I used to go to school here!
Devens is a repurposed Army base, as you probably know, and the core of Parker’s facility was the elementary school when Fort Devens was open. Once in a while—and this tends to happen in the summer or fall—a car with out-of-state plates will pull up and the occupants—former Devens Elementary School students—will ask for a tour. I’ve always enjoyed these opportunities to accompany visitors on a trip down “memory lane” as we peer in classroom doorways and they note what’s similar and different. I also like Parker being part of the Fort Devens redevelopment story more generally.
A couple of weeks ago another former Devens Elementary student wrote me from Kentucky. He had visited Parker’s website after learning that there was a “new school” at 49 Antietam Street and had kind things to say about what he learned there about Parker’s program. He also shared some memories and perspectives that are of interest:
…Students at the Fort Devens Elementary School came from every state in the Union…One day I was in the second grade in my hometown of London, Kentucky, and then all of a sudden I find myself in the second grade at Fort Devens Elementary. Leaving life-long friends, not knowing if I would return or if my father would be transferred to another military post. This is how it was with all of us. We left friends, found ourselves in a new place to start over and begin anew and make new friends. (For me) the cycle repeated itself several times over…
This passage resonated with me for two reasons. First, I was struck by the fact that 49 Antietam Street has always required “leaving home” for students, “…a new place to start over and begin anew and make new friends…” For Parker students this doesn’t mean moving household, necessarily, but it does involve for students a leap into the unknown that requires courage and resolve and curiosity. I’m proud of our new students for taking that leap and of our returning students and staff for “catching them” as they land here.
The second reason is that yesterday was Veterans Day. My Kentucky correspondent followed in his father’s footsteps and retired after a thirty-year Army career. I’m thinking today of Parker alums, current or former staff, and parents of current or former students who are serving, or have served, in the military—whatever branch—and want to take this moment to say:
Thank you for your service.
This week’s topics:
- Monthly Course Comments
- Lawn Signs
- Winter Sports Registration
- Our Essential Commitment Fund
- Choices Program
- Health Screenings
- TOYS for TOTS
- Parker Spirit Week!
- Safety Checks Thanksgiving Week
- Division 1 Community Conversations
- Art Supply Donations
- Lost & Found Pickup
- Dental Care
- Information Sessions
- Student Directories
- 2022 Calendar Orders
- Weather Related Delays and Closings
- Attendance Line Reminders
- Public School Monitoring Visit
- Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker
- COVID-19 Safety Checks
- Health Office COVID-19 Information
Monthly Course Comments
We hope you saw the email that came home earlier this week with your student’s second Monthly Course Comments! Click here to see more information about how the school communicates with you about your student’s academic progress throughout the year.
Do you live on a well-traveled road? Are you willing to host a lawn sign until February 1? We need your help spreading the word about Parker to people in our sending towns during this current enrollment season. These signs are made of waterproof coated biodegradable paperboard and do not need to be returned. Please contact Monique at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help in this way.
Winter Sports Registration
The deadline is approaching for winter sports registration. The season begins on November 29th, so please register as soon as possible. Click here for details.
Our Essential Commitment Fund
This week, we received strong support from our newest Division 1 families! As of November 10th, we have received over $66,000 from our Board of Trustees, staff, current families, alumni, parents of graduates, and friends of Parker. For more information, click here. To make your 2021-2022 donation to support Parker, click here. We are grateful for your support.
Chief Kelly from the Devens Fire Department will be coming to Parker on Tuesday, November 16th at 3:45 PM (Location TBD). The Choices Program goes over consequences of using tobacco, alcohol drugs, inhalants, and drinking and driving. Please join us as Chief Kelly delivers this very important message to our Parker community. Email Nurse Lisa at email@example.com if you have questions.
Reminder as mandated by the State of Massachusetts, Nurse Lisa will be starting vision/hearing, height/weight screenings for all 7th and 10th grade students on Wednesday, November 17th during Wellness. Please email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org if you choose to opt your student out of screening.
TOYS for TOTS
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 beginning November 15th 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 www.toysfortots.org.
Parker Spirit Week!
Parker Spirit Week is Monday, November 15th to Friday, November 19th (optional participation)! Dress up to show your spirit:
- Monday, Nov. 15: Parker Spirit Day - Wear Parker merch or Parker colors!
- Tuesday, Nov. 16: Pajama Day - Wear your pajamas to school! Slippers and stuffed animals are encouraged!
