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									                                      Parker Way
News from the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School and the Theodore R. Sizer Teachers Center fa l l 2 0 0 7

Parker owns
its home at last
The Parker School community
breathed a sigh of happy relief
when trustees closed August 29
on the purchase of Parker’s cur-
rent building and nine-acre site
at 49 Antietam Street in Devens,
Massachusetts. Since opening its
doors in 1995, the school and
teachers center have occupied
leased quarters, continually seek-
ing a permanent home to assure
a sustainable future.
    “We are delighted to take our
place as a member of the Devens
community for the long term,”
said Anne Perkins, who chairs
Parker’s Board of Trustees.
    The purchase, she noted, was
critical to Parker’s willingness to
invest $2 million for a classroom
addition and related improve-
ments to the property.
    Parker bought the property
from its landlord, MassDevelop-
ment, with loan financing from
the MassDevelopment Finance
Authority and TDBanknorth.
Building Committee Co-chair
Richard High had high praise for
                                               School As a Home
both. “We’re extremely grateful
for their flexibility and commit-               Students and teachers often stay at Parker long after the school day is done.
ment in helping us to achieve this              In this issue, we look at some ways in which school can feel like a safe and
milestone,” he said.    P
                                                nurturing place where anyone can rise to meet new challenges.
    Letter from the Principal

    Dear Parker friends,                      details that make the place sing at
                                              just the right time.
    We often joke about Parker School
                                                  But it’s more than our extended
    seeming a bit like a neighborhood
                                              hours of activity that make Parker
    convenience store with its “open all
                                              feel to so many like another home.
    night” feel. Our days begin early and
                                                  When school begins to mirror the
    can end quite late, particularly as the
                                              comforts we most closely associate
    pace of the school year picks up and
                                              with feeling “at home”—whether that
    the events that add so many dimen-
                                              place is our house or some other—we
    sions to the community start hap-
                                              unpack and settle in. We begin to           down for a bit to puzzle over the
    pening. Soccer and cross-country
                                              exhale, trusting that we will be safe,      questions and predicaments, aca-
    practices lead to games and meets,
                                              that others are there to help us find       demic and otherwise, that give our
    and the fall, if we’re lucky, stretches
                                              what we need most. Taking the time          school its fertile character.
    into the post-season with late nights
                                              we need, we grow comfortable                    When is our school most like a
    and games under the lights. Exhibi-
                                              enough to eventually take the kinds         home? Maybe it is during advisory,
    tions and student presentations,
                                              of risks involved every time one            speaking the words that bind us to
    community feedback night for Senior
                                              learns something of worth. Some-            each other. Perhaps it is during class
    Projects, and forums keep our lights
                                              times this settling in is conscious and     time, thinking out loud or figuring
    on after dark. Students and families
                                              deliberate; aware that we are well          out what we believe, know, or need to
    can log as many footsteps from six to
                                              supported, we decide to dig in. At          learn. It might be in the quiet hours,
    nine p.m. as we do during school
                                              other times, we begin by thinking of        when not much seems to be happen-
    hours. Parker has always generated a
                                              school as a place we would rather           ing at all, but where that world of
    sense of great activity and interesting
                                              flee, only to discover that it has          comfortable risk is taking shape.
    motion. And for many, our school has
                                              become a haven.                                 Or it might just be when our stu-
    become a kind of second home.
                                                  Visitors are sometimes envious,         dents, staff, and families feel as
         Some of us remember the early
                                              sometimes appalled at the use our           though they are always welcome, and
    days of Parker, when the occasional
                                              students make of the hallways and           act as though they are responsible for
    faculty member, after working anoth-
                                              niches in our school. Parker students       our place.
    er 15-hour day, would decide it was
                                              sit on the floor in small circles to read       My very best to all of you,
    easier and more efficient to spend
                                              and work together or singly, reading
    the night on one of the many sofas
                                              or writing with backs propped
    that used to populate our classrooms.
                                              against the walls. They jam them-
    (Why drive back and forth from Cam-
                                              selves into the nook behind the stage,          Teri Schrader
    bridge when that precious time could
                                              the niches in the courtyard, the gaps           Principal
    be spent sleeping?) We are long past
                                              that exist between doorways and
    the frantic days of start-up, but we
                                              closets. Some of the best work
    still spend a good deal of time at our
                                              emerges as we wedge into such self-
    school taking care of, getting ready
                                              made living rooms, where we settle
    for, and generally tending to the

2 | t h e pa r k e r way   spring 2007
                                                  special section: When School Feels Like Home
                                                    special section: When School Feels Like Home

Making It Personal
The whys and hows of Parker’s academic advising system

by teri schrader and
debbie osofsky

What we hope most for at Parker is
that students become reflective
learners who take responsibility for
their own learning. We want advisers
to know their students well, so they
can advocate for the whole child and
help their advisees grow into effec-
tive advocates for themselves. We
want teachers to pay careful atten-
tion to their students and to make
decisions about curriculum, instruc-
                                          Developing a Personal Learning Plan is an extended process between students and advisers.
tion, and assessment that best meet
those students’ needs. We want par-      information gathering and reflection,           progress along a continuum. Return-

ents to feel welcome in the school, to   in anticipation of the Fall PLP Con-            ing students also look back on their

fully engage in discussions about        ference, which takes place in the               formal progress reports and PLPs

their child’s learning, and to trust     third week of October.                          from years past.

that goals and priorities make sense         In advisory, students and their                 Students might work in pairs,

for their child.                         adviser begin the year by getting to            small groups, and the large group to

    Situated within Parker’s advisory    know one another. In addition to                think through potential goals for the

structure, our Personal Learning Plan    social activities, advisers encourage           year. They may share their responses

(PLP) establishes a foundation for       students to reflect on their strengths,         to the prompts, ask each other clari-

meeting all these hopes. The docu-       their learning styles, the things that          fying questions, and listen for pat-

ment itself articulates a student’s      cause them to feel anxious or excited           terns; then switch partners and share

strengths, goals for the school year,    about the year, and how they feel               out again. In the end, they articulate

and strategies to help attain those      about their classes thus far. Students          two to four potential goals for the

goals. So how does it actually work?     are asked to think honestly about               year, which they will bring to the
                                         their homework level, their level of            conversation at the conference. We
From Reflection, Goals Take Shape
                                         participation in class, their domain-           intentionally send the message to stu-

