Creating a caring community
Social learning comes alive and strong bonds develop through active experiences in multi-age groupings. Time dedicated to weekly all-school assemblies, buddies and activities like composting, recycling, and cleaning rooms and hallways build leadership and personal responsibility. Students learn their actions can affect other lives when they develop community projects that have an impact outside of school.
- Buddies – Each younger grade is paired with an older grade for weekly research, reading, writing and activities.
- Morning Meetings – A component of the Responsive Classroom approach, class and advisory morning meetings foster a positive sense of community where each student feels valued, important and has fun!
- All-School Assemblies– On Fridays the eighth grade leads the school in an assembly. Parents also attend these spirited gatherings of songs, readings, skits, presentations and announcements.
- Winter Friday Program – On Friday afternoons in January and February, K – 8 students choose from a variety of mixed-age activities including skiing and snowboarding at Jiminy Peak, cross country skiing at Pineridge, swimming at the East Greenbush YMCA and creative movement.
- Shakespeare Residency – For eight days the whole school works toward a Shakespearean performance featuring Elizabethan acrobatics, playlets and scenes with local Shakespearean actor and acrobat Sean Fagan.
- Camp Chingachgook – Every September, students in grades 4 – 8 head out for three days and two nights of team-building and outdoor activities on Lake George.
- Project Night –Parents and students gather to celebrate projects and activities, the eighth grade thesis presentations and the Pre-K slide show.
- Read Across America Day – Students and teachers dress as a favorite book character. Visiting authors, poets, illustrators and storytellers work with students. The day ends with songs, a parade and a used book sale.
- MICE (Make It Clean Everywhere) Teams – Mixed-age MICE Teams dust, sweep and clean the common areas of the school. A Big Cheese Commissioner offers feedback.
- Mindfulness – A time for quiet focus and reflection is built into class routines. Students learn strategies like counting breaths to reduce anxiety and improve concentration.
- Student-Led Conferences – During the school year, K – 8 students assemble a collection of work representative of their learning experience. With guidance from teachers, they reflect on their learning, set goals and meet with their parents to share these goals. Through this process, students gain a better understanding of how they learn and practice setting and achieving goals.
- Purposeful Action – Students respond to world and local current events by devising fund-raising projects that relate to their themed studies: sewing heart pins for Haiti earthquake relief, raising funds for a library in Africa, sending student-designed T-shirts to a school in Kenya, etc. Eighth graders organize an annual event highlighting world hunger, such as an Oxfam Hunger Banquet or an Empty Bowls program. Seventh graders serve a spaghetti dinner in Troy to raise funds for community outreach organizations.
From strong beginnings at Parker, children emerge as self-directed and self-confident young men and women. They are eager and ready to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.