- Wednesday, Nov. 17: Formal Friday (on a Wednesday) - This is up to your interpretation, wear any (semi)formal clothing. From the highest heels to the tallest top hat!
- Thursday, Nov. 18: Anything but a Backpack - Bring something to hold your school stuff (Nothing larger than a trash barrel, please)!
- Friday, Nov. 19: Neon Day - Wear the neon clothes you bought, wore once, and then shoved in the back of your closet. Wear neon shirts, pants, jackets, socks, hats, shoes, etc.!
Day Change for COVID-19 Safety Checks
During the week of Thanksgiving, the COVID-19 Safety Checks which usually occur on Wednesdays will take place on Monday, 11/22, instead. The change should allow us to receive pooled testing results before the students are released for the break.
Additional Division 1 Community Conversation Opportunities
In response to Division 1 survey results, we have scheduled two more sessions. Don't forget to register to join us for an in-person, sixty-minute Division 1 Community Conversation to:
- Build community
- Have fun
- Celebrate and explore our connection to Parker and its history
- Understand how financial support for Parker will ensure its continued success
Click here to register for one of two sessions next week.
Art Supply Donations
The Recycled Art Community Block is gratefully accepting donations of art materials to use in their creations. Desired supplies include acrylic paints, brushes, mod podge, scrapbook paper, beads (for the holiday season: red, white, gray/silver, gold, copper, etc.), glue sticks or strong glue such as E6000. Please drop-off donations to Monique in Room 33.
LOST & FOUND Pickup
The next clean-out of the LOST and FOUND will be on Friday, November 19th. Please stop by before that date to search for and claim any items belonging to you or your loved ones!
Dental Care at Parker (Caring for Kids)
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
- Fluoride treatment
- 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 email@example.com.
Reminder the enrollment Information sessions for families interested in applying for the lottery for next school are in process. Please share this link with others you know who might like to attend and learn more about Parker: https://www.theparkerschool.org/enrollment/information-sessions-dates-rsvp
Reminder a printed Student Directory can be purchased at the front office for $3. If you would prefer to have a directory mailed to you, you can send $5 to Parker School or pay $5 online via UniPay under Misc, Fees, Other.
Order 2022 Student Art Calendars by December 1st
Reminder to order your 2022 Parker Student Artwork Wall Calendar by December 1st using this link. All artwork is the creation of Parker students, and your purchase supports Parker Arts and Our Essential Commitment Fund. There are so many incredible pictures that will be included, and the calendars will be available for pick up by December 15th — just in time for the winter holiday season. We HOPE that our community will come together and purchase these very meaningful wall calendars to honor student work and raise funds for the school!
Weather Related Delays and Closings
Reminder when school is cancelled or delayed because of inclement weather, Parker uses an automated phone calling service, the school’s website and voicemail, and local media outlets to inform families of the closing or delay. Because Parkers students come from over forty cities and towns throughout Central Massachusetts, it’s important for Parker families to exercise independent critical judgement, based on observed local conditions, when deciding whether to travel to campus during inclement weather.
Attendance Line Reminders
- Will your student be ABSENT or LATE (arriving after 8:30 AM)? Please leave a message on the attendance line BEFORE 9 AM (978-772-3293, ext. 1 - available 24 hours a day). If it is after 9 AM, please call the main office (messages are not checked after 9 AM). Students are late if they are not in their advisory room at 8:30 AM, and then MUST sign-in at the main office.
- Picking up your student from school early or during the day? Please come in to sign them out at the office. This policy allows us to account for all students in event of a fire drill or other emergency.
- Going on a trip, extending a school break, or observing a religious holiday? Remember to contact the main office and let us know when your student(s) will be absent.
Public School Monitoring Visit
Reminder every three years the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 's Office of Public School Monitoring (PSM) visits each school district to monitor compliance with federal and state special education and civil rights regulations. During the week of November 29, 2021, PSM will be at Parker conducting observations and interviews as part of this process. For your information, the press releases, are linked here in English and Spanish.
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 11/5/21-11/12/21:
- Staff – 0
- Students – 1
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 11/5/21-11/12/21:
- # of pools = 40
- # of NEGATIVE pools = 40
- # of POSITIVE pools = 0
- # 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Upcoming Dates of Note:
Looking for help with or information concerning:
a specific class or assignment
the teacher of that class (see Parker email list)
your family’s or student’s health
mental health/emotional support needs
food insecurity/free and reduced school lunch needs