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49 Antietam St, Devens, MA 01434    (978) 772-3293    (978) 772-3295
Oct
9

Family Information for October 9th

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Dear Parker Families,

For months now, Parker has been building capacity to deliver high-quality, student-centered learning experiences in the COVID pandemic and remain true to our mission and deep practice.  In normal times, Parker classrooms are energetic, often noisy places as students collaborate in table-sized groups.  We want them to collaborate and co-create meaning during Remote Plus, too!  Teachers are working hard to master the technology and collaboration tools we’re using remotely to implement our go-to instructional moves, helping students construct knowledge and become more skillful over time.  When students are on the screen, the goal of synchronous classes is to foster collaboration and interaction – so we also are working hard to make sure that “screen time” doesn’t mean passive, “sitting and watching” time.  The goal is for teachers to plan dynamic and engaging experiences that allow students to think creatively and actively, connect with their peers, and use their minds well. 

It’s been a steep learning curve for everyone as we help students gain familiarity with these tech skills and tools and to build their stamina and comfort in the online environment, but three weeks into classes, we think we’ve smoothed out most of the technical glitches that were chronic in week one and have settled into some rhythms and routines in our remote programming.  Many students have mentioned breakout rooms as a favorite already, as they get to talk in small groups with each other (sometimes on topic and sometimes less so, but we believe the social interaction, even when off-topic, is important for them right now!)  This month, we will be adding some remote enrichment options (a fall theater production, Wednesday afternoon clubs/student government/affinity groups, Dungeons & Dragons, et al.) to the weekly schedule as well. 

Some students and parents/guardians are asking, “when can we come back to campus?”  At this time, our planning is focused on adding on-campus “plus” opportunities including:

  • Advisory activities;
  • “Opt-In” opportunities to do science labs, class simulations, office hours, or other learning activities that cannot be as effectively done in the remote setting (may be outdoors or indoors);
  • In-person learning for high needs and other eligible students (remote lessons/classes/activities accessed from school, with adult proctoring).

Please watch the Friday email and direct communication from teachers and advisors to learn more about these options as they are added to the mix between now and Thanksgiving. 

This week’s topics:
  • Quick Parent/Guardian and Student Check-in Surveys
  • PLPs are Coming!
  • Parker 101 for New Families
  • Wednesday Flex Activities
  • Poster Project
  • Parker Theater
  • Food Service Information
  • Call for Artwork
  • Alumni Spotlight
  • Attendance
  • FAQs
  • Student Emergency and Health Form
Be safe and well,
~Todd.

Quick Parent/Guardian and Student Check-in Surveys

Over the weekend, all students and parent/guardians will receive an email with a request to complete a quick check-in survey so we can gather some feedback from the community about how things are going so far.  We anticipate the survey will take under five minutes.  Please look for that email and take a few minutes to share your thoughts so that we get as wide a response as possible from our community.  The prompts will ask you to name one thing that is working and one challenge that you/your student is facing in the remote learning environment.  We know that for some of you, things are going quite well and for others, there have been many challenges.  We would like to hear from as many people as possible so that we can get an accurate sense of the community as a whole.  Thanks, in advance, for your time.


PLPs are coming!

PLP (Personal Learning Plan) Conferences will be on Friday, October 23 and Friday, October 30 this year.  (Each family will only attend once, but the conferences will be offered on two days.)  PLPs (which are student-parent/guardian-advisor conferences to set student goals for the year) will be held remotely, as a Teams meeting, in part to maximize flexibility and convenience for family schedules.  Next week, parents/guardians will receive more information about how to sign up for a PLP conference; for now, we are just hoping you can make note of this event on your calendar.  Synchronous classes will NOT happen on these two PLP days, as teachers will be in conferences all day.  Students should expect that they will have some asynchronous work to complete on PLP days.


