Giving students tangible experiences that support creativity, independence, collaboration, and critical analysis is at the very core of Parker’s program. We encourage students to be intellectual risk-takers who are able to give and receive evaluative feedback. Every student is expected to be an active participant in the academic and social life of the school.
Academic challenge is carefully balanced with a strong support system, in proportions that shift as students mature and reach the older grades. The ultimate goal is to develop independent, confident, curious, ethical, active, and skilled learners.
- Research Skills – Research begins in K-1 and continues through the eighth grade thesis. Goals for students include forming an inquiry, demonstrating the difference and value of primary and secondary sources, and proper use of research guidelines and the MLA format of citation. Computers are located in every classroom, in our tech-lab, and in the library.
- Library – The John C. Parker Library contains a 13,000-volume collection supplemented by several research databases, the inter-library loan system, and the library at nearby Emma Willard School. The school librarian works with each student to build research skills and to identify literature they will enjoy.
- Social Studies and the Integrated Curriculum – Social Studies themes form the framework for lessons in literature, writing, science, art, and music. Making connections expands students’ knowledge and develops their expertise.
- Science – Investigative laboratory and field science with a science specialist begins in K-1. Long-term studies such as Stream to River, A Clean Water Stewardship Project allow students to track changes over time and have a genuine impact. Eighth graders study Earth Science and take the New York State Regents Exam in June.
- Planet Parker – This unique sustainability/environmental initiative builds on the school’s focus on primary research and discovery learning. Faculty link their curricula and teaching with the natural resources on the school’s property and in the surrounding region.
- Modern Foreign Language – Spanish language and cultural study begins in Pre-K. In K-5 students have two sessions of Spanish each week. Spanish is taught four times a week in grades 6, 7 and 8, leading to Level 1 high school equivalency.
- Spanish Cultural Connection – Parker’s sister school, St. Peter’s in Barcelona, Spain, sends middle school students to Parker for a one-week cultural interchange and home-stay program that enriches global perspectives, language and friendships.
- Math – Critical thinking and problem-solving are stressed in the math program. Investigations in Number, Data, and Space© are the basis for math study in grades K-4. Grades 5-7 use the Connected Math© program at an accelerated level. Grade 8 students take Integrated Algebra, the New York 9th grade level course, with an option to take the New York State Regents Exam in June.
- Language Arts – Effective communication skills are developed through daily experiences: by reading, analyzing, and discussing a broad range of literature; by writing both expository and creative pieces; through grammar, hand-writing and keyboarding practice; and through public speaking and presentations. Every eighth grader completes a culminating thesis project.
- Responsive Classroom – This groundbreaking educational approach balances social and academic learning. Learn more.