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Family Information for October 22nd

Family Information for October 22nd
Parker Families,

All public schools raise money each year.  This Friday letter is longer than usual because it seeks to explain how charter public schools are funded and provides context for the annual appeal for voluntary support you’ll be receiving in the coming weeks. Here’s the gist: charter public schools are chronically underfunded when compared with traditional districts; we will use your voluntary gifts to Parker—Our Essential Commitment Fund—to support teacher salaries, student learning, and annual facilities costs.

—Todd

Parker opened its doors in 1995 as a member of the initial cohort of Commonwealth Charter Schools authorized under the Education Reform Act of 1993.  There are now over seventy Commonwealth Charter Schools in Massachusetts, enrolling over 50,000 students each year!

While each Commonwealth charter public school has a unique mission—expressed in its charter and a basis for ongoing accountability—all are funded in the same way.  When students enroll in a charter public school, the funds earmarked for their education each year “follows them” to the charter school from their home districts.  Because of the way district budgets are created statewide, the actual amount (the per-pupil revenue or PPR) following the student to a charter school may vary significantly.  As a regional charter school, over seventy cities and towns in central Massachusetts are eligible to send students to Parker and in any given year over forty of them do so:  the tuition (PPR) following any one student at Parker ranges from $11,270 to $19,958 this year.  The average PPR at Parker this year is $14,969.

On the surface, it appears that Massachusetts traditional district public schools and charter public schools receive more or less the same funding each year.  However, traditional district schools receive state subsidies of 50 to 80 percent of the total costs of their buildings; charter public schools must finance their own facilities.  The state does help out by contributing $938 per charter school student annually, but facilities aid to traditional districts—big chunks of cash dropped into the system every twenty years or so when a building project takes place—when spread out over the lifetime of the facility amounts to a significant funding advantage for traditional districts.  Our advocacy organization—the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association (MCPSA)—continues to press for changes in charter school facilities aid to reduce the facilities burden.

Parker’s current budget (see graphic) reflects Essential School priorities, with the lion’s share devoted to salaries and benefits.

FY22 Budget Expense Allocation.png

Your contributions to Our Essential Commitment Fund, referenced above, directly benefit and inspire our community by providing the funds we need to support the quality teaching and learning that occurs at Parker.  Your generosity and care make a difference for Parker’s students and staff; your gift is an affirmation of a Parker School education!

This week’s topics:
  • Principal Search Input Opportunities
  • Ski Club Coordinator Needed
  • STEM Week Alumni Highlights
  • Teacher Appreciation
  • Café Wednesday
  • Information Sessions
  • Does Parker Have a Dress Code?
  • Volunteer Needed for Lost & Found Pickup
  • ECO Meeting
  • School Photo Retakes
  • Last Call for Student Artwork
  • Last Call for Division 1 Community Conversation
  • Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker
  • COVID-19 Safety Checks
  • Health Office COVID-19 Information

Principal Search Input Opportunities

There are currently two ways to contribute your voice to the Principal Search process:

  1. Reminder that a survey has been open this week to parents/families (as well as students and faculty) for their input on qualities desired in our next school leader.  That survey is only open through TODAY (10/22).  If you have not yet had a chance to do it and want to, please do so right away.  Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VQ3V93R
  2. The Search Consultants that were hired to assist Parker with this process will be talking with members of the Parker community next week to gather information from our community to inform priorities in our search process.  As a parent/guardian, if you would like to talk with those Search consultants, you have two opportunities to do so next week.
  • Monday, October 25, IN PERSON, 3:30-4:15pm, at Parker.  Please RSVP to Monique (mbeganski@theparkerschoool.org) so we can reserve the properly sized room for the number of folks who plan to attend.
  • Tuesday, October 26, VIRTUAL, 7pm – link will be sent next week.
Coordinator Needed for Ski/Snowboard Club

Wachusett Mountain is again offering a program for school groups, and Parker needs a parent or guardian who is willing to coordinate Parker Ski Club for our students to participate.  You can learn more about the School Groups program at https://www.wachusett.com/Tickets-Passes/GPS-Club/School-Groups.aspx.  Please email Monique at mbeganski@theparkerschool.org if you are willing to coordinate this program.

