Assembly Returns!

Snapshot | November 12, 2021
One unique and special attribute of our middle school experience is our 8th grade student-led assemblies. Prior to the pandemic, these assemblies were open to our entire Parker community and held weekly on Friday mornings. Our entire student body attended, along with any parents, grandparents, trustees, or friends who were available and wanted to join.
The power and purpose of our 8th grade assemblies is immediately tangible to anyone who attends. They are the embodiment of how our progressive programming culminates to produce students who are confident, invested, and purposeful in working collaboratively to create something meaningful for others. Leading assemblies helps our students build confidence and public speaking skills. It gives them experience in preparing and coordinating a presentation, while also learning to improvise and respond to an audience in real time. Most importantly, assemblies provide our 8th graders with the opportunity to TEACH. They are the experts in the driver’s seat, and the younger children watching both admire and respect their authority while also internalizing the opportunities that await them as students and leaders. 
It will come as no surprise that 8th grade assemblies were one of the most immediate and profound programmatic casualties of the Covid pandemic here at Parker. Our incredible teachers and students improvised, problem-solving ways to produce and perform virtual assemblies on Zoom. Lots of learning and pride was accomplished in the name of “making due”, but in the meantime we have all longed for the return of our beloved tradition.
Well, we are pleased to announce that in-person 8th grade assemblies are back! Thanks to the perseverance of our students and creative scheduling efforts of our teachers, we have found a way to reconvene for this cherished community time. Our 8th graders are performing live in the gym for individual cohorts at separate times. This has also provided them with the opportunity to examine and scaffold their material so that they are responding in age-appropriate ways to the audience they are performing for. Across all grade levels, their presentations have been enthusiastic and engaging, and they have been greeted with delight and admiration by our younger students. We are thrilled to see our students abuzz again with the confident afterglow of events held by and for each other. 
A return to “normal” may be slow, and our new normal may eventually look different, but it is with joy and intention that we are walking towards that horizon with open arms.
To Protect and Serve
*Please click on the photo below to watch local news coverage of our first Covid-19 vaccine clinic
Our children have shared so many difficult experiences these past two years in school together — from wearing masks to learning online, giving up social traditions to remembering to physically distance while playing. This past Tuesday, many of our Parker 5-11 year olds finally got to share another difficult but hopeful milestone as they were vaccinated against Covid-19. Thanks to Young’s Pharmacy, Parker responded to a majority of our parents’ wishes to have their child vaccinated by hosting a vaccine clinic for this newly eligible group. Students and their families gathered in high spirits, with many school friends choosing to hold hands and enter together to get their shots. Afterwards, the relief among many was palpable, along with hesitant optimism for what their future may now hold. We continue to be grateful for and inspired by our community’s commitment to our students’ safety and future, and we look forward with encouragement for all that is to come.
*Robert C. Parker School follows NYS guidelines and protocols for school safety during Covid.