The November landscape features visible structures: as deciduous trees shed their leaves, the basic structure of each plant once again becomes readily visible—trunk, branch, twig—as colder weather approaches. There’s an elegance to autumnal trees, an opportunity to appreciate their lines and outlines rather than the colors and shapes and hues that foliage provides. This has me thinking about school-keeping structures and through-lines at Parker.
Parker’s program is distinguished by the systems and structures that provide school-wide consistency and continuity while, at the same time, allowing for personalization of the individual learner’s experience. One such structure is the Habits of Learning, which all students engage as part of their Personal Learning Plans (PLP’s) each year, and sometimes keep struggling to master throughout their Parker careers.
When I read these profiles of Parker alums in STEM fields, I’m struck by how often the Habits of Learning (HOL) are evoked and celebrated. Not by name, per se, but in reference. Here’s an example of INQUIRY from an alum’s reflections: “…On my arrival at Parker, in 2008, I was able to dive even deeper into my passion, building tornado machines and learning how to interpret meteorological diagrams for my gateway projects. However, it was my senior project that truly set me on the path I am on today…” (Ernst ’14). Or COLLABORATION: “…Regulatory Affairs is the group of people who are responsible for taking the science and research that goes into making a new drug and communicating it to the regulatory health authorities (like the FDA in the US). A good regulatory strategy can impact how quickly the drug is approved and can get to people who really need it…” (Sushchyk ’06). Or PERSEVERENCE: “…I went to work at a financial software startup, figuring that from there, I could either jump into hedge funds, software companies, or startups, depending on which aspect of the job I liked the most. Hated finance, liked software, loved startups. Left to found one with a college floormate. It flamed out, as many startups do…I must've tried out about 20 ideas over the next 6 years. They flamed out, as many startups do…” (Tang ’00).
This week’s topics:
- Search Committee Update
- Absences around Thanksgiving
- Safety Checks Thanksgiving Week
- Winter Sports Registration
- Ski & Snowboard Club
- European Cuisine Survey
- Our Essential Commitment Fund
- 2022 Calendar Orders
- TOYS for TOTS
- Dental Care
- Public School Monitoring Visit
- Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker
- COVID-19 Safety Checks
- Health Office COVID-19 Information
Search Committee Update
We are writing today to update the Parker Community on the School Leader Search process. The Search Committee has finalized what is called an “Opportunity Statement” – basically, the initial job posting that is now being distributed locally and nationally. The first 12 pages contain informational material about Parker (a summary of public info that is already available on the school website). The final two pages contain the actual Opportunity Statement and details about how someone can apply. You can access that document here if you are interested in viewing it. Your chance to participate in the search process at this time is to share the posting with individuals or professional networks who might help us build a robust applicant pool; please feel authorized to share the document/link as you see fit.
As a Search Committee, our next steps are related to screening the applicants who express interest and creating a group of individuals who will advance to the next round. We anticipate that this phase of the process will last for the next several months. As a community member, your next opportunity to directly participate in the search process will come when finalists are invited to campus (likely in early spring). Recall that the webpage with Search-related updates and information is always available to you here. From Deb Merriam and Glenn Penna, Search Committee Co-Chairs.
Absences Around Thanksgving
Is your student extending Thanksgiving break? Remember to contact the main office and let us know when your student(s) will be absent. The attendance line (978-772-3293, ext. 1) is available 24 hours a day.
Day Change for COVID-19 Safety Checks During Thanksgiving Week
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.
Winter Sports Registration
Last call for winter sports registration! The season begins on the Monday after Thanksgiving, so please register by this coming Monday, 11/22. Click here for details.
Ski & Snowboard Club
Registration is OPEN! Please click here for all the details.
Survey About European Cuisine
Current senior Courtney Harvey is studying European cuisine and its significance to those of European descent. Please complete the survey at this link to help her with her project.
Our Essential Commitment Fund
This week, as we get closer to Giving Tuesday (11/30), we received strong support from our ALUMNI! As of November 17th, we have received over $72,000 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.
Order 2022 Student Art Calendars by Dec 1st!
Are you looking for a unique holiday gift? What about Parker's 2022 Student Art Calendar? 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! Click here to order by December 1st!
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 11/12/21-11/19/21:
- Staff – 0
- Students – 0
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 11/12/21-11/19/21:
- # 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