seen.  Here they are:

  • Did you know that our new leader will be Parker’s 8th person (or pair) to serve as Head of School?  That makes Todd #7, of course.  Teri Schrader (yes, Henry’s mother!) was #5 – she was Head of School for about 10 years in the early 2000s.
  • Parker has changed its Head of School leadership model several times in its 27 year history.  In its first year, Parker did not have a Head of School at all!  Instead two people who had the jobs called Lead Teachers (what we now call “domain leaders” for what is now known as AH and MST) served as the school leaders.  There were only 12 teachers and 120 students that year so the job was different than it is now, and there were also a lot of volunteers who were doing a lot of the work that is now done by a wide variety of school employees.
  • Three people whose names you might know have served as Parker’s Head of School over the last 27 years.  Our very own Diane Kruse (current MST domain leader and Div 3 teacher) generously led Parker as the interim Principal in 2010-2011!  And, Ted and Nancy Sizer (whose ideas and books contain the foundational philosophies of our program) served as co-leaders of the school back in 1998-1999 – yes, that is before you were born!!!!).  Have you read any of their books?  You might be interested to see the roots of Parker’s program in their writing.  Consider reading Keeping School (about Parker’s early years) or Horace’s Compromise (the book that first launched the Common Principles)!
  • Generally speaking, the work of a Head of School falls into one of two categories: internally-focused or externally-focused.  As students, you witness a lot of the “internal” work – and it is important work!  When Todd greets you at the door in the morning or leads a Community Block or helps folks pick up their trash at lunch, these are important ways he builds relationships with you and models and supports a strong school culture.  Parker is definitely looking for a new Head of School who loves this internal work!  The “external” work of the Head of School is equally important, though it is less visible to students.  Whether it is working with Parker’s Board of Trustees, the Massachusetts Department of Education, our local politicians, financial donors, other local schools, or any other “outside” group, a Head of School also has a lot of external work to do!  The goal for any Head of School is to find balance in the “yin and yang” of the internal and external parts of the job.

Yearbook Discounted Price until January 31st

Yearbooks are available for order at the following link at a discounted price until January 31st. Hard cover books start at $55, soft cover books at $35, and Div1 books at $15. Prices will increase by $5 on February 1st.

Our Essential Commitment Fund

This week we send an extra thank you to the newest members of our community–the families of our 7th graders (class of 2027)! Over 50% of our newest families have given to the Fund to support their students' school, and as of January 20th, the Fund has received over $172,000! If you have not made your annual fund donation, you can join the families of the class of 2027 and do so by clicking here. Thank you!

Don't Miss the Application Deadline (February 1st)!

Parker is currently accepting applications for students entering grades 7 through 9. Siblings of current students planning to attend the Parker School for the 2022-2023 school year MUST complete an application and return it to Parker no later than February 1, 2022. Current students do not need to reapply. You are welcome to call our front office prior to February 1, 2022, to verify your application has been received. Click here to sign up for the final Information Session. The Lottery will be held on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at 4 PM. Send interested friends to for more information.

Request for Immigration Panelists

Every other year, Division 1 Arts and Humanities studies the history of immigration in the United States in response to the essential question “what stories are told and why”? Historically, one important experience that students have gotten to engage with has been attending a live panel with presenters who have experienced immigration or have been impacted by it. We will host this panel during the second week of February. We are looking for community members who are interested in the opportunity to speak on the panel or who know someone who might be interested. If interested, please reach out to Division 1 AH Teacher, Caroline Rodi at [email protected].

Employment Opportunity at Parker

Parker is seeking an individual to join our team in the position of Business Office Assistant.  Please refer interested individuals to the posting on this page.

Vaccine Booster Clinic on February 9th

We will host a vaccine booster clinic on Wednesday, February 9, from 2-5 PM at Parker.  All COVID-19 vaccine types will be available, and the clinic will be open to all greater than 5 years of age.

ECO (Essential Community Organization) Facutly Appreciation Event

Reminder ECO is sponsoring a Faculty and Staff Appreciation Event. The idea is simple - ECO is hoping to gift a book or bookstore gift card to every staff member. If you would like to participate, you will be assigned a staff member and given information on their book preferences. You would then purchase a book or gift card as a gift from the Parker community for that staff member and drop it off or have it mailed to Parker.  If you would like to participate or have questions, please complete this form. Thank you for being part of celebrating and appreciating Parker’s stellar staff.