The PLP process begins at the start      based skill areas, and life outside of          dents that “you are not alone in this,”

of the year in both advisory groups      academics. Crossing academic                    that we learn best in collaboration,

and academic classes. It is a time of    domains, they review Parker’s habits            and that we will support each other in
                                         of learning and self-assess their               reaching our goals.
                                                                                                            continued on page 4

                                                                                                     fa l l 2 0 0 7   t h e pa r k e r way | 3
   special section: When School Feels Like Home

    Making It Personal                        continued from previous page

         In the classroom, teachers in each      sion to address learning goals that
    academic domain also ask students            may not directly link to one academic
    to think specifically about goals relat-     domain but rather involve important
    ed to their work. For example, a             personal growth.
    Math-Science-Technology teacher                  To prepare for the PLP confer-
    might ask students to look back on           ence, advisers look over these work-
    their most and least favorite project        sheets, which are also mailed home
    to date, considering why those proj-         for parents or guardians to consider.
    ects still hold meaning for them, what       Parents, too, fill out a preliminary
                                                                                            Perspectives Come Together
    strengths they brought to that work,         worksheet, responding to prompts
    and what challenges it presented.            about their child’s strengths, areas in    By the Fall PLP Conference in late
    Ultimately, students look within and         need of improvement, and home-             October, all three “voices” vital to
    across domains for goals that are            work habits. They are asked to think       PLP creation are ready to be heard.
    worth working toward over the year.          about their hopes for their child for      Instead of regular classes, the stu-
                                                 the year—hopes that often extend           dent, the parents or guardians, and
    Teachers Sharing Their Notes                 beyond academic achievement and            the adviser meet for 30 to 45 minutes
    By mid-October, the conversations            toward personal development.               to discuss the year so far and come to
    expand beyond advisory and individ-              At this point especially, Parker       consensus about the student’s goals
    ual classrooms. To facilitate commu-         sets aside purposeful time for “kid        for the year and the strategies to
    nication among those who work with           talk” among teachers and advisers.         achieve them. The conference itself is
    each student, teachers complete the          In divisional meetings, teachers share     quite structured, to ensure that every
    Academic Check-in worksheet, com-            specific anecdotes and student work.       voice is heard and that conversation
    menting on a student’s progress thus         They look for patterns that could          stays focused on developing the PLP,
    far and documenting information              offer greater insight into how a stu-      which the adviser will synthesize and
    on assessments, homework, class              dent approaches and understands            mail home within two weeks.
    participation, and anything else that        school and its tasks. They share the
                                                                                            A Guide and a Resource
    may be useful in the conference or           domain-specific goals that students
    the development of the PLP.                  generate in class and suggest possible     For the rest of the year, work with the
         In an Advisory Check-in work-           strategies to help achieve them. And       PLP will continue. Typically, advisers
    sheet, advisers similarly document           they talk about other factors (an          check in with advisees each week to
    the first weeks of the advisory group,       identified learning disability, a situa-   make sure they are carrying out the
    emphasizing individual students’             tion at home) that might affect a stu-     strategies articulated in their PLPs.
    participation. They identify patterns        dent’s success. The adviser (usually       Informal check-ins take place during
    (a student’s tendency to arrive late to      one of the student’s teachers) listens,    morning connections and afternoon
    advisory), or general observations (a        adds perspective, and takes notes, so      reflections. (“Debbie, you are staying
    student’s apparent shyness). These           as to serve as the “voice” of the teach-   today for after-school help with your
    notes create space in the PLP discus-        ers during the PLP conference itself.                 continued on the next page

4 | t h e pa r k e r way   fa l l 2 0 0 7
                                                   special section: When School Feels Like Home

In schoolwide survey, students praise Parker’s culture, curriculum, and teachers
What sets Parker apart          like family.” “Older stu-       comfortable atmosphere.”            comments about the quali-
from other schools? Stu-        dents are friends with          One student wrote, “Parker          ty and commitment of the
dents replied in a scho0l-      younger students [and]          is my home.”                        teachers and staff, describ-
wide survey conducted dur-      interact with our classes.”        Students praised the             ing their teachers as “nice,”
ing advisory in March 2006.         The words “tolerant,”       individual approach to              “good,” “kind,” “caring,”
Of the 370 students in the      “open,” “respect,” and          learning—“the way Parker            and “chill.” They wrote:
school, 302 completed sur-      “accepting” also occurred       personalizes each student’s         “The teachers help you
veys, a response rate of 82     frequently in students writ-    education and allows them           more and care more.”
percent.                        ing about school culture:       to learn in the way that’s          “The teachers come off as
   Nearly half the students     “I feel more comfortable        best for them” and “the             someone you can talk to.
included some aspect of         than I have felt with any       idea of valuing a student as        They make learning and
the school atmosphere in        other school.” “Parker          an individual.” They wrote:         school fun.” Students also
their answer—most often,        teachers and children           “Different people can learn         remarked extensively on
community and freedom.          respect each other and          at their own pace.” “People         the close relationships
About community, students       each others’ ideas.” “The       actually care about each            between students and
wrote: “It’s a smaller          environment is very safe.”      individual and want them            teachers: “The close con-
school, more tight-knit.        “We are all respected even      to do well and understand           nection between students
Teachers I don’t even know      by the teachers, which          what’s going on.”                   and teachers is what sets
know my name.” “Parker is       gives the school a more            Students had positive            us apart.”       P

Making It Personal                         PLP goals when writing students’           ing at the Spring PLP Conference)

continued from previous page               assessments and progress reports.          and is documented in advisory fold-

MST teacher, right?” “Teri, can I          They also chart the goals students         ers. At year’s end, as students and

see your planner to make sure you’ve       have in common, looking for pat-           adviser look back together, they are

got your homework written in it for        terns that can inform their curricu-       often surprised by how well they now

tonight?”) Every four to six weeks,        lum, instruction, and assessment.          know each other, and how they have

advisers ask advisees to undertake            While the PLP’s primary focus is        moved through difficult moments.

a more formal reflection on their          on students and their achievement,         That recognition often lays the

progress toward their goals. The           it also offers an entry point for con-     groundwork for the following school

release of progress reports also pro-      versation among students, parents,         year, with relationships among stu-

vides opportunities for students to        and advisers. It tacitly invites parents   dents, advisers, and parents providing

reflect on their progress in relation      to remain connected to their child’s       a solid foundation for success in

to their teachers’ perceptions of          progress, allowing them a legitimate       school.   P   .

their development.                         place in conversations about school.       This article is excerpted from its writers’

   At the same time, teachers dedi-           Reflection on each student’s            chapter in the forthcoming book Cul-

cate time to looking at the PLPs of        progress continues throughout the          tures of Change: Stories of Personal-

their students. They speak directly to     remainder of the school year (includ-      ized Learning in High School.