Parker 101 (for new families)

Every year, we host a Parker 101 night, which is aimed at parents/guardians who are new to Parker (though anyone is welcome to attend).  The evening is dedicated to helping families better understand the Parker program (with a focus on academics and the assessment system).  This year, we will do Parker 101 on Tuesday, October 20 from 7-9pm (remotely).  More information, including a meeting link, will be sent to all Division One families and any new 9th grade families directly via email.


Wednesday Flex Activities

Starting next Wednesday, October 14, we are very excited to announce a slate of extracurricular offerings during Wednesday Flex hours! This will be an opportunity to meet new people, try new things, and get involved in the Parker community. Click on this link to see what is being offered and when. Please note in the menu that some activities will begin meeting on 10/14, and some will begin on 10/21. Please also note that some activities will happen during Flex Block 1 (1:00-1:40), and others will meet during Flex Block 2 (1:45-2:25). The meeting links will be available in the document at the link in time for activities on Wednesday. Email the adults listed next to each activity with questions!


"We Stand Together" PSA and Poster Project

Each year, Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth holds a poster/PSA contest with a guiding theme. Please see the following link for all rules, and contact Sheila Kelly (skelly@theparkerschool.org) if you plan to submit artwork. https://massachusettspartnershipsforyouth.com/about/psaposter-project


Parker Theater

The SHOW Must Go On!  Click here to learn more about Parker’s fall production and an informational meeting which will be held on Tuesday, October 13th.  All students are welcome, and any student who wants to participate will find a place!  Note: The link to Tuesday's meeting is in the weekly email sent to the community.


Updated Meal Service Info from the Cafeteria

We have additional information on food service this year at Parker and beyond. The USDA, through the extension of a summer meals program, has announced approval of a waiver that makes all students eligible for free meals. Meals will be available for all students ages 0-21 at no cost until at least December 30, 2020 or until it is no longer fiscally or legally possible. If you are in need, click here for information about meal service at Parker and other locations throughout the state.


Call for Student Artwork!

This year, in lieu of the Art Sale, we will be creating a 2021 wall calendar featuring student artwork.  Artwork submitted by students will be selected by a jury and included in the calendar which will be available for purchase before the new year.  For more information, see this flyer. Submit you artwork online here.  Contact Katrina (ktedstone@theparkerschool.org), Ashley (awood@theparkerschool.org), or Sheila (skelly@theparkerschool.org) with any questions.


Community Connections – Alumni Spotlight

Many thanks to Siobhán Bailey from Parker's class of 2013 for this Community Connections video.  Siobhán has been studying human centered design while finishing her master’s degree in Digital Design and Development in Cork, Ireland.  She reports that a lot of her work reminds her of her time at Parker.  "At Parker I learned the more we involve students in the design and delivering of their education, the better we can provide an educational experience that ensures they are able to learn well."  If you want to know more about Siobhán's field, email her at smbailey4291@gmail.com or visit www.chickadeedesignbysmb.com.


Attendance

Please be sure to leave a message on the attendance line BEFORE 9:00 AM [978-772-3293, ext. 1] to notify the school of planned or unexpected absences, tardies or early dismissals. A parent or guardian must call (students cannot call themselves out or late until they are age 18). Be sure to leave the student's name and reason for absence from class.


FAQs

Click here for the 2020-2021 School Info and FAQ pages.  If you have a question you would like to see addressed on these pages, please email it to mbeganski@theparkerschool.org.


Student Emergency and Health Form

Please make sure to complete the required Student Emergency and Health Form for your student(s).  Contact the School Nurse, Lisa Zick, at lzick@theparkerschool.org with questions.  Students who want to be able to come to campus for any events MUST have this form completed in order to be eligible to be on campus.


Upcoming Dates of Note

Mon—OCT 12 - Fall Holiday

Wed—OCT 14 - PSATs/SATs; Division 3 afternoon activity

Tue—OCT 20 - Parker 101

Wed—OCT 21 - Support Our Seniors

Fri—OCT 23 - PLPs

Fri—OCT 30 - PLPs

Wed—NOV 11 - Veterans Day Holiday


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