Parent/Guardian Focus Group

On Thursday, February 10, 2022, Parker will host a one-day Core Criteria visit by staff from DESE’s Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign.  During the site visit, DESE staff will interview a focus group of parents/guardians of current students; the focus group will take place in-person.  If you would like to participate in this focus group activity, please complete this brief form by Friday, January 28.

DESE Site Visit on February 10th

Reminder on February 10, 2022, Parker will host a one-day Core Criteria visit by staff from DESE’s Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign.  You’ll be hearing more about this site visit in the weeks ahead.  Here is an overview of the site visit protocol, in DESE’s words:

“The Charter School Performance Criteria (Criteria) (attached) form the foundation of the site visit process. The Criteria expand upon and give definition to the three areas of charter school accountability: faithfulness to charter, academic performance, and organizational viability. During the site visit, the school is assessed on all or a subset of the performance indicators contained in the Criteria. The scope of this visit will include:


  • Criterion 1: Mission and Key Design Elements
  • Criterion 2: Access and Equity
  • Criterion 3: Compliance (if applicable)
  • Criterion 5: Student Performance
  • Key Indicator 6.2 Instruction
  • Key Indicator 6.4: Supports for All Learners
  • Criterion 9: Governance
  • Criterion 10: Finance

The product of the site visit will be a written report that will become part of the body of evidence for the school’s renewal.”

Here is a link to the Charter School Performance Criteria that “form the foundation” of the upcoming site visit: Charter School Performance Criteria

Collecting Materials for Senior Project

Yarrow Bercovici-Biotti is a senior currently working on her senior project about installation art. She is currently collecting materials for her product (an installation she is creating) and would greatly appreciate any recycled or unwanted materials you could give! Things that would be useful are:

  • Clean plastic containers
  • Pony beads
  • Wire
  • Clean aluminum cans
  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Paint and other unwanted craft materials

You can drop off any donations in the labeled bin in the lobby. Thanks so much!

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 1/14/22-1/21/22:

  • Staff – 2
  • Students – 12
Changes to Close Contact Tracing

Community members who test positive are asked to self-report to their close contacts.  If help is needed with contact information, please reach out to Monique or Nurse Lisa.


If an Individual Tests Positive for COVID-19


If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate for 5 days and can return to school if they are fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication and also have improving symptoms.  Upon return to school, the individual must wear their mask at all times for an additional 5 days and maintain physical distance of 3 feet at all times.

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.  If they present with symptoms, they should be tested via PCR or Rapid Antigen Test.  It is also recommended that all close contacts be tested 5 days after last exposure to the person who tested positive.

Close Contacts at School - NOT fully vaccinated and NO symptoms - 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 5 days from last exposure and receive a negative result.  When the 5 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
COVID-19 Safety Checks

Our COVID-19 Safety Check Sample Size has changed, and there are currently less swabs in each tube. Having fewer samples in each tube reduces the number of community members who have to be re-tested when a pool comes back from the lab with a positive or inconclusive result.

Pooled Test Results from 1/14/22-1/21/22:

  • # of pools = 119
  • # of NEGATIVE pools = 112
  • # of POSITIVE pools = 4
  • # of INCONCLUSIVE pools = 3
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 [email protected].

Reminder that students should not come to school if they are sick, even if they do not have a fever. Reach out to Nurse Lisa with questions.  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 contact their health care provider or local COVID-19 testing site to get a PCR test or Rapid Antigen test and quarantine.  If an individual has other symptoms on this list, getting a PCR test or Rapid Antigen test is recommended especially if the individual has a combination of symptoms on the list.  Please stay home while waiting for test results.

Sports Schedule

Upcoming Dates of Note:


JAN 22

Practice ACT


JAN 24

Faculty Planning – No Classes



Junior College Planning Night



10th Grade Biology MCAS



10th Grade Biology MCAS



10th Grade Biology MCAS

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

email: [email protected]

your family’s or student’s health

email: [email protected]

mental health/emotional support needs

email: [email protected]

food insecurity/free and reduced school lunch needs

email: [email protected]

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