                                                                                                    fa l l 2 0 0 7   t h e pa r k e r way | 5
   Direct from Students

   What makes a school a safe place to grow? Parker students talk it over

    Why do Parker students often choose
    to spend more time at school than is
    required? Recently a cross section of
    Parker students met with principal
    Teri Schrader to share some thoughts
    on when, and why, Parker “feels like

    Parker is really connecting me to how
    I relate to the world. – conor

    Because we are so spread out where
    we live, school is a good common
    ground for all of us to hang out.
    When we are here for even an extra
    15 minutes, that’s an extra 15 min-
                                                 Students from different Divisions gather in Principal Teri Schrader’s office to talk about what
    utes that we get to spend with our           makes them feel connected to the Parker community.
    friends who may live an hour away.
    – hugh                                       “What’s up?” They come to sports                 everything he teaches. It gets us
                                                 games, they come to the plays, they              pumped up about what we are
    Everyone is connected, and we’ve
                                                 are active in all our lives. It goes             learning, if he is pumped up.
    been going to school [together] for
                                                 beyond academic bounds. – conor                  – carolyn
    so long. When I talk to friends from
    other schools, they say they don’t           Sometimes I think it can be too per-             New teachers, it might take them a
    know everyone in their graduating            sonal, but it shows that the teachers            while to get into the “Parker Way” but
    class. I know everyone in my grade           really care. My Div 2 AH gateway                 they are willing to listen to the stu-
    and people from other grades too. It’s       project was about bullying. Later, a             dents who have been here for a while
    just a family atmosphere. – sophia           teacher approached me in the hall                and take our suggestions. – nikki

                                                 and said, “Liz, is there anything you            Parker really opens you up. It really
    Even when I don’t have an afterschool
                                                 need to tell me?” Though it shows                changes a person. – sophia
    activity, I don’t rush out of the school
                                                 they cared, I was taken off guard and
    to go home. I try to find something to
                                                                                                  When I was younger—and it might
                                                 felt really uncomfortable. – liz
    do. It’s a good atmosphere and I can
                                                                                                  have just been my age—I was some-
    always do something to help. – mike          All the teachers here want to be here.           one who had a hard time being

    I’ll stay after to go into people’s class-   The ones that last at Parker, they love          myself around other people. It’s not

    rooms, and bother the teacher and            teaching, they love the kids. I had              that you find your niche in the

    say, “Hey, what’s up? Can I babysit          Clay in the seventh grade, and now in            school, it’s like the whole school is

    your kids?” I can talk to [a teacher]        Division 3. He is an awesome teacher             your little niche. – nikki      P

    from five years ago, and they say,           because he’s so passionate about

6 | t h e pa r k e r way   fa l l 2 0 0 7
                                                             Bringing It on Home: The Classroom Campaign

                                    “What if . . . ?”
                                    Reaching deep when we most need help,
                                    the Parker community once more makes room for learning

On behalf of the entire Parker community, the Board                from penny wars to one-act play contests, raised
of Trustees expresses profound gratitude here for the              $6,677.48, matched in its entirety by an anonymous
generosity of those listed below, whose contributions are          donor.
making possible Parker’s new classroom addition. In this               As of August 1, 2007, Parker had raised a total of
effort, as in everything Parker does, one of the school’s          $850,000—85 percent of our goal of $1 million. There is
great strengths is the diversity of our families, and an           still time to donate, for those who have not yet had a
obvious part of that diversity is financial. We are grateful       chance to do so; information on contributing to the
for every donation we have received. Every gift matters.           Classroom Campaign is available on the Parker website,
Every gift counts.                                                 www.
    The school is particularly indebted to our staff and               The list below includes all donations made as of
faculty, more than 70 percent of whom donated to the               September 1, 2007. Donors (except anonymous donors)
classroom campaign. Special thanks also goes to our                are listed in chronological order of the date each gift or
students, who as individuals and as advisories, through            pledge was received. Our heartfelt thanks to all.        P

