Dear Parker Community,
I hope you and your families enjoyed a refreshing holiday break. Thanks to the energy, engagement and steady effort of students, teachers, staff and parents, Parker is thriving in its mission to educate for citizenship and character.
Character and Citizenship: Parker’s Primary Focus
This year we have heightened our exploration of citizenship and character throughout the school. Like all educational issues, we approach the responsibility of citizenship as a developmental experience that must resonate with students, and adults, across all age groups. We understand citizenship to be more than the act of each person casting a vote as an expression of voice and interest. We also understand citizenship to be a collective commitment to support the development of character among its citizens, empowering both the individual and the community to nurture the necessary emotional, social and cognitive skills required for courageous empathy and collaborative action.
Our shared commitment to connect the development of character with the development of citizenship is central to Parker’s strategic vision to create greater and more equitable access for all children to the excellence of a Parker education. This vision is rooted in the teachings of Colonel Parker who believed that education empowers the individual to do “all in his power to the best good of all.”
This message resonates today as our nation prepares to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King showed us through his words and actions how to understand and appreciate the best of our nation’s values and what people can accomplish for the greater good when working together for the sake of all. In their respective ways and times, both Colonel Parker and Dr. King believed that education should enlighten people with knowledge about equity, inclusion and justice and that education should empower people to act freely and with a sense of shared respect and common purpose. In this way, Parker stands as a vital local and national resource dedicated to educate students, and adults, to be responsible, educated citizens and leaders in a democratic society and global community.
Educating for Citizenship
Across the school, students are engaged in projects that connect with different aspects of citizenship. Here are a few examples from this year to date.
Upcoming Citizen Education Initiatives
School Climate Survey: Later this month, parents and alumni will receive a confidential school climate survey conducted by our DEI consultant, Dr. Derrick Gay. Faculty and staff and students in grades 6–12 filled out the survey in December. The results of the survey will be used to help set the course for Parker’s future strategic diversity, equity and inclusion program development. Dr. Gay’s consultation included workshops with the administration, board, faculty and staff, and 6–12th grade students. In addition, he met with the Parents’ Association and all parent grade chairs and volunteer committee heads in an effort to reach all parent leaders who are in a position to impact the Parents’ Association’s goal to increase inclusivity and parent engagement.
Upcoming Public Events
11th Annual Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence Program presents
Professor Rick Stevens on
The Future of Computing and its Impact on Science and Society
Tuesday, January 30 | 7 p.m.
A full listing of events is available here.
With best wishes for the New Year ahead,
Daniel B. Frank, Ph.D. ’74