September’s Upper Division back to school night started with a round of delighted laughter (and then awwws) as Scott Young and other presenting staff members showed photos of themselves at a comparable age to our students. It then got much more serious when Upper Division Head Ken Rogers opened with a somber poetry-style rendition of Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters lyrics. Ken’s ultimate question “On whom are you going to call?” was then broken down as staff members shared when you might want to call them. (Spoiler: none of them claimed a specialization in ghosts, though the science department might have some experience with slime.)
Ken’s presentation reminded us that The Park School has a large team supporting our children’s school experience. Here’s whom you might contact, and when.
Lower Division Classroom Teachers and Upper Division Advisors: The primary point of contact for families. You can always reach out to them regarding any aspect of your child’s experience at school. They will also help coordinate with other faculty and staff or redirect your question to someone who can better answer it when appropriate. If you don’t know who to contact, contact them first.
Subject Area Teachers: If you have a question or communication about your child that applies only to a specific subject, you are welcome to reach out directly to that teacher.
Upper Division Grade Level Coordinators: An additional resource for upper division families, the grade level coordinator can help with questions or concerns that apply to an entire grade.
Assistant Upper Division and Lower Division Heads: The Assistant Division Heads help coordinate the student life experience, with events like movie nights, morning meetings, the 5th grade sleep-out, or upper division trips. They also help ensure that Park is a safe and comfortable place for every student, and that students are coached on how to interact respectfully with one another. They are the primary contact for questions about behavior on the bus if your child takes school transportation.
Division Heads: The division heads help when questions or concerns remain after reaching out to primary contacts at the school such as classroom teachers or advisors. Their authorization is required if a student needs permission to bring their own food onto campus for medical reasons, to arrange for a planned extended absence, or to walk or bike to and from school.
The Head of School: If a student or family believes they have been the subject of discrimination, harrassment or bullying they may report directly to either the appropriate Division Head or Head of School. The Head of School is also an available resource if academic or program questions remain after following the steps of reaching out first to the subject teacher followed by the appropriate Department Head and Division Head.
The Head of School also loves hearing good news! If there’s something that has gone particularly well and you want to recognize a job well done, the Head of School is a great resource and can be sure to pass recognition along.
DEI Director: The DEI Director is a resource for everybody at the school, and helps coordinate opportunities for our community to understand, support, and appreciate each other more fully. These include Cultural and Heritage months and weeks, opportunities for children to share their own traditions with peers, and student affinity, antiracist working groups, and alliance groups. You might call the DEI Director if you need support or see an opportunity for community building.
School Pass: The attendance application automatically alerts relevant staff members in the event of dismissal changes and absences due to illness. For early dismissal or planned absences, the school asks that you use SchoolPass to notify teachers and the receptionist before 8:15 a.m. SchoolPass eliminates the need to e-mail teachers and after school activity leaders directly regarding dismissal changes or absences.
The School Receptionist: Time sensitive communications like unexpected early dismissal requests or urgent messages for a student during the school day might warrant a phone call to the school’s main phone number 617-277-2456.
Athletics Coaches or Director: Coaches are the first point of contact for any questions regarding a child’s experience on a team, game schedules, uniforms or equipment. The Athletics Director can help when a student wants to switch their activity sign-up or has questions about choosing a sport, or when a family has reached out to their coach and still has remaining questions or concerns.
The Director of Health Services: While absences due to illness should be reported using SchoolPass, you may want to reach out to the Director of Health Services if you have questions about when your child is well enough to return to school. The Director of Health Services also coordinates any medications that need to be taken at school.
The School Counselor and Psychologist: These professionals are here to help with challenges small and large. You might reach out to them for help with anything from routine parenting concerns to larger concerns about students’ social and emotional health and well-being. Their goal is to be warm, welcoming and accessible, and they are here to support families.
The Director of Academic Support: Families of students receiving Academic Support can communicate with The Director of Academic Support about supporting their student’s learning. Families seeking information about learning support or outside testing should contact the Director of Academic Support.
Transportation: Questions about bus routes and stops can be directed to email@example.com. This alias can also be used to arrange for guests to ride the bus. More information can be found in the Transportation section of the portal. Concerns about bus behavior should be directed to the appropriate Assistant Division Head.
The Development Office: Families wanting to give back to the community by volunteering for the Annual Fund, which helps close the gap between tuition income and actual operating cost, or the SPARK Campaign might reach out to the Development Office.
The Executive Chef: If you have questions about your child’s allergies or dietary restrictions as they relate to food service, you might reach out to the Executive Chef in addition to the Director of Student Health. The dining menu is available via the Family Portal.
The Park School Parents’ Association: The Park School Parents’ Association coordinates volunteer opportunities that enable community members to participate in the life of the school. The PA’s activities fall into three categories: Community Building, Student Enrichment and Grants, and Faculty and Staff Appreciation. A full list of events and opportunities can be found in the PA section of the portal. You might reach out to the PA if you would like to join an affinity or anti-racist working group, volunteer in the library, contribute an idea or article for this publication, or ask a question about a PA sponsored event.
If this list seems overwhelming, remember that your child’s advisor or classroom teacher is always available to connect you to the person best suited to help you.
There may also be appropriate times for children to be the ones to reach out directly to school staff for support. Their advisor and classroom teacher are especially good people to help children practice self-advocacy. When in doubt, you can even scaffold the experience by sending a quick email letting staff know you’ve encouraged your child to speak to them.
We are lucky to have so many people supporting our children!