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49 Antietam St, Devens, MA 01434    (978) 772-3293    (978) 772-3295

Summer Information

Family Information - September 25

Parker Families,

     Welcome!  After weeks of planning, we’re nearing the end of our first week of classes in our twenty-sixth year at Parker.  Teachers report high engagement and good energy in their remote classrooms!  You’ll see elsewhere in this week’s announcements some of the steps we’ve taken to smooth out some of the technology glitches—first week challenges that one would expect—and we’re looking forward to a second strong week starting on Monday.

     Thanks for making three days of Registration last week successful by lending pop-ups, asking your questions, and connecting with advisors.  Many advisors noted they really liked the opportunity to connect with each student and family before school started; this was not part of our pre-COVID routine but it may be an adjustment, thought to be temporary, that gets incorporated into our future routines.

     You’ll also see in this week’s announcements an overview of some community-tending steps we took this week to address some behavior on Instagram that was reported to school staff as inconsistent with our community norms and the general standards of trust and decency that are foundational at Parker.

This week’s topics:

  • Roll-out of 1:1 Devices
  • Decency, Kindness, and Trust in Social Media
  • ECO Invite
  • Supply List and School Materials
  • FAQs

Be safe and well,

Todd.

Roll-Out of 1:1 Devices and Continuous Improvement

We’re at the end of our first week of classes, enabled by 1:1 school-issued devices to support student learning and collaboration in the remote environment.  Lots of the tools are working fine, but not all:  that’s to be expected as we work through the launch phase of a new year, new devices, and new tools. (Almost all schools are dealing with some tech issues as the school year gets underway, and Parker is not unique in that way!)

Thanks to those of you who have raised your questions and let us know how the devices are functioning. Here are some themes or trends we’ve noticed at the Helpdesk and steps we’re taking in response:

  • While many updates can be pushed out from Parker’s IT department, some Windows updates—notably on the newest devices (HP Elite X2 1012 G1)—needed to be done manually this week.  On Thursday and Friday, advisors helped students install these updates and restart their devices.  We have a high level of confidence that these updates will address the bulk of the “ticket clusters” we’ve received this week.
  • Some families are experiencing issues acquiring internet service or have chronically unreliable internet service.  We have several solution options and just need families to inform us of the issue by using our internet access request form and we’ll work to resolve this with you.
  • The easiest and best way to contact Parker’s IT department is to use the icon on the student’s computer desktop to schedule a consultation/appointment to address issues the student is experiencing.  Please click that icon and schedule an appointment if you are experiencing tech issues!
  • We assume this is the “shakedown cruise” portion of the year and that if students and families continue to share with us the challenges they’re experiencing, we can smooth out the experience in a matter of days or weeks.  Your feedback is critical to our understanding the issues to be addressed (helpdesk@theparkerschool.org).
Decency, Kindness, and Trust in Social Media

This week, in response to multiple, separate reports from community members regarding an anonymous, private, and ongoing Instagram page,  Parker advisors initiated a conversation with their advisories about the power of social media to proliferate negative and sometimes hurtful gossip, jokes, and ideas.  In this case, some of the content of these pages feels in the spirit of good-natured humor.  It is also true, however, that over the summer, and continuing currently, content has been posted for all followers to see (and in the form of direct messages) that is clearly deliberately mean, humiliating, and hurtful.  We care deeply and are concerned about both the experiences of targeted individuals and the larger, pervading cultural tone such behavior fosters.  It is our hope that this conversation—about extending our commitments to decency, kindness, and trust to social media -can continue both in the (virtual) school setting and at home among families.

—Carter, Sheila, and Todd.

ECO Invite

Are you a parent interested in how you might get involved in supporting Parker and Parker teachers?  ECO, Parker's Essential Community Organization, is the parent organization with a mission of promoting community and supporting the school.  ECO's first meeting is Tuesday, October 27th 6-7:30 pm- for more information visit: https://www.theparkerschool.org/students/e/

Supply List and School Materials

Many families have asked us for a supply list and materials we expect that students would have from home.  This list will let you know about standard office supplies we assume students will have access to, as well as some specialized items we hope you can acquire for various classes.  Students had a chance to pick up some materials during Registration; if you think you missed that station or did not get a book/material bag for your class, please contact Monique Beganski (mbeganski@theparkerschool.org) to arrange to pick up materials.

FAQs

We are actively in the process of revamping the FAQ page to make it into a one-stop shop for your questions about this year’s academic program, tech tips and help, and other elements of the school year.  For now, if you have not visited the page recently, you can still click here to see more information about the school schedule for the fall and some other related questions.  In the days ahead, we will launch a more robust information center.


Looking for A Day in the Life of Maria? Click here to read about a sample Remote Plus day.


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