Principal’s Vantage Point — Fall 2016

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Dear Members of the Parker Community:

I hope the start of your school year is going well. I am thrilled to have everyone back for another year of collaboration and growth.  
We have an exciting school year before us and, in the months ahead, I will be sending you periodic updates regarding our progress toward reaching Parker’s strategic goals. 

Here, I aim to give you a view of the school from my vantage point as Principal. My perspective is informed by my many years of engagement with the participatory voices of so many passionate and involved members of our community as well as from our various outreach efforts over the past school year.

Guiding Parker in its ongoing progress are these main strategic goals:

  1. Provide outstanding education through our ever-improving progressive teaching and curriculum for all students in all subject areas.
  2. Create community by expanding access, options and equity for all students to their Parker education.
  3. Establish the necessary administrative, financial and facilities infrastructure to support Parker’s compelling mission and vision for the future.

While each goal has its own distinctive features, all three goals relate to one another as they together support Parker’s mission to educate for democratic citizenship and leadership in a diverse global community. 

Strengthening Parker’s Educational Program (Strategic Goal 1)
Throughout the school, the faculty pays close attention both to the content of what they teach and to the methods they use to teach it. In this Vantage Point Report, I highlight two, among many, examples of impressive faculty collaboration and educational progress. Click here for an update on our Mathematics and TIDES programs.

Strengthening Community by Expanding Options, Equity and Access (Strategic Goal 2)
Providing expanded access to a Parker education for all students is a core value and goal of our school. Ruth Jurgensen, Assistant Principal and Interim Head of the Upper School, leads our team approach to support all students in their efforts to feel included, represented and respected throughout the life of the school, its curriculum and culture. To support our institutional commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and access in the lives of our students, our work involves communicating and working very closely with the adults in our community—faculty, staff, parents and alumni. Click here to learn about teacher Kirk LaRue, the SEED program and other Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives at Parker.

Sustainability Through Strong Administrative, Financial and Facilities Infrastructure (Strategic Goal 3)

As this year opens, we are thrilled to open several campus enhancements to the cafeteria, the Middle School Collab Lab and the college counseling office. In addition, building upon record attendance at last year’s school auction of over 800 people, we look forward to continuing one of Parker’s long traditions, the Cooke & the Colonel Scholarship Dinners, next spring. I invite all of our community to participate in this community building initiative that also raises funds to financially empower our scholarship initiatives.

Also, I want to mention some changes in our administrative team. Parker’s global reputation as a leader in progressive education offers us the opportunity to attract the best talent. We welcome Christian Bielizna to the school as Parker’s Upper School Dean of Student Life who brings a notable 14 years of experience to our community and will work closely with Ruth Jurgensen, Assistant Principal and Interim Upper School Head. That same reputation also provides opportunities for members of our team to seek new opportunities as they advance in their careers. In that vein, Marty Moran has been given the opportunity to be the founding director of a new upper school for the Bennett Day School here in Chicago.  Marty will be leaving at the end of this academic year and starting at Bennett during the summer of 2017. Click here for more Administrative Updates.

I look forward to sharing future developments on these strategic initiatives with the school community as the year continues. As always, I welcome your questions, comments, enthusiasm and support for our school.



Daniel B. Frank, Ph.D.

Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.