Why Choose the Robert C. Parker School

Parker is Progressive

Parker practices a progressive model of education. We begin with the student's own experiences and use active learning to promote deep thinking. By asking students to experience, not learn by rote, we encourage independence of thought, and emphasize critical thinking and problem-solving. Our students are motivated to learn basic skills and competencies because the learning is meaningful to them.

Parker Personalizes

Students are well known by their teachers, enabling teachers to individualize students' programs and fostering mutual respect and closeness. As they make active choices about learning, students and teachers create a democratic community that is responsive to individual learning styles and strengths. Throughout the program, Parker teachers design learning environments and experiences that identify the starting point for each learner and then guide them toward their next goals. We do this through a creative and collaborative process using thematic learning that responds to the interests and developmental level of each student. Enter a Parker classroom and you will see students working with each other and their teachers in solving problems, editing research projects and presentations, and tackling big questions.

Parker Prepares

We believe that students flourish in an environment that provides emotional security and intellectual vibrancy. Because they have been given choice and agency in the formative years of their education, our graduates continue to love learning and be flexible thinkers in high school, college and career.

Educated with thoughtfulness and care, our students emerge as ethical and engaged members of society who take responsible action in caring for themselves, the community and society as a whole.

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Parker History

Robert C. Parker School was founded in 1991 by parents and educators from The Children's School at Emma Willard who were interested in creating a progressive school for students in grades four to eight. In the early years, the school's home was the town hall building in Wynantskill. In the fall of 1997, kindergarten through grade three were added.

In September 1998, the school moved to its permanent home on 77 acres of meadows and forest in North Greenbush and expanded again to include a preschool program for three- and four-year-olds. In 2017, Parker added the Discovery Center, a 3,000 square foot space containing a new science lab, a music studio, and a spacious lobby gallery area.

A Forest Toddler Program was initiated in the Fall of 2021. The Parker Explorers Wood Shop & a new Maker Space opened in Fall of 2022. The Music instruction and rehearsal room was expanded in 2023 to accommodate enrollment growth. A new Pond-side Yurt & large deck were added overlooking the pond in the Fall of 2023 to be used as an additional outdoor/indoor classroom space for all grades and Forest Toddlers. 

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The founders named the school for Robert Curtis Parker, principal at Emma Willard School from 1979 - 1986. Bob Parker embodied integrity, enthusiasm for life, warmth, and energy. He had created a learning environment where children developed mutual respect, a love of learning, and an expectation that learning is exciting, interesting, and fun. Bob Parker was a proponent of multiculturalism and gender equity, and a believer in the importance of public/private partnerships. Robert Curtis Parker died in 1986 in Troy, New York.