contributions from their own savings and events ranging

                                 t h e c l a s s r o o m c a m pa i g n d o n o r s
Ted and Nancy Sizer * Rick High and Andy Perkins * Paula and       ESSENTIAL FUND * Diane Kruse * Deb Merriam and John
Martin Turnbull * Joe, Ann, Sam and Hallie Glannon * Kathleen      Bohannon * Jeanine Wood and David Middleton * Cathy and
Cushman * Laura Rogers and Michael Shear * Kathleen and            Walter Pearlman * The Whalley Family * Mandy Sheffield * Leslie
Ajeet Singh * Phillip and Linda Holman * Mark and Heidi Kulik      and Vinnie Brew * Matt and Tricia Underwood * Laura Brown
Chet and Mary Ann Gapinski * Joan and Ed Shankle * John D.         Lori Champine * The Shulman-Mayerson Family * Tanya D. Bouzy
Donahue * Kim Draper * Marjorie Chilcoat * Daphne Shethar          C. Lee Guerette * Bill and Ellen Brandt * Matthew Smith Bart
The Brown Family * March and Teri Schrader * Paul and Betty        Wendell and Sandra Whaley * Clare Fox Ringwall and Bruce
Sushchyk * Jim and Laura Giard * Steven and Gillian Draleau        Ringwall * Nancy Lundy * Judy Gibson and Stephen Herbert
David and Gaynor Bigelbach * Cameron Hewitt * Deborah              Alan and Martha Shethar * Mimmu and Jim Sloan * Marc and
Chamberlain * Maura and Larry Barstow * Mike Knupp *               Nancy Rines * Sam and Natalie Robinson * Carolyn and James
Amanda Graham and Clayton Hobart * Philip and Patricia             Sullivan Debbie and Marc Osofsky * Susan and William Farr
Campbell * Martha McLure and Richard Muehlke * Mit Wanzer          *Tom and Maryellen Grady * Paul and Deborah Cicchetti
Brian and Diane Mullins * Laura Warner * Brenton Kulik             *William and Janet Dumbleton * Jeff Van Auken * Tom and Kim
Gerard and Carol Mearn * Olga Dobson * The Tappan Family           Wheeler * Carmen Gonzales Perez * Lucy McQuilken and Chuck
Marge Maurukas * Duke and Meg Stafford * The Coney Family          Agosta * Bill Allen and Joy Cooke * Stephen Byan and Susan
The Gesin Family * Mrs. Pierre E. Martin * David Lucil * Rebecca   Roper * Rebecca Kane * Carol Case * Albert and Victoria
and David Spanagel * Jim and Kathy Elkind * The Cass Family        Saganich * The Farese Family * Laurie and Jim Nehring * John
The Dufault Family * Ruth Whalen Crockett and Jonathan             and Judy Fernberg * The Concannon Family * Erin Westaway
Crockett * Julio Martinez * Harry Jacobson * The Raudonats         Nancy Griffin * George and Fiona Giordano * Barry and Gayle
Shari Bennett * Greg and Cassandra Bosworth * THE PARKER           Joseph * Ann Colligan * Barbara and Abbott Weiss * Sheila La

                                                                                                   fa l l 2 0 0 7   t h e pa r k e r way | 7
  Bringing It on Home: The Classroom Campaign

                                   t h e c l a s s r o o m c a m pa i g n d o n o r s           continued

    Farge * The Wojcik Family * Claudia Bell and Walter Gwardyak      and Mary Marro * William Shaw * Michael and Barbara Brodeur
    Ted Tepe * Wayne and Jane Matson * Amy and Jon Churchill          Nanci Bohne * Lauren and Willard Bigelow * Susan and Brant
    Edith Griffin * Alan Laubenstein * Carrie Duff * Marcia Boundy    McDougall * Philips Medical Systems * Christopher and Linda
    and Richard Lodge * Julie and Philip Trudeau * Anne Bate * Lee    Quinones * Ann and Tom Nieva * Joseph Pugh * Nancy and
    and Roger McManus * Ben and Robin Benoit * Mark and Jeanne        Haynes Turkle * Wendy Johnson * Jennifer Ablard and Alan Hoff
    Hickox * Ann Walsh * Robin Yurkevicz and Marc Restuccia           Curtis and Becky Bingham * Margaret and Alan Bridges * Diane
    Gordon and Jo-Anne Smith * Tim and Dotsy Murphy * Richard         and Peter Senge * Tom Perkins * James and Cynthia Yennaco
    and Kathryn Mattison * George and Kristin Conant * David and      Janet and Ernest Kahane * Jackie and Tom Roper * The Delaney
    Linda Shea * Molly Stuart * Michael and Bonnie Haley * Art and    Family * Peter Silvia and Karen Kazanjian-Silvia * Gayle and
    Marney Stoumbelis * Diane and Douglas Spring * Mark White         Robert Coit * Karin and Jim Ellingboe * THE PARKER CLASS OF
    and Pascale Belin-White * Mark Awed and Kathy Tamilio-Awed        2007 * Elisabeth Fieldstone Kanner and Joshua Kanner * Jean
    The McDermott Family * Susan and David Dumas * Tom                Winship * Amy and Salvatore Emma * Jen and Graham Theodore
    Callahan and Suzanne Lampert * Peter Urban * Linda and            Jerry and Darlene Taylor * Mark and Sukey McDonough * Oren
    Steven Di Palma * Neil and Deb Withers * Marlene Gale * The       Cass * Cynthia Felton * Patricia and David Gale * Thomas Gibson
    Toohill Family * Cathy and Timothy Lindamood * Melissa Crowe      Bill and Jennifer Rand * Jeff and Lisa Binder * David Browning
    Keith Crowe * Zachary Allen * Wayne and Bernadette Stockwell      and Nancy Lax * Ahmad Katebi and Beth Hunter * Cindylee and
    Donald and Cynthia Unger * Terry Weisinger and Joseph Yarmus      Mike Gee * Charles and Rhonda Mills * Ralph and Carol Olson
    Mark and Wendy Karuzis * Mark Kelley and Josie Carothers          Karen and James Kane * Ed and Kate McNierney * Frank Honts
    Thomas Ursch * Sharon Ursch * Jonathan Tang * Ginny and Wai       James and Isabel Geller * Kevin and Christine Lindemer * Jeffrey
    Tang * Deborah and Bruce Jacques * Leslie and Bob Perreault       and Judith Redding * Frank and Jennifer Massarelli * Susan
    Andrea and Mark Cava * Richard Roop * Paul and Kathleen           Randazzo and Stuart Schulman * Kaitlin Roop * Michele Dilley
    Airoldi * Ted and Vivian Ricketts * Ann and Bill Wachur * Sarah   Eileen and Randolph Aubuchon * Marc and Margie Tessler
    and Thomas Lemaire * Kate Stamm * Cheryl and Bruce Deyle          Paula Martin * Barbara Zulon * Laura and James Bridges
    Gwen and Tom Hotaling * Ted Matson * Janet Providakes * Paul      Edmund and Dorcas Sefton * Margaret Sisson and Roger Christie
    and Lisa Eisenberg * Aaron Stockwell * Greg and Liz Nonis * The   Guilford Dube and Marcia Melanson * Chase Underwood * Tim
    Konde Family * The Carman Family * Glenn Berger and Peggy         and Jackie Murphy * Bart Wendell and Sandra Whaley * Pamela
    Anstett * Joe and Betsy Kristl * Paul and Judy Ericson * Steven   Hunt * Maryann and Brian Kane * MaryEllen and David Gordon
    and Lisa Noyes * Cathy, Richard, and Julia Parmelee * The         Richard and Diane Hewitt * Barbara and Hal Salzman * Fredrick
    Anderson Family * Susan Tremblay and Family * Janine and          and Carolyn Sellars * Li Liang and Georgia Sassen * Karen and
    Jeffrey Burnett * The Vine Family * Thomas and Mary C. Dugan      Tim Kelley * Susan and John Morris * Lynne Mendes * Michael
    Judith Farmanck * Dan Vuong and Lan Vuong-Tu * Jenny and          and Darlene Dulchinos * Barry and Pam Gross * Wayne and Jane
    Paul Cook * David Stevens and Lois Greenbaum * Deborah and        Matson * Fred and Karyn Caissie * Ronald and Elvernoy Johnson
    Jack Fleischman * Julia and David McIntyre * Kasey A. Fletcher    Peter and Lorraine MacDonald * Donavan and Deborah White
    Robert and Teresa Amici * David and Paula Terrasi and Armand      Remo and Gale Rossi * Louise and Andrew Knight * Susan Garth
    DiMauro * Bruce and Susan Hampton and Family * Bruce              Stott * Deborah Levering * Barbar Seeber-Wagner * Kevin Amici
    and Lisa Bender * Eric and Wanda Andersen * Dawn and Caio         Kenny Amici * Timothy and Denise Carr * Rebecca Cross
    de Freitas * Peter and Christine Gagnon * Ron and Judi Dokus      Elizabeth and Ned Bacon * and all those who wished to remain
    Bernadette Colley and Allen LeVines * Chris and Rosemary          Anonymous
    Losso * Fredrick and Marilyn McMillian * Dennis LeBlanc,          The next edition of the Parker Way will acknowledge gifts
    General Contractor * Sue and Dennis LeBlanc * Steve Kessler       received after September 1, 2007

