The curriculum is comprehensive and is based on the assumption that students need skills as well as specific content. All our academic programs teach the study skills that are necessary to master a subject. Technologies including computers, video, and distance learning are utilized, but not at the expense of traditional teaching methods. Tutorials are often a major aspect of a student’s academic program. Meeting individually with the teacher for regular instruction and help sessions reinforces classroom instruction. Tutorial sessions are scheduled based upon need.
Parker Academy offers a full range of curricula meeting NH Department of Education Standards for both middle and high schools and leading to a regular high school diploma (or credits for transfer to other schools). In addition to courses required by the State, there are a variety of electives comprising the curriculum, which is both rich and rigorous. These courses, including such choices as AP French and AP Spanish, AP Calculus, Law, Film, Computer Graphics and Web Page Design have been offered to meet students’ needs and interests.
High school students must earn 21 credits for a Parker Academy diploma; these include the requirements issued by the NH State Department of Education and are outlined in detail in the Parker Academy Student Handbook. Students attending Parker Academy through a special education placement may be working towards a diploma from their sending school. The specific courses to be taken, other diploma requirements to be completed and how credits will be transferred is arranged out by the Individualized Education Plan team during the admissions process. Courses at Parker Academy meet daily for one hour for either a full year (one credit) or a half year (.5 credits). In some instances, quarter credit courses may be offered; these may be concentrated electives to fulfill a specific interest or need or, as in the case of Art, a program integrated into the core curriculum, with specific instruction distributed over a semester or year.
The Parker Academy student-to-faculty ratio is 3:1, with an average class size of five students. Students are grouped heterogeneously and by ability depending on the class. Students from a wider range of ages may be grouped together for all-school activities such as clubs or special interest classes.
Parker Academy promotes balance and wellness in order to achieve personal goals and objectives. Wellness encompasses academic, social, emotional, and personal successes. The purpose of the Wellness program is to teach the students skills in a variety of areas that will enable each Parker Academy student to succeed in school, at home and in life. The following explains the major components of Wellness at Parker Academy.
Wellness is having the academic, social, and emotional strength to achieve your personal goals and objectives.
Academic Achievement: Doing well in classes means providing the type of support and remediation necessary to meet expectations. It also means challenging the student to set higher expectations as they acquire the skills and attitudes that come with success.
Physical Health: Teenagers often ignore this vital component of their life. We believe they are setting patterns for life. In addition, to our required physical education classes, Parker Academy offers a variety of team sports and physical extracurricular activities to meet the needs of our student’s physical health.
Nutrition: Fueling the body with appropriate nutrients is an essential to good health. We ask that parents provide healthy lunches that limit sugar, caffeine and processed food. We only allow water as a beverage and provide healthy snacks in the form of fruit and vegetables.
Fitness: Our Fitness Director offers individual fitness plans to students, faculty and parents. These are integrated into our physical education program, science department and sports teams.
Hygiene: Hygiene is monitored and this includes appropriate dress.
Social Pragmatics: All teenagers need help understanding the complexities of social interactions with peers and adults. We establish community accepted norms of behavior for the school and work in small groups to teach and practice appropriate social skills. Unique to the process is that our School Counselor teaches these skills in the classroom setting bringing neurology to science classes and communication skills to the English classes.
Stress Recognition and Relief: Stress is normal and to be expected. Recognizing what causes stress and dealing appropriately and effectively with it is a cornerstone of our program. Recent brain research identifies how unmanaged stress interferes with learning and causes health problems. We begin each day by practicing “Mindfulness”. This includes teaching the students how to reduce their anxiety by acting “mindfully” of their surroundings and feelings. In addition, we begin each class and meeting with a moment of silence. We recognize how each individual responds to stress and practice different methods of intervention. Creating a calm, structured environment with clear expectations goes a long way to relieving stress.
