At Park, we know our students best thrive when they can learn in the company of peers and teachers, and we responded to the challenges presented by COVID-19 by finding new ways to use our campus resources in support of these guiding principles:
Preserving the health and safety of our whole community
Supporting community connectivity
Affirming our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism
Delivering Park’s mission through our excellent and innovative academic program
While campus looks different than we are used to, we know that Park is still Park. We continue to deliver the Park experience – academic excellence and joy in learning, strong teacher-student relationships, and a committed, caring community.
Our highest priority is the health, safety, and social-emotional well-being of our students, families, faculty, and staff. All our decisions are built on this, including our commitment to remaining flexible and responsive to our community’s needs as circumstances and recommendations change.
Community is central to everything we do at Park. With this in mind, we have worked hard to help Park families remain at school despite financial hardship brought on by global pandemic. And, through our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are committed to making Park a place of belonging for all, working together to support racial equity and anti-racism.
Flexibility and the ability to listen and learn – as a community and as individuals – are the core strengths that will make us stronger as we move forward together.
Park's HYBRId Approach
Grounded in guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Center for Disease Control, and The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Park’s return to campus has been built on the careful reimagining of how we work and learn together on campus in defined clusters.
Park’s classroom-based clusters and grade-level superclusters allow teaching and learning to take place while keeping subsections of the community isolated from one another to protect the health of the group. Clustering shapes all aspects of the school day from the moment students arrive until the moment they are picked up at the end of the day. Community safety depends on our successful commitment to maintaining the integrity of our clusters.
Because the cluster system necessarily limits the ways in which teachers and students can interact, we decided to build our 2020-21 school year on a hybrid model. The schedule creates room for virtual cross-cluster classes and meetings that enrich both academic and social-emotional learning opportunities. Students are able to gather virtually for clubs, affinity groups, music classes, and other important programs essential to both academic growth and overall well-being.
PreK – Grade 8: Four Days on Campus/All-Remote Wednesdays
During their four days on campus, students participate in the full Park experience and take advantage of our 34-acre campus. Every child in PreK through Grade 8 heads outside for recess every day and PE classes often take place outdoors, too. Classroom teachers bring their classes outside frequently, providing an opportunity for mask breaks and a change of pace from social distancing indoors.
Within the classrooms, students and teachers maintain strict social distancing and safety measures; masks are required at all times. In the Lower Division, the primary classroom teacher leads humanities and math instruction in the classroom. School-wide, science, music, and art take place within the cluster. This structure allows students to experience the energy and camaraderie of learning with peers in a classroom rather than alone on a screen even if sometimes that teacher is teaching remotely.
On Wednesdays, students and teachers follow a schedule focused on core curricular content areas that also provides space for social-emotional learning and connection. The hybrid schedule creates the room we need to create cross-cluster and cross-supercluster gatherings in virtual classrooms that will support these essential programs. In the Upper Division, this includes time earmarked for Advisory, Growth Education, and Clubs and Affinity Groups. Lower Division students also look forward to their “Social-Emotional Learning/Wellness Block” on Wednesday afternoons.
Our all-remote Wednesdays also provide a welcome mid-week break from masks and social distancing, while ensuring that students and teachers maintain their comfort with remote teaching and learning – important, given the likelihood that students will need to move in and out of remote learning over the course of the year.
All Remote Wednesdays
Campus Cleaning and Evaluation
With all students and teachers PreK–8 remote on Wednesdays, our Facilities Team can thoroughly clean the building, while Park leadership reviews community health data and evaluates safety measures on campus. In addition, the Wednesday schedule allows teachers and students to keep their remote teaching and learning tool kits sharp, in preparation for the possible need to shift to an all-remote program in the future.
Park's Approach to COVID-19
Preparing for Multiple scenarios
The uncertainties surrounding public health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic will require that our community be prepared for a variety of possibilities. We believe we will be best prepared for new challenges by remaining flexible and adaptable as the situation dictates. While we cannot predict how the coronavirus will continue to impact our community, we will be able to move between a hybrid, remote, and perhaps a fully in-person model while maintaining as much continuity and challenge in the academic program as possible.
The School will be actively monitoring the progression of the disease at the state, county, and local levels as well as within our Park community, and we will make appropriate changes that meet our multiple guiding priorities.