8 | t h e pa r k e r way   fa l l 2 0 0 7
                                                               Leaving Home: A Graduation Album

                                                   Parker’s graduation ceremony is well known as a
                                                   ceremony that one really wants to attend—with tissues
                                                   to wipe away tears of laughter and poignancy, not to
                                                   mention the occasional thundershower. Of special
                                                   note: the two-minute valedictories delivered by any
                                                   student who wishes (turn the page for an example); the
                                                   remarks of teacher-speakers chosen by the graduating
                                                   class; the roses handed by the graduates in their exit
                                                   processional to each member of the rising senior class;
                                                   and the magnificent celebratory repast catered each
The Class of 2007 graduated 53 students in June.
                                                   year by the families of juniors. On the next pages, read
Above, Brenton Kulik receives his diploma from
Parker’s principal, Teri Schrader.                 more about how one flies Parker’s nest. – the editors

                                                                                   fa l l 2 0 0 7   t h e pa r k e r way | 9
     A safe circle, providing space to risk and learn
     In her graduation speech, a student tells of growing up at Parker

   by shannon stockwell ’06                   eat lunch. I know where the bath-         what? That’s okay. I’ve been walking
                                              rooms are and the classrooms. The         in comfortable little circles for six
   Parker is a circle. Literally. This was    circle is safe and familiar. I’m com-     years. I’ve learned that it’s all right to
   one of the first things that I noticed     fortable in the circle. And because       make mistakes and to try something
   about Parker when I came here in           I walk this same safe circle everyday,    frightening. Now I can continue
   seventh grade. It is impossible to get     I can take risks. I can stop mid-walk     doing that, even if I risk getting com-
   lost. No matter which direction a new      and change direction and try some-        pletely lost, because I know I’ll find
   student chooses to turn, they will         thing new, whether it’s admitting that    my way eventually. Now, I stand here
   eventually wind up in the same place.      I have no idea what formula I just        before you, finally happy and healthy,
   Being a very nervous twelve year old,      used to solve for x, or acknowledging     and ready for whatever geometric
   this relieved me, as I had often heard     that I’m having a hard time and ask-      shape life may throw at me. I’m ready
   horror stories of kids entering their      ing for help. Sometimes I would have      to say goodbye. I’m ready to step out
   new schools and getting hopelessly         absolutely no idea where I was head-      of the circle. I’m ready for life.   P

   lost on their first day, without a clue    ed when I began making my way
   as to where their classes were, the        around the circle. But I kept walking.

   stigma of “new student” hanging            I kept going forward. Sometimes
   heavily around their necks.                I would stumble, and sometimes
                                              I would fall flat on my face. But there
                                              was always someone to help me up.
                                                                                            Did you know . . . ?
    No matter which direction                    It was comforting to know that no          Everyone can be a valedictorian
                                                                                            “Valedictory” literally means “say-
                                              matter which direction I took while at
    I took while at Parker,                                                                 ing farewell,” and ever since Park-
                                              Parker, I would wind up somewhere
    I would wind up some-                                                                   er’s first commencement exercises
                                              familiar, some place I know and love.
                                                                                            in 2000, all members of the graduat-
    where familiar, some place                I could never mess up, even if I start-       ing class have been invited to give
    I know and love.                          ed walking and had no idea where              a two-minute valedictory speech at
                                              I was going. As long as I was walking,        the ceremonies.
                                              I would get somewhere comfortable
                                                                                            If they wish to do so (and not all
        As I have progressed at Parker, I     eventually.
                                                                                            do), students receive coaching
   have been walking around this same             And now I’m about to leave this
                                                                                            beforehand from a speech mentor.
   circle. I retrace my footsteps every       comforting round shape. I’ll be going
                                                                                            (It helps to have a theatre director
   day as I walk down these halls, shuf-      to a school that isn’t constructed in         as principal!) The result: Parker’s
   fling across the red tile, noting the      a circular manner. There are going to         graduation is renowned for making
   new posters on the walls, and which        be multiple directions I can choose           its audiences laugh and cry, often
   doors are opened or closed. I know         to go in, and they won’t all wind up in       at the same time.

   the nooks and crannies where people        the same safe place. But you know

1 0 | t h e pa r k e r way   fa l l 2 0 0 7
                                                                      Leaving Home: A Graduation Album