Counseling: There are a number of components to our counseling program. Each student has a faculty advisor with whom he or she meets on a regular basis to discuss the progress of his or her portfolio and individual concerns. The advisor has weekly contact with the student’s parents. Our PhD-level school psychologist is integrated into our classes, but can also see a student on an as-needed basis. Finally, we have an adventured-based counseling component where students are able to get outdoors into the wilderness for an experiential, group-based retreat. During these retreats, skills, attitudes and motivation are explored as they relate to the individual and the group.
Mentoring: If a student has a particular strength and wishes to share it with other students, he or she has the opportunity to be a mentor. Supervised by a faculty member, the mentor may help out in a class or tutor another student. This helps to build on strengths and enhances his or her overall portfolio.
Parent Workshops: Parent meetings are scheduled on a regular basis for groups of parents who share similar concerns about their kids. These meetings are designed to give parents added tools to help them in raising their child. Experiences and challenges are shared with the group and our school psychologist with the objective of finding solutions.
Physical Education at Parker Academy provides an environment that promotes healthy lifestyles. We give students opportunities to be physically active through activities in which they can learn athletic skills, improve self-esteem and increase physical fitness while having fun. The physical education curriculum also includes learning strategies and rules for activities such as soccer, floor hockey, bowling, volleyball, strength-training, basketball and frisbee.
Many of the physical education activities take place off-campus and allow the students an opportunity to participate in activities without competition.
At Parker academy, fitness and wellness are taught as a part of building essential skills for life.
The goal of the Humanities Department is to develop lifelong learners who will demonstrate enhanced communication skills, subject-area knowledge, appreciation for community, and civic virtue through strength-based assessments. The Humanities curriculum is designed to help students broaden their experiences through reading, listening, and observing; and teach them how to communicate effectively in a variety of forms including oral and written expression as well as digital media.
Students learn and practice the 6 Traits of Writing to improve their ability to compose and critique writing. They build their reading comprehension skills through language-based instruction; and by reading and discussing ability-level appropriate texts. Students also expand their skills through participation in experiential learning activities (hands-on projects, field trips, speakers, presentations, etc.) that illustrate and extend the meaning and soul of the text.
Literature, film, history, world languages, music, studio arts, and even drumming and dance are included in Humanities through the regular curriculum as well as special events and workshops. Our “Night of the Arts” and other happenings provide students a chance to express their creative side. The Humanities classes help students connect their academic experience to their overall decision making. By studying the Humanities, Parker students can become thoughtful and empathetic lifelong learners and community members.
List of Courses:
- Adventure English
- Advanced US History
- Composition and Literature
- English 9
- English 10
- English 11 & 12
- Film Study
- Life Skills
- Middle School Language Arts
- Middle School Social Studies
- Personal Finance
- US History
- World History
- World Languages
- French I
- French II
- Latin I
- Latin II
- Spanish I
- Spanish II
At Parker Academy, the Mathematics and Science curricula flourish under a single departmental umbrella.
The Mathematics curriculum is designed to help students develop an understanding of mathematics as a process for analyzing and solving problems with applications from real life and the sciences. Mathematics is approached as a discipline that requires understanding of fundamental concepts and skills in consumer math, pre-algebra, algebra and functions, geometry and trigonometry, probability and pre-calculus. Each course is intended to challenge each student and to impart sufficient computational ability and content knowledge for success in their next level of scientific or mathematical education.
The sciences span middle school earth science through senior level physics. Besides traditional Health, Biology, Chemistry and Physical Science courses, one semester explorations in Environmental Science is offered. Diverse learning styles are encouraged through exploration of the outdoors surrounding the school, field trips, technology-supported sensors and classroom discussions. The curriculum is heavily research/discovery oriented with a fully equipped laboratory space and mechanical/woodworking shop for widget-building.
