Dear Members of the Parker Community,
As we face the serious challenges presented by the current political crisis in our nation, Parker sees this moment as an opportunity to affirm our commitment to educate our students as growing citizens in a climate of care and respect where all are valued and welcome. At Parker, we open doors to open minds and hearts. We believe education expands vision and deepens understanding about the possibilities of what all people can achieve and experience together.
Grounded in Parker’s strong community of relationships, we aim for our students to grow in self-confidence and skill as they develop the core emotional and intellectual dispositions necessary for active participation as citizens in a democratic society. Together, parents and educators must do all we can to create a mutually supportive partnership that can nurture a school culture capable of engendering in our students authentic and memorable interpersonal experiences of empathy, respect, inclusion, courage and perseverance. With this firm foundation, our students can mature as citizens who know from their own lived experience that diversity and equity in community life fosters the very creativity, learning and inspiration our society needs. And in these difficult times, it is especially important that our students learn how to think for themselves--a cornerstone of democratic life—through exposure to and reflection upon multiple views, and by knowing how to tell the difference between fact and alternative fact, news from fake news, truth from lies.
While much seems uncertain these days, it is safe to say that now, and in the future, our society will continue to need courageous journalists and community-minded entrepreneurs, skilled critical readers and scientific researchers, bold thinkers and compelling artists, resourceful teachers and responsible citizen-leaders. At Parker, we affirm our belief that educating for character and citizenship occurs when students thrive by becoming intellectually curious and culturally competent problem-solvers who listen attentively, seek multiple perspectives, embrace complexity, and who have the insight and courage to stand up for their beliefs and also stand against those who threaten the integrity of our essential democratic institutions and values.
I end this letter by sharing with you an eloquent perspective on educating our students in today’s world offered by our own, John Novick, Head of the Intermediate and Middle Schools, whose own words capture the spirit of what Colonel Parker said more than a century ago: “The children of today are in our hands, whatever we do for them will determine the future.”