A more personal take on the college admissions process
In preparing students and families for “life after Parker,”
Parker takes a humanistic approach that values the
individual, providing a rudder through what can feel
like a turbulent transition to college and beyond. The
school schedules in time for college guidance, provid-
ing resources and counseling for students and parents.
   Susan Whalley, Parker’s college counselor for the
past eight years, starts early in her effort to mitigate
the media-driven frenzy about college admissions.
Instead, she says, she encourages students to see
themselves as consumers who will choose the college
that best fits their situation. At the outset of their plan-
ning, she gives juniors the message: “You are all defi-
nitely going to be accepted to college. Now let’s find
the ones that you will like best, the ones that will meet       Parker adults are very much a part of the process of bringing
your needs, and where you can grow over the next                students to graduation and beyond.

four years.”
   Ever since Parker’s founding, the school has worked         Providence College, the Rhode Island School of Design,
hard to acquaint colleges with its narrative assessment        the United States Naval Academy, Rhodes College,
system and to show them its value as a way of docu-            Ohio Wesleyan University, Lawrence University, the
menting what students know and can do. A three-year            University of Denver, and the Franklin Olin College of
“narrative summary” (boiled down from the student’s            Engineering.
year-end assessments from grades 9 through 11) goes               Many Parker students choose to postpone college for
to colleges where students apply, along with a transcript      a “gap year” in which they explore other opportunities,
that shows what courses our applicant took. Assess-            such as work or travel. Others seek out institutions that
ments from individual teachers follow, containing              have a “Parker flavor,” such as the interdisciplinary,
information on senior year work. Admissions officers           project-based approach that drew Carl Tappan ’07
have come to appreciate such information, which                to Olin College, a small new engineering school in
gives them an excellent sense of how a student will            Needham, Massachusetts. But wherever they go and
fare once in college.                                          whatever they do, those at Parker make every effort to
   Since graduating its first class in 2000, Parker            support them in continuing their learning and devel-
has sent its graduates off to a wide range of colleges         opment in the best possible way for them.               P

and universities, and every year we add a few new
names to our long list. Members of the class of 2007,          Contributors to this article include Kathleen Cushman,
for example, will be the first Parker alums to attend          Laura Rogers, and Susan Whalley.

                                                                                                 fa l l 2 0 0 7   t h e pa r k e r way | 1 1
     Leaving Home: A Graduation Album

     A founder looks back and takes stock
     by laura rogers                                            culture (parents vs.
                                                                teachers, everyone
     As a psychologist, not an educator, I brought a set of     vs. kids), I hoped we
     hopes and commitments to the school’s early days that      would work together
     were welcomed, but not particularly useful to answer-      at Parker, always
     ing our most pressing question: “What are we going to      assuming good faith as we looked for common
     do today?” The answers of our teachers helped build        ground. Inevitably, differences of opinion emerged,
     the school as you know it.                                 occasionally more passionately than wisely expressed.
           My role was to influence how we answered.            Even so, a school community willing to hear out these
     Two things mattered most to me: keeping children’s         differences, and to accept solutions hammered out in
     developmental needs in the foreground of our school        good faith, is a safe and respectful place for children
     planning; and creating a school where, when difficult      and adults. Whether we are discussing the choice of
     decisions must be made, our community would not            a text, a decision about gatewaying, a disciplinary
     fracture along the usual fault lines, creating the “we-    altercation, the activities for a large-scale field trip,
     they” adversarial battles I had witnessed all too often    or a new addition to the school, we have a culture of
     in schools.                                                considering points of view, looking for solutions that
           These two principles are wonderfully evident in      reflect the interests and concerns of all, redressing
     Parker today. In every aspect of our curriculum and        miscommunications, trying again. The process is not
     program, there is a gradual ramping up of expectation,     always seamless; occasionally feelings run hot and
     consistent with the intellectual and personal trajecto-    words sting. Not everyone feels equally pleased with
     ries of growth that characterize adolescence. When         the outcome. But fair and respectful decision-mak-
     Parker students do research in Division 1, they are        ing—using mediators (including student mediators)
     building the skills needed for research in Division 3.     whenever doing so will ensure a better outcome—is
     When they complete independent projects of their           at the core of our school’s impulses and practices.
     own design for Division 2 gateways, they are also tak-         As my role changes from being a school leader to
     ing steps toward their senior projects. Students helped    being a school elder, I can see that Parker has become
     us develop our programs. If we had too big a gap as        more than I ever imagined. I salute each and every
     they passed a new threshold, or not enough of one,         member of our community, past and present, for
     they told us; and so we created, with them, programs       bringing dreams to life. I am delighted to be a citizen
     like Directed Studies and discretionary time. Transi-      of Parker.   P

     tions at Parker are not all perfect or graceful. But we
                                                                Laura Rogers, one of Parker’s four founders and its
     continue to adjust our expectations and students’
                                                                school psychologist since the start, stepped down in
     challenges, keeping alive the questions, “What are
                                                                March 2007 as a member of the school’s administrative
     you ready for now?” “How can we help?”
                                                                team. She now works at the school two days a week,
           Instead of lapsing into a divisive and adversarial
                                                                providing clinical services and supervision.

1 2 | t h e pa r k e r way   fa l l 2 0 0 7
                                             The Ripple Effect: Parker Teachers Spreading the Work

Parker ideas go to college
Teacher educators with roots at Parker help shape a new generation of teachers

A number of Parker’s leaders     books about curriculum and                                          and researcher, and how do I
from its earliest years now      assessment.                                                         manage the tension between
teach at the university level,                                                                       these two roles?” Jim has
                                 Jim Nehring came to Parker
bringing their Parker experi-                                                                        published several books,
                                 in 1996 and spent ten years
ence to education students                                                                           including Upstart Startup,
                                 there, as its first principal
and future teachers.                                                                                 about Parker’s early years.
                                 and later as a teacher-leader.
Bil Johnson, one of four         In 2006 he joined the educa-                                        Laura Rogers (see page 13)
founders who wrote the orig-     tion department at the Uni-                                         teaches part time in the edu-
                                                                  Jim Nehring
inal Parker charter, was lead    versity of Massachusetts in                                         cation department at Tufts
teacher in AH during its first   Lowell. Jim writes: “At Parker                                      University. She is co-author,
year. From that time through     I learned that while a good      ple. As I work with col-           with Kathleen Cushman, of
summer 2007, he was a clini-     idea is valuable, a powerful     leagues in higher education        a forthcoming book about
cal professor in the Brown       question is more so. Spend-      and collaborate with school        middle school teaching and
University education depart-     ing a good long while with       leaders, I try to incorporate      learning from the perspective
ment, with responsibility for    the right question develops a    this insight. I have just come     of students.     P

preparing social studies         basis for ideas that are more    from a session with a dozen
teachers. In August 2007, he     than just good; they fit, they   professors in the social sci-      Are you a Parker alum or
moved to Yale University,        move an organization for-        ences where we explored a          former teacher and working
where he supervises future       ward, they thoughtfully man-     dilemma using a question:          in education? Send your
English teachers for Yale’s      age ongoing dilemmas, they       What challenges am I likely        news and reflections to
teacher preparation program.     address the deeper calling of    to encounter in my combined        “The Ripple Effect,” a regular
Bil is author of a number of     an organization and its peo-     role as community partner          feature in the Parker Way.

