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  Apply now for the 2023-2024 School Year - Accepting applications for Grades 7-9! MORE
Apply now for the 2023-2024 School Year - Accepting applications for Grades 7-9!

Family Information for January 28th

Family Information for January 28th
Parker Families,

Congratulations to all students who presented their Gateway Exhibitions last week!  This year’s group of “midyear gatewayers,” like all Parker students, are moving through the program at their own pace, moving on to the next division when they’ve demonstrated readiness to do so.

The idea of moving at one’s own pace is foundational at Parker.  From the day the school opened in 1995, the Parker design emphasized knowing students well and coaching their intellectual development through deep exploration of cross-disciplinary “essential” questions.  “What if . . . ?” became the school’s early mantra—not least, to question prevailing assumptions about the lockstep patterns of promotion and advancement that had long dominated the educational landscape in 1995.

Instead, Parker teachers and leaders asked: “What if the academic program were to include common goals for all students, yet not assume a common rate of development? What if some students could move more quickly through the program, and others less quickly, without stigma? What if the program’s design were to accommodate such differences?”

The provisional answers to such questions eventually settled out—after multiple revisions—into the current structure of Parker’s academic program:

  • Performance-based promotion by public exhibition;
  • Opportunities more than once a year to “Gateway” (move up to the next Division) in a curricular Domain where the student shows readiness;
  • Multi-age, heterogeneously grouped classes;
  • A “looping” two-year curricular cycle in Math, Science, and Technology (MST) and Arts and Humanities (AH);
  • An elastic Division 3 design, allowing students one to three years before graduating.

Together, these structural features support Parker students as they move through our program at differing rates.  On average, 75 percent of our students move from one Division to the next at the two-year mark.  On average, 20 percent, at some point in their Parker career, need at least one more semester before demonstrating readiness to move on to the next level.  On average, 5 percent, at some point, move on to the next level a semester or two early.

The structural features of Parker’s academic program mark every student’s progress, no matter what its pace.  Yet they also serve as boundaries and buffers, which make discomfort bearable and risk-taking possible.  Like a well-made bridge, the program bears the weight of four hundred individual journeys.  That can happen because it holds a productive tension: the student potential that has not yet been realized, and the daily effort it takes to reach that potential.  As students make their way, they get reassuring signals that they will have the time they need to reach their goal.  At the same time, those signals tell learners that they must stretch with every step they take.

Time is not “of the essence” at Parker; instead, it is “essential”—pace, personalization, and performance go hand in hand.  Through conversation and coaching (and, occasionally, conflict), Parker educators help students embrace the obstacles and challenges they encounter on the way to becoming their best selves.  Congratulations to those students for whom the next challenge, taken up this week, is more complex work in a new division!



This week’s topics:
  • Four Days to Application Deadline
  • Yearbook Sale
  • MCAS Testing 10th Grade Bio
  • Our Essential Commitment Fund
  • Immigration Panelists
  • Employment Opportunity at Parker
  • Vaccine Booster Clinic
  • DESE Site Visit February 10
  • Extending Winter Break?
  • Collecting Materials for Senior Project
  • A Div One MST Thank You
  • Winter Driving Reminder
  • 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

Four Days to Application Deadline!

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. The Lottery will be held on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at 4 PM. Send interested friends to for more information.

Yearbook Discounted Price Until January 31st

Reminder 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. There are many optional items which can be declined, but there is a small fee charged for each book, so now is the best time to make your purchase!

MCAS Testing 10th Grade Biology

Students in the 10th Grade will take the MCAS Biology test on Wednesday AND Thursday, February 2nd & 3rd. [Students/families of these students recently received an email with more information.]  Please make every effort to have students in school and on time for these testing days.  Students should try hard NOT to stress, but good test taking strategies include getting a good night’s sleep and eating a good breakfast each day.  Electronics/internet enabled devices are NOT allowed in testing situations.  Students should be prepared to leave these at home or in their bags for the entirety of the testing periods.  Students who miss any of these testing days will need to make up the tests at a later time.  If you have any questions, please contact Deb Merriam ([email protected]).  All tests are untimed, and most students finish by late morning.  The MCAS Schedule for SPRING will be posted as the testing date gets nearer.

Our Essential Commitment Fund

As of January 28, Our Essential Commitment Fun has received over $173,000.  To join the effort, make your donation by clicking here.  EVERY DONATION MATTERS!!

Request for Immigration Panelists

Reminder Division 1 Arts and Humanities is looking for community members who have experienced immigration or have been impacted by it and are willing to speak on the panel before students during the second week of February. If you or someone you know might be interested, please reach out to Division 1 AH Teacher, Caroline Rodi at [email protected].

Employment Opportunity at Parker

Reminder 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

Reminder 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.

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

Planning an extended family trip during the WINTER BREAK?

Remember to LEAVE A MESSAGE on the ATTENDANCE LINE: 978-772-3293, x1 - available 24 hours a day. It is important you inform THE OFFICE that your child(ren) will miss additional days, even if you have let the teachers know.

Collecting Materials for Senior Project

Reminder 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!

A Div One MST Thank You

Thank you to the L’Bassi Family for donating pencils, tape and other MST supplies to Division One. You are very kind!

Winter Driving Reminder

Now that we are in the midst of winter and have the potential of snowbanks that narrow the driveways and parking lots at Parker, for the safety of all, please keep in mind the following student drop-off and pick-up norms: When entering Parker’s lot, please pickup or discharge passengers at the curb in front of the school. Please do not stop, idle, or discharge passengers along the “inner ring” (e.g. between curbside cars and the flagpole lawn). Please reduce driveway and parking lot speed even further during winter months. Thank you!

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 1/22/22-1/28/22:

  • Staff – 1
  • Students – 6
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 1/21/22-1/28/22:

  • # of pools = 117
  • # of NEGATIVE pools = 112
  • # of POSITIVE pools = 4
  • # of INCONCLUSIVE pools = 1
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:


Feb 1

Junior College Planning Night


Feb 2

10th Grade Biology MCAS


Feb 3

10th Grade Biology MCAS


Feb 4

Senior Fun Event


Feb 8

Enrollment Lottery


Feb 8

ECO Meeting


Feb 9

Vaccine Booster Clinic

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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