February 27, 2015
By Douglas Lyons
Today is the 104th day of the school year. It now looks like we will be getting out of school on June 25th, unless there are additional snow days. We just completed our first full week of school in a month. It feels good to have less snow and be back to work with students. With the additional snow days, we will be moving our third quarter progress reports and reports cards out a week. The new dates are: Progress Reports 03/11, Third Quarter grades close 04/10, and Report Cards posted to Edline on 04/16. If you have any questions about the calendar and upcoming events, please refer to the Weekly Preview or drop a note to Brendan Norton or me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2014-2015 Heroes Among Us Assembly
On Friday, January 30, 2015, Ms. Cristi and student leaders at Parker Middle School presented the fifth annual Parker Hero’s Among Us Awardto Ned Coltman. What makes this award special is that students decide who is most deserving in the community to receive the award. The award was created by the Parker Student Leaders to recognize a person (or persons) in the community who they think makes a difference in the Parker and Reading community. The difference can be an act of service or simply a decision in their life that made a positive impact on others.
The presentation of the Heroes Among Us Award this year was terrific; student leaders interviewed Ned Coltman, wrote their own speeches, and co-planned the entire event. Mrs. Cristi coached and guided students through the preparation and her efforts clearly paid off based on how the students performed, they even surprised themselves. It is great to have Ned Coltman (Parker Alum) a recent graduate of Tufts University back to receive this honor. Ned Coltman was chosen by students this year for his efforts to enact change in the Scouts organization and their practice of excluding people. Ned participated in scouting and believes deeply in the values of the organization, but really felt like the organization needed to be more open. As a protest, Ned rescinded his affiliation with the scout’s organization and returned his badges, including his prestigious Eagle award. Due to the organized protest of Ned and other scouts, the scout organization is now more open to all people who want to participate.
Ned’s inspiring speech and challenge to students focused on social justice and inclusion. Ned challenged students to “…reach out to include another student who may not be part of your friends group, who may be alone at lunch or in classes…” Additionally, he asked students if they have recognized when someone has reached out to include another student to back them up…nice words indeed! Special thanks to student leaders and Mrs. Cristi for a memorable presentation.
Parker 8th Graders in Cost Rica
This year, twenty 8th graders made the trek to Costa Rica. The week was filled with activities that included white water rafting, a trip to Arenal and the Poás Volcano, an outing to an organic farm, and a walk in the Monteverde Cloud forest Reserve. The highlight of the trip, according to our students, was a stop at a local elementary school where students visited students and teachers. As part of Eco Club, the Parker students presented a gift to the school donating school supplies for students.
Students used technology to chronicle their trip on the Parker in Costa Rica blog which can be found at: http://parkerincostarica.blogspot.com/. An excerpt from the Parker Costa Rica blog is below. The reflections of students are often heart felt and inspiring… worth a look.
“It blows my mind that today is the last day of this unique and inspiring trip. This week has definitely been a life changing experience, from the dancing and the singing night at a mountain top restaurant to the thrilling ride down a crazy rive ... What was also so new to me was seeing and hearing Spanish wherever you go. Which gave us a bit of a game of trying to translate and talk to others in Spanish. On Sunday one of the first days we were out in public at a store, alike to target I remember us spotting candy and going up to the cashier to buy it. But by the time we were up there the lady only spoke Spanish and on the screen the amount was in colónes. So we had at least ten kids surrounding her trying to figure out what she was saying and how much it was in American dollars. That after about five minutes of attempting we just had to put away the candy and meet up with the adults. But today I definitely believe we have all improved greatly in Spanish because we had to adapt or it would have been more than difficult to get around. This experience was rough at some points but I know that I will always remember this amazing trip.”