Do you know these Parker teachers?
                                 After college, he lived and      third grades in Germany. His
                                 taught on the Northern           family settled in Vermont
                                 Cheyenne Native American         when he was 13, and he grad-
                                 Reservation, in Montana.         uated in 1993 from UVM,
                                 After a year of Parker teach-    where he studied mechanical
                                 ing, Anthony says that he        engineering. At Florida State
                                 loves the comfortable yet        University he earned a mas-
                                 professional student-teacher     ters in Mechanical Engineer-
                                 relationships at Parker.         ing; then he worked at Gener-
Anthony Shaker
                                                                  al Motors, designing and test-     make a difference. John lives
Division 3 Arts & Humanities     John Bohannon
                                                                  ing automatic transmissions.       in Shirley with his wife, Deb
                                 Division 3 Math-Sci-Tech
Anthony grew up near Chica-                                       Looking for more meaningful        Merriam (Parker’s Academic
go and studied government        JohnBo’s father was in the       work, in August 1999 he came       Dean), and their son, Zaden,
and international relations at   Army and John traveled as a      to Parker, where, he says,         who turned one year old in
the University of Notre Dame.    child, attending first through   every day he sees his work         September.

                                                                                                   fa l l 2 0 0 7   t h e pa r k e r way | 1 3
     Class Notes

     2000                                       2002
     Andrew Pearlman graduated from Bent-       Blake Buckalew spent his four years
     ley College in 2005, where he studied      at Evergreen State College studying
     marketing and information technology.      anthropology, sociology, and evolution-
     He hopes to complete his masters at        ary psychology as a part of the school’s
     Bentley in 2009, in Human Factors for      Student Originated Studies (SOS).           Lianna (Adrien) Condon 2002 and her
     Information Design. During his under-      Though he knew nothing about the            husband Luke welcomed a new baby boy,
     graduate years, Andy played rugby          SOS program before enrolling, he            Hosea Dean Condon, on April 13, 2007.
     (believe it or not) and was a program-     considers it a stroke of luck. Each year,   Hosea weighed 9 pounds 8 ounces
     ming director for WBTY, the Bentley        he worked with a team of four teachers      and was 22 inches long. He joins big
     radio station. He lives in Newton, MA      and a class of 30 to design and execute     sister Selah, age 2.
     (right near Moody Street in Waltham)       a curriculum. He studied why we fight,
     and works in Boston’s Copley Place mall    deceive, and cooperate, and how culture
     as an associate for Com-      develops and shapes our psychology          Pete Clark received his B.A. in spring

     pete anonymously accesses the click-       (yes, those fun memes and game theory).     2007 from Hampshire College, where

     stream behavior of 2 million U.S. con-        After he pays off his loans, Blake       he explored social enterprises and non-

     sumers on the web—collecting, analyz-      plans on going on for a masters in          profit work, sustainable living, assistive

     ing, and reporting aggregate data about    anthropology or a law degree. Currently     technologies, and atmospheric and

     which pages people visit in what order.    he is being mentored in Labor Arbitra-      environmental studies. Pete’s Division

     With that information it can project the   tion and Alternative Dispute Resolu-        Three project (yes, there are three

     number of people who are doing certain     tion—subjects he enjoys partly because      divisions at Hampshire, too) was titled

     activities online—data shared recently     of his memories of Parker’s justice         “Decoupling Signals from Pandora

     on CNN’s “Situation Room,” in relation     system.                                     Moth Outbreaks and Climate Variation

     to campaign spending.                         Blake also owns a music recording        in Pinus Ponderosa Tree-Rings Over

                                                and production business, working with       1,500 Years in Central Oregon.” The

                                                longtime friend Jon Andrews, a Juilliard    project interested him greatly, as he
     2001                                       School graduate in composition. They        used annual growth rings retained with-
     Jenny Gapinski graduated from Dart-                                                    in very old pine trees in Oregon as a
                                                have worked with the Peabody Essex
     mouth College in 2005 with a degree                                                    proxy to reconstruct drought and the
                                                Museum in Salem, producing works
     in Environmental Sciences; she studied                                                 presence of certain insects from 435
                                                for a string quartet with voice, as part
     abroad in Southern Africa and wrote a                                                  A.D. to the present day. Keep an eye out
                                                of its “Inspired by China” exhibit. They
     thesis on liver cancer. After working in                                               later this year in Ecological Monographs
                                                also recorded the renowned Moscow
     healthcare consulting in Boston, she is                                                for the published version.
                                                Chamber Orchestra, and in April they
     now attending medical school at Colum-                                                    Rock climbing, something Pete first
                                                were commissioned to do a baroque
     bia University and hopes to earn her                                                   encountered at Parker, has virtually
                                                music piece for the Salvador Dali Museum
     MD in 2011. She also recently completed                                                taken over his life. Since Parker, climb-
                                                in Florida. Currently they are working
     the Chicago Marathon. Jenny lives on                                                   ing has brought him through nearly
                                                on a project to accompany a new book
     Manhattan’s Upper West Side and                                                        every state, as well as Mexico, Australia,
                                                of poetry, The Alchemy of Grief, by a
     enjoys getting frequent homework help                                                  Canada, Central America, and soon
                                                woman who lost her son. They also
     from her mother and Parker’s longtime                                                  Europe and Southeast Asia. As a result,
                                                work with a company called Audiux,
     nurse, Mary Ann.                                                                       Pete even managed to learn the Spanish
                                                which does live sound reinforcement.
                                                Blake lives on his farm in Westborough.     language! He recently engineered
                                                                                            several outdoor-oriented festivals as
                                                                                            fundraisers for a local nonprofit, the