List of Courses:
- Algebra I
- Algebra II
- Algebra Applications
- AP Calculus
- Geometry Applications
- AP Biology
- AP Chemistry
- AP Physics
- Environmental Science
- Middle School Science
- Physical Science
At Parker Academy we provide individualized remediation in reading for those students with a demonstrated need for these services. These unique programs are designed after an initial assessment of reading skills and may be coordinated with the student’s IEP. Students receive one hour of remediation four times a week. Progress is monitored on a regular basis throughout the year.
Our reading specialists develop a program based on a student’s particular strengths and weaknesses. We employ a variety of structured reading programs which use a multi-sensory approach and teach to the student’s individual learning style. These approaches are extremely effective with students who have not learned how to read through traditional methods. These may include Orton-Gillingham, the Lindamood Bell Phoneme Sequencing Program (LiPs) as well as Verbalization and Visualization. Other approaches used are Precision Teaching and Project Read Written Expression. We pay close attention to a student’s attitude and motivation and make adjustments when necessary.
Our Reading Specialists are certified and receive ongoing training and professional development to stay abreast of the most current research and programming.
The Department of Fine and Applied Arts provides students with access to a wide range of expressive mediums and processes. Parker Academy recognizes that the arts offer students unique opportunities to practice and cultivate distinct ways of thinking, communicating, reasoning, investigating and knowing. Students are in small classes. This allows us to give them choices and bring their own ideas into making art. At the same time, learning the fundamentals of art is built into their work. This gives them a solid foundation in the essential studio practices.
Students apply understanding of design and aesthetics to making functional objects for everyday use as well as paintings, prints and sculpture. Fine and applied art students have access to and instruction in drawing and painting, printmaking, ceramics, book arts, welding, woodworking and other media. Though process is considered an important piece of the arts experience, students complete a range of projects which have included: ceramic tiles, found object sculptures, self-portraits, hand-built boats and portfolios for art college admissions.
List of courses
- Advanced Studio Art Seminar
- AP Studio Art
- Art Explorations
- Basic Timber Framing
- Building Trades and Light Construction
- College Portfolio Preparation
- Foundations of 2 & 3 Dimensions Art
- Foundations of Studio Art
- Studio Art and Ideas
- Woodworking I & II
Parker Academy’s Connection
Parker Academy has a connection to Plymouth State University as it serves as meeting place for a graduate course offered every spring called “Making Connections: Visual Arts in the Classroom”. The course is offered through the graduate school of the Integrated Arts Department and taught by Deborah Mahar.
“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” – Confucius
Parker Academy’s commitment to student development encompasses all aspects of the individual. Curriculum goes beyond academics, with a focus on music and the arts. The Music Program is an integral part of Parker’s commitment to a complete expansion of each student as a whole. Our recently expanded program includes private instruction, group instruction, a performing ensemble, as well as a Music Appreciation and History.
Private instruction is open to any student who expresses an interest in music. Here, students receive one-on-one instruction daily or once a week. The student and instructor set short- and long-term goals for the student and work over the course year to meet and exceed all goals. Some topics included are chord structure, rhythmic development, theory, proper technique, song structure, vocal performance, dynamics, finger picking, improvisation, and soloing.
Group instruction, while more informal, gives students a chance to interact musically. Students have the opportunity to work on guitar, drums, piano, bass, singing or any instrument they wish to bring to the class.
The Ensemble is geared toward the musically advanced. Each year, the Ensemble selects a group of songs to learn and perform at school functions throughout the year. They also have the opportunity to record a demo in one of New England’s best recording studios (Dizzyland Recording Studio, Rochester, NH). The Ensemble also writes and performs original songs created by the students themselves.
Music Appreciation and History is available for students who have an interest in music, but not necessarily playing or performing. In this format, the class covers the history of modern music, influential artists, major musical events, instrument development and ground-breaking albums as well as covering all genres of music.
The music room at Parker includes a 5-piece drum set, guitar amplifiers, a bass amplifier, piano and a new state-of-the-art sound system.
Students are also offered individual tutoring as indicated above based on a need for specific courses required to make progress towards a regular diploma or to meet individual instructional needs.