Parker Alumni Highlights During Massachusetts STEM Week

This week, we have been using social media to highlight our alumni who are in a variety of STEM fields to celebrate Massachusetts STEM Week (October 18-22).  Here is a link to their inspiring stories to be enjoyed by a broader community audience.

Teacher Appreciation

Thank you to the Vause, Spirn, Vacca, Cataudella, Higgins, Piazza and Wheeler families for the treats they sent in for faculty over the last month.  ECO has organized this way for families to show their appreciation of Parker teachers by bringing treats to the school for them.  Please click here to learn more and sign up.

Café Wednesday

Introducing Café Spookay!  The first Café Wednesday of the school year! Come and enjoy the show, the spookiest night of the year!  Café Spookay will be from 6:30pm-8pm on Wednesday, October 27th in the Auditorium!  Email heather.falk@theparkerschool.org and/or natalie.rabinowitz@theparkerschool.org with questions!

Information Sessions

Enrollment Information sessions for families interested in applying for the lottery for next school year will begin next month.  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

Does Parker Have a Dress Code?

As with many schoolkeeping matters, Parker has a community standard but not a legislated code as such.  The standard, passed by the Justice Committee in 2006 and published in the Community Handbook (pg. 32), states that “…Community members are expected to use discretion…” when making choices about what to wear.  Here’s the full text of the policy:

Expectation of Decency Policy
Passed by the JC 3-15-06

If a member of the community believes that the behavior or appearance of another community member is offensive or distasteful, they have the right to bring a case to the JC. This includes public displays of affection, “skimpy clothing” and obscene messages on clothing. Community members are expected to use discretion.

Any community member has the right to respectfully disagree with another community member’s decision on whether their appearance is offensive or distasteful. Disagreements will be handled by the JC, in a case or mediation.

Volunteer Needed for Lost & Found Pickup

Parker is seeking a volunteer to periodically clear out and then donate items left behind in our lost & found closet. The volunteer would pick up items two to three times during the school year, and then do whatever is needed to prepare and donate items to the charity of their choice. Interested? Please email Cindy (cjohnson@theparkerschool.org) and she will be in touch!

Save the Date

The next ECO meeting is scheduled virtually on Tuesday, November 2nd, from 6-7 PM.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend.  Click here for the meeting link.

School Photo Retakes

Due to an equipment failure during setup, retakes were unable to occur on 10/21. The new date for retakes is Monday, November 1, from 8 AM to 1 PM in the lobby.

Last Call for Student Artwork

Last call to submit student artwork for consideration for the Parker Student Artist Calendar by NEXT Monday, October 25th. Submitted items will be reviewed by a jury of Parker faculty who will select images to be included in the calendar and will notify the students by November 1st if their submission was selected. For more information, see this flyer. Submit student artwork online here by October 25th. Contact Katrina, Cordelia, Marena or Sheila with any questions!

Last Call for Division 1 Community Conversations

Last call to Division 1 Parents 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 three sessions during the last week of October.


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 10/15/21-10/22/21:

  • 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 10/15/21-10/22/21:
  • # 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 lzick@theparkerschool.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

Sports Schedule


Upcoming Dates of Note:

Wed

OCT 27

Café Wednesday

Mon

NOV 1

School Photo Retakes

Tue

NOV 2

ECO Meeting

Tue

NOV 9

Board of Trustees

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: helpdesk@theparkerschool.org

your family’s or student’s health

email: lzick@theparkerschool.org

mental health/emotional support needs

email: skelly@theparkerschool.org

food insecurity/free and reduced school lunch needs

email: mmckenna@theparkerschool.org

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