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Family Information for September 17th

Family Information for September 17th

Parker Families,

Wednesday was a banner day—literally and figuratively—at Parker as all three divisions engaged in activities designed to build community within advisories and across each division. Division 1 spent the morning at Mirror Lake, where advisories built and raced cardboard boats, competing for bragging rights and temporary possession of the coveted "Trash Cup". Division 2 advisories competed in Field Day activities at P5 (across Jackson Rd from campus), while Division 3 advisories—who began the day with a potluck breakfast—created decorations, gifts, and a scavenger hunt for their “super-advisory buddies” in the other two divisions back on campus.  Recreation—playing and having fun together—is one of the four main purposes of the Advisory program at Parker.  And on Wednesday, the advisory-based mix of spirited competition, good humor, and community-minded altruism felt very much like the pre-pandemic Parker “vibe” and marked an emotional high point in this young school year.

On Monday and Friday this week we completed the 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 explored and shared possible answers to the EQ and created sixty-second “pitch videos” to persuade their audience to care about a particular topic, issue, or challenge. Some examples of issues students chose in response to the “sixty second challenge” include human rights, global climate change, bullying, and mental health.

As mentioned last week, here are some of our goals for super-advisories early in the year and for the 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.

I look forward to seeing many parents and guardians at Back to School Night next week! Details about Back to School Night are a separate item in this week’s Friday Announcements.


This week’s topics:
  • Parker on the Air
  • Back to School Night
  • Parker 101 Parent/Guardian Orientation
  • Funding Priorities Survey
  • Picture Day
  • National Portfolio Day
  • Support Our Seniors
  • Community Connections Night
  • PLP Conferences
  • Meal Information
  • Pandemic EBT and SNAP Benefits
  • Parker Life Reminders
  • Tracking COVID-19 Numbers at Parker
  • COVID-19 Safety Checks
  • Health Office Reminders
  • COVID-19 Test and Stay

Parker on the Air!

Don't miss Todd and Parker Moderators Audrey, Yarrow, and Theo on The Business Buzz on WPKZ (105.3 FM or 1280 AM) next Thursday morning, 9/23, at 8:05 AM.

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Back to School Night on 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 always be under your supervision (e.g., they should not be wandering the halls).  Thank you!

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.

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Parker 101 on September 30th and October 5th

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 ( or Matt Smith ( 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
Funding Priorities for Interrupted Learning

We are reaching out for community feedback about how Parker might best use available federal funding to address interrupted learning for all students as a result of the COVID pandemic.  In this brief poll you will find three areas we have identified that will be supported over the next two years by these federal recovery funds; these three areas fall under pre-approved categories in the grant requirements.  Share your preferences now!

Take a brief poll about funding priorities

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Picture Day on October 1st

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

National Portfolio Day on October 2nd

Reminder to seniors and juniors considering art school or 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 or reach out to Cordelia at

Support Our Seniors Potluck: An invitation to the Class of 2022 and their families! [Wednesday, October 6th, 5:30-7:00 PM in the Auditorium]

Seniors and their families are invited to join in conversation around the expectations, excitement, and challenges of the year ahead. Senior Seminar teachers/advisors will provide an overview of the senior year, Senior Project, and the graduation requirements along with this year’s installment of “Dear Diary”—a not-to-be-missed crowd favorite! Please bring a dish to share!

Community Connections Night: An invitation to all Parker families, alumni, faculty, and friends! [Wednesday, October 6th from 7:00-8:15 PM in the Gym]

We invite all members of the Parker community to meet with the Class of 2022 and learn about their Senior Projects! We hope you will offer suggestions for…

  • resources they should access
  • people/organizations with whom they might collaborate
  • experiential opportunities they could pursue
  • product ideas they might consider.

Students will be declaring their areas of interest the week of Sept 27 so look to future Friday newsletters for the incredible range of topics they will pursue this year.

Thanks, The Senior Seminar Teachers/Advisors: JohnBo, Ryan, Henry, Debbie, Sue and Diane.

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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!

Meal Information

MENU CHANGE for Monday, September 20, is to Chicken Patty on a Bulky Roll.

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. 

From the Parker Cafeteria re: Pandemic EBT and SNAP Benefits

As the new school year starts, families may have questions about the availability of P-EBT and school meals. P-EBT was temporarily created to replace meals during the pandemic while schools were closed to in-person learning. Based on federal rules, students attending school in-person are not eligible for P-EBT. Universal free school meals are available for all Massachusetts students this school year.  We have been asked to please advise families to keep their P-EBT card if they have one.  Many families that were eligible for P-EBT may be eligible for SNAP benefits. Families can find information and apply at

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.
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.  The following are positive cases in the Parker community from 9/8/21-9/17/21:

  • 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 9/8/21-9/17/21:
  • # of pools = 42
  • # of NEGATIVE pools = 40
  • # of POSITIVE pools = 0
  • # of INCONCLUSIVE pools = 2 (individuals are being re-tested)
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

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
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

Sports Schedule

Upcoming Dates of Note:


SEP 23

Back to School Night


SEP 29

Division 1 Mt. Wachusett Field Trip


SEP 30

Parker 101



School Picture Day



ECO Meeting



Parker 101



Support Our Seniors



Community Connections Night


OCT 15

PLP Conferences (No Classes)

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


your family’s or student’s health


mental health/emotional support needs


food insecurity/free and reduced school lunch needs


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