Monday, October 6, 2014

Principal Notes

We would like to welcome students and families back to school.  Mr. Norton and I have been preparing for students to return through July and August and always feel a sense of accomplishment and calm when students finally arrive.  The building is a better place with students here participating in their leaning.  In addition to welcoming you back to school, as we progress though the year, if there is anything that you have a question about or we can assist in any way please do not hesitate to be in touch.  Our e-mail addresses are and .

New Faculty Joining Parker in 2014
We had a few positions to hire for this past spring and summer as we have had a retirement, and some moves that have created some openings.  We have been fortunate in hiring sixth grade science teacher, Matthew Williams.  Matthew is a Parker/RMHS Alum and has been teaching fifth grade in Melrose for the last nine years.  He is a graduate of Curry College and Fitchburg State University.  If you would like to welcome Matthew back to the Parker community his e-mail address is   We welcome Ann Rose who will be a substitute for Mrs. Favazza, who is out on leave.  Ann is a graduate of Holy Cross and the University of South Carolina.  If you would like to be in touch with Mrs. Rose, her e-mail is

Caitlin Carter - 8th Grade Special Education Teacher

We also welcome 8th grade special education teacher, Caitlin Carter.  Caitlin has been teaching for the last few years at the Dr. Franklin Perkins School in Lancaster, Massachusetts.  She has experience in elementary and middle school, special education and counseling.  Caitlin is a graduate of Boston University and Salem State University. 

We also welcome paraeducators, David Hart and Kristin Mahoney.  They will be working in the seventh and eight grades.  David Hart, is a substitue for Peter Dolan this fall.  Mr. Hart recently returnd to the U.S. after teaching at the international school UCSI in Malaysia, and will be working on his Massachusetts teacher certification this fall.  Kristin Mahoney has several years experience working working in special education at the Mary Lyon School, in Brighton.  Ms. Mahoney will also be working on her Special Education and Humanities teacher certification this year.  We are fortunate to have such accomplished new faculty.    

Teachers Teaming and Taking on the Marshmallow Challenge

We opened school this year focusing on the theme of relationships and core values.  The focus on relationships is simple, we feel teaching and learning is relational work.  If we are able to learn about our students as young people, engage them in what they are thinking and presenting to us in the form of work, we will have the best opportunity possible to be effective teachers.  Our core values of Kindness, Community and Personal Best guide us here at Parker in this work.

To get off on the best foot and to put teachers in the position that students are in as learners, staff participated in the “Marshmallow Challenge” at the close of the two professional days to start the school year.  The challenge requires teams to create a free standing structure, with a fixed amount of resources, in a fixed amount of time.  The structure must support a marshmallow at the top of the structure.  I know it sounds easy, but really isn’t. The fun part is watching highly effective, professional teachers struggle to communicate, develop a plan and execute that plan.  The take-aways are many, but in hearing from teachers in the debrief, it was clear that they were thinking and talking more about how this process relates to the learning process and also to activities that teachers are asking students to participate in, in their classes.  The process was a great way to end our professional days and to remind teachers of how challenging teaching and learning can be.   

This design-build activity is an actual activity that is done in professional groups around the world.  If you are interested in finding out more or seeing this process in action check out   

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