May 25, 2015
What a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. I hope you all had an opportunity to rest and connect with family and friends. For us, teachers and principals this is a hectic time of year, the weather is slowly changing, and students who have worked hard all year can sense the end. Each year at this time students prepare themselves for the transition to summer and their new grades in different ways. Some hunker down and are focused while others want to slow up a bit before the finish. Overall, teachers and students have been amazing this year working and presenting themselves as engaged and serious about finishing well. In observing classes this past Friday eighth graders were presenting science projects, building mechanized cars in engineering, writing a comparative analysis in social studies, and writing about an influential person in their lives in ELA. Really nice to see at this point in the year, we are exceedingly proud of how the students have progressed this year. You will get a glimpse of this at our Open House on June 4th where 7th and 8th graders will present their work in Student Led Conferences.
Parker Community Day - 2015
On May 9th PTO organized the 10th annual Community Day. The event has changed over the years starting off with a road race and pancake breakfast to the simple focus on beautification and cleaning of the school grounds. This year thirty plus students, parents and faculty spent the morning raking, cleaning and spreading new mulch. We hope you notice, and enjoy the change. Special thanks to Mrs. Leone and Mrs. Tompkins for coordinating the donations and volunteers. A great day had by all!
Transitioning Up – May/June 2015
In the past weeks we hosted the parents of rising sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to talk about moving up to the next grade level, the differences in the schedules, expectations and the changes in the academic work. The common themes in all of the presentations and conversations are that the teams of teachers in grades six through eight are remarkable. They get kids, they are committed to their work, and they have a connection and professional respect for their teacher-teammates. This connection and respect, or chemistry that exists on the teams has created the conditions where students moving up haven’t slipped, but have continued to progress and be challenged at a high level. A change in this years’ parent meetings we included student tours at the end of our presentations. We think that students are the absolute best representations of our work, and they explain so well what it is like to be a sixth, seventh or eighth graders at Parker Middle School. Our seventh grade student tour guides can be seen below.
If you were unable to attend these information evenings, and you have questions please do not hesitate to drop Brendan Norton or me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
PTO Update - May 2015
As we close out the year, and as I reflect on the accomplishments of the PTO, I am again reminded that we couldn’t do a fraction of what we do without the leadership and parent volunteers who participate on the Parker Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). The PTO for the last several years has raised an average of twenty five thousand dollars a year to student support field trips, teachers and teams, presenters that have supported the middle school curricula, visiting authors, the library media center, as well as the fine and performing arts. In the past few years the PTO has had fundraisers that have supported both the PTO and the Understanding Disabilities Organization. This small gesture of support for Understanding Disabilities (UD), and the Arts has been representative of the PTO leadership’s desire to broaden support to organizations that support student learning outside of the classroom. We have been fortunate to have such skilled, capable leaders for the past two years. PTO President, Marianne Tomkins and Treasurer, Christine Powers have been remarkable at refining how we raise and track PTO money. They have also been instrumental in increasing the number of parents participating in and committing resources to the PTO.
Additionally, the PTO Officers and Committee Chairpersons, Heather McCubbin, Secretary, Christine Parks, Newsletter, Stacey Leone and Lisa Keegan, Friday Night Activities and Family Day, Kelley Bedingfield, Publicity, Diane Cohen, Magazine Drive, Janelle Ortiz, Retail Fundraising, Heather Soracco, Family Directory, and Demetra Tseckares-Restuccia and Laura O’Neill, Outdoor and Indoor Beautification have graciously given their time and effort to make Parker a more welcoming, accessible educational community. For all of your work and effort, the teachers, administrators and students sincerely thank you!
If you are thinking about being involved next year we still have open positions. We need a Secretary, and Publicity/Photo Person. Moreover, the PTO Leadership is looking to eliminate the Magazine Drive this fall and to replace the slowing magazine fundraiser with a direct appeal through donations and PTO Membership Dues. This is a bold move, but one that is necessary as the demand for print media becomes less and less. We are excited about this move away from magazine subscriptions being our largest fundraiser. If 80% of the Parker Families participate by simply committing to pay the annual Family PTO Dues of $40.00, we will minimally reach our fundraising goal for the 2015-2016 School Year.
HR and Staffing
It has been a busy spring at Parker with staff taking leave and new personnel filling in as substitutes. Mrs. Fox will be going on Maternity Leave on Friday, May 29th, while Mrs. Peterson will be returning from Maternity Leave on June 7th. Special thanks to Katianne Williams who has filled in for Mrs. Peterson during her leave. Mrs. Williams is very skilled and has quickly distinguished herself as a new teacher with great instincts. Moreover, we have several veteran teachers and faculty members who will be retiring this year. Mrs. Kalmakis, and Mrs. Piantedosi, will be retiring at the end of the school year, while Mr. Gomes and Mrs. Ketlak will be retiring in the fall. Please don’t miss the opportunity to recognize these exceptional staff members. We recommend using the REF Teacher Tribute Program at www.readingef.org. The deadline has been extended until TUESDAY, June 18th. The Teacher Tribute Cards will be delivered at the end of the school year. All proceeds from the Teacher Tribute Program support teacher grants and awards through the Reading Education Foundation.