1 4 | t h e pa r k e r way   fa l l 2 0 0 7
                                                                                                                      Class Notes
Western Massachusetts Climbers Coali-          semester of her junior year abroad,          graduates and families!
tion (, hoping             at the University of Cape Town in
to purchase and preserve a tract of land       South Africa.                                Please send news and photos of
in Erving, MA. The project aims to pro-                                                     what Parker alums are doing. Email
tect this land from further residential        Henry Schrader is a senior at the   or call Rebecca
and commercial development, and to             Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts        Kane at 978-772-2566.
allow public access to a natural area          in North Adams, where he majors in
with some of the best rock climbing in         English Communication with a concen-
southern New England, endless hiking           tration in writing and is captain of the
and biking trails, and habitats for such       basketball team. He stays active by
species as the peregrine falcon. Pete          playing basketball, hanging out with
is currently the caretaker of a home           friends, and, of course, studying hard.
on the land, acting as an impromptu            This summer he worked at Camp Emer-
guide, maintaining climbing routes and         son, a summer camp in the Berkshire

hiking trails, and developing some of          town of Hinsdale, Massachusetts.
the best and hardest rock climbs in the        Henry was both the basketball and swim
country. He was recently interviewed           instructor and had a real blast; he highly
by Wilderness magazine about his tree-         recommends the camp to anyone.                  Did you know . . . ?
ring research and conservation work,
so look out for that too!                                                                      Parker PLUS is taking off!
                                               2005                                            Could your place of business
                                               Drew Crampton received a scholarship
2003                                           from the German Academic Exchange
                                                                                               benefit from college student interns
Dan Murphy attended UMass Amherst                                                              who are Parker grads? Might your
                                               Service (DAAD) to do a research intern-
for a year, then transferred to the Citadel,                                                   company be interested in tapping
                                               ship at the Technical University of
a military academy in Charleston, South                                                        the community of Parker college
                                               Munich in Germany this past summer.
Carolina. In his fourth year there, he is                                                      graduates for their first jobs?
                                               His job was to help a PhD student
studying criminal justice and political
                                               with research on the electrocatalysis           Parker PLUS (Parents give a Leg Up
science. Dan is a member of the Criminal
                                               of fuel cell reactions. They worked on          for Students) makes the cold and
Justice Society and the 2008 Summerall
                                               creating and testing the catalysts that         competitive work world a little bit
Guards, a precision drill team. Once
                                               can be used in fuel cells. Drew stayed          warmer for Parker alums in and
Dan graduates, he will be commis-
                                               in Munich from May 21 until August 3,           after college. In college, they need
sioned into the United States Army as
                                               doing experiments and helping the               meaningful internships to build their
a 2nd lieutenant. In December he
                                               research team. The group was so                 skills and prepare for the world of
expects to be assigned to a branch of
                                               pleased with his work that he was               work. When they graduate, they
the service and a duty station.
                                               named as a coauthor on a research               need a foot in the door. If you would
                                               paper being submitted for publication.          enjoy the advantage of having
2004                                           Drew is going into his third year at            minds raised in the Parker tradition
Aurelia Moran is living in Portland,           the University of Vermont as a Chem-            in your workplace, please email
Oregon, and attending Reed College,            istry major and hopes to go on to               Sue Whalley (
where she will graduate in May 2008            graduate school.                                to start the ball rolling. In the mes-
with a degree in biology. Aurelia worked                                                       sage line, write “Parker Plus.”
on campus for the summer, in an                                                                Thank you!
immunology lab where she studied               2006
p53, a tumor suppressor gene, in an            We are still awaiting news and photos
amphibian model. She spent the first           of our most recent Parker graduates.

                                                                                                     fa l l 2 0 0 7    t h e pa r k e r way | 1 5
          From the Board Chair

          Dear Parker community,                      over at the school bright yellow bull-   The Parker Way
          Two years ago, when the Parker Board        dozers are preparing the foundation
                                                                                               fall 2007
          of Trustees gathered to decide on some      for our new classroom addition.
                      key strategic initiatives, we      This success is made all the more     The periodical of the Francis W.
                                                                                               Parker Charter Essential School and
                      quickly found that one goal     meaningful because it comes as the
                                                                                               the Theodore R. Sizer Teachers
                      rose right to the top: we       result of the commitment and contri-
                                                                                               Center. Costs of this publication are
                      needed a permanent home,        butions of hundreds of members
                                                                                               supported by private contributions
                      and we needed that home to      of the Parker community. Teachers,       from the Parker community.
          meet the educational needs of the           students, parents, alumni, alumni
                                                                                               Editorial Director: Kathleen Cushman
          school and teachers center.                 parents, trustees, former trustees,
                                                                                               Managing Editor: Rebecca Kane
               The challenge was formidable,          and friends of the school have all
          as Massachusetts charter schools are        pitched in, and we are grateful to       Contributors to this issue: Rebecca
          not eligible for the facilities funding     every one of them. Thanks to you all     Kane, Debbie Osofsky, Anne G.
                                                                                               Perkins, Laura Rogers, Teri Schrader,
          available to all other public schools.      for making this important milestone
                                                                                               Shannon Stockwell, Susan Whalley.
          But after months of hard work, with         possible for Parker.
          some good luck thrown in, I am                 With heartfelt appreciation,          Please send news and photos to
          thrilled to say that we have met both                                       For ongoing news
                                                         Anne G. Perkins
          goals. At 3:30 p.m. on August, 29, we                                                and information, visit Parker’s web
                                                         Chair, Parker Board of Trustees
          closed on the purchase of our building                                               site,

          and nine-acre site. And as I write,

        Parker Way

                                                                                                                  non-profit org.
                                                                                                                   u.s. postage
          Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School                                                                    paid
          Theodore R. Sizer Teachers Center                                                                         permit #37
                                                                                                                     ayer, ma
          49 Antietam Street
          Devens, MA 01434

      1 6 | t h e pa r k e r way   fa l l 2 0 0 7

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