On Thursday and Friday this week we ended the day with the first two installments of a four-part Community Conversation focused on this year’s Essential Question (EQ), “Why Should We Care?” In “super-advisory” groups—one advisory from each division—students began exploring and sharing possible answers to the EQ as well as issues or challenges about which one might care. Next week, in the second pair of Community Conversations, student will be making sixty-second “pitch videos” to persuade their audience to care about a particular topic, issue, or challenge.
Community Conversation is one of the four main purposes of Advisory at Parker, and one of the powerful tools we have for shaping school culture and climate over time. Accordingly, most Community Conversations in a school year take place in a group of 12-15 community members—the size of a typical advisory. Here are some of our goals for super-advisories early in the year for a school-wide Community Conversation about “Why Should We Care?”:
- engage in community conversation and make these conversations part of our regular operation;
- model democratic practices – 10th Common Principle;
- increase student voice, ownership, and leadership;
- increase interaction among Divisions;
- use this year’s EQ to think about the upcoming year both individually and as a school.
In next week’s Friday Announcements, we can share some examples of how students responded to the “sixty-second challenge” in their pitch videos!
This week’s topics:
- Back to School Night
- National Portfolio Day
- Picture Day
- Parker 101 Parent/Guardian Orientation
- PLP Conferences
- Meal Information
- Parker Life Reminders
- Drop-off and Pick-up
- Event Parking Reminder
- Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker
- COVID-19 Safety Checks
- Health Office Reminders
- COVID-19 Test and Stay
Back to School Night is Thursday, September 23rd
6:00—6:15: ECO and Parker PAC Drop-In
- Parker PAC (Parent Advisory Council): Meet in Room 6.
- ECO (Essential Community Organization): Meet in Lobby.
6:15—6:45: Divisional Information Sessions
- Div 1: Introduction to Division 1 (meet in the Gym).
- Div 2: Introduction to Division 2 (meet in the Auditorium).
- Div 3: Program and Graduation Requirements for Division 3 (meet in Room 48).
7:00—9:00: Visit your students’ classes and meet their teachers!
Parents/Guardians will receive their schedule for the evening at 7:00 PM in their child's advisory room.
Please Note: This event is for parents/guardians—not for students. We ask students to stay at home. If your child or children must join you, they must be always under your supervision (e.g., they should not be wandering the halls). Thank you!
National Portfolio Day
Are you a senior or junior considering art school? Perhaps you are considering submitting a supplemental portfolio with your applications to liberal arts schools? Come to National Portfolio Day in Lowell, MA on Saturday October 2nd to get feedback on your portfolio. Admissions counselors from all over the country will be gathered to review your work and give personalized feedback. Whether you have a dream school you want to connect with or you are toying with the possibility of an art-related minor, this is a great way to get an idea of what art schools and art programs are looking for as you navigate the college application process. You can find more details at nationalportfolioday.org or reach out to Cordelia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture Day a Whole New Way
Picture Day is currently scheduled for Friday, October 1st. JostensPIX will be our vendor this year, and they plan to make the experience easy:
- Just show up looking great – no forms to complete or money to bring
- Preview images and personalize products online
- Combine multiple children in one order
- Prints shipped directly home
Parker 101 Orientation in September and October for Parents/Guardians
Please join us for an orientation to Parker especially for parents/guardians who are new or relatively new to the school. These are intended to be companion sessions; you are welcome to attend just one, though we hope you can join us at both. While we hope many folks will choose to join us in person, we will make a link available to attend virtually as well. Please contact Deb Merriam (email@example.com) or Matt Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
- Part 1: Academics:
This session will focus primarily on the classroom experience and academic structures/expectations at Parker.
- Thursday, September 30th – 7:00-8:30 PM – Room 27
- Part 2: School Culture and Communication:
This session will focus on "everything else" about the school, including the advisory program, home-school communication, "discipline", extracurriculars & athletics, food programs, library and technology, and other important family and cultural aspects of the Parker experience.
- Tuesday, October 5th - 7:00-8:30 PM – Room 27
PLP Conferences on October 15th
In the next few weeks, families should be hearing from their child's Advisors to set up a meeting time for PLP Conferences (Personal Learning Plans). This is a student/family/advisor conference – if you are new to Parker, your child’s advisor will send you an email with a longer introduction to the process! PLP Conferences are one of the traditions that help us to know our students well and support them in being at the center of their own education by setting their own goals for the year. For now, please make note of Friday, October 15th on your calendar, and we will be in touch in the near future with info about how to select a time slot on that day!
Parker is partnering with Mapledell Farm in Townsend in an eco-friendly landscaping project that will, among other things, reduce the amount of poison ivy and other invasive plants along the bank between the Outback and Antietam Street. In the coming days, Mapledell will create a temporary home for some of their goats using electrified fencing along the bank: the goats will eat plant species that they enjoy, drink water from a pail, and enjoy interacting with the Parker community.
Reminder Parker is providing free meals to all students under the USDA’s Child Nutrition Programs (Seamless Summer Option). Children enrolled at Parker are eligible for these free meals regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022. Additional information is available on the cafeteria page of our website. https://www.theparkerschool.org/students-parents/parker-cafeteria
Parker Life Reminders
- School Begins at 8:30 AM. Please plan to get your children to school by 8:25 AM so they may be present in their advisories by 8:30 AM.
- Calling in Late Arrivals, Absences, or Early Dismissals: School attendance is taken, and records are reviewed daily. Parents/Guardians must notify the school daily of any change in attendance. Please let the office know of an absence before school starts. The Attendance Line is available 24 hours a day [978-772-3293 x1]. In the case of a prolonged absence, the student’s parents/guardians should notify the principal or designee in a timely manner. It is not appropriate for a student to call themselves in late or absent. Parents are notified when their child is not present, and the school has not received any prior notification regarding the absence. Teachers take attendance in every class and notify the school office if any student is missing.
Drop-Off and Pick-Up Norms
The following practices will help reduce congestion and make drop-off and pick-up times flow more smoothly:
- Only TURN RIGHT out of the parking lot during peak traffic times
- Consider an off-peak pickup time with your student: 3:45 instead of 3:30, for example
- Drop-off and Pick-up students on Antietam Street and have students use stairs to access school
- Use the lot at P-5 across Jackson Road as a “cell phone lot” to standby until your student is ready or have them walk to you there
Event Parking Reminder
During school events, our on-campus parking is insufficient for our whole school community. Please remember and join in our community norms by parking in the Museum Lot (P-5), located across Jackson Road, and allowing guests with limited mobility to use the available spaces on campus. 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), but if the individual has not been on campus, he/she poses no risk to anyone on campus and the data point gets screened out. We will now include weekly numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in this Family Information email. The following are positive cases in the Parker community from 9/8/21:
- 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 9/8/21:
- # of pools = 30
- # of NEGATIVE pools = 29
- # of POSITIVE pools = 0
- # of INCONCLUSIVE pools = 1 (all individuals have been re-tested and were negative)
Health Office Reminders
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@example.com.
Reminder that students should not come to school if:
- 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
COVID-19 Test and Stay
Close contacts can remain in school and do not have to quarantine as long as they:
- Are asymptomatic
- 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 and receive a negative result. When the 7 days from 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
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