Parker PM Resumes Fun

Parker PM After School Activities Begin

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Photo credit: Jacob Boxerman

“Parker PM Resumes Fun — Parker PM After School Activities Begin.” Graphic by Jacob Boxerman.

Harry Lowitz

Parker PM, the Parker after school program, had its first day of programming for the 2020-21 school year on September 9. “We’re happy that we’re having some programming,” Director of After School Programs, Stacie Newmark, said, “but it is very different from what it’s always been.”

Parker PM is still open Monday through Friday to students in Junior Kindergarten (JK) through 5th grade who are on campus despite the COVID-19 pandemic. But this year the program will be more “structured,” instead of students dropping by whenever they would like to.

“We’re encouraging people to not use the program unless they have a specific and regular after school need,” Newmark said. There are usually 70 to 80 students registered for Parker PM. Forty students are registered this year and most are registered for the full five days.

Parker PM now starts at 2 p.m., which is the new end of the school day for Lower and Intermediate School students. Students can get picked up at 6 p.m. or they can leave at the new dismissal time, 4:30 p.m.

Parker PM usually took place primarily in the Parker PM room and the LS Art Room, but they now have to split up the grades as much as they can. JK and Senior Kindergarten (SK) are grouped together in the cafeteria, first grade and second grade are in the Parker PM room, and third, fourth, and fifth grade are in the chorus room. During the day, these spaces are Lower School learning spaces.

A message sent to families regarding Parker PM included the following information about activities, “A typical afternoon in Parker PM might include outdoor supervised games and activities, storytime, group and independent projects with individual supply kits, and quiet space for students who need rest, or time to do homework.”

As long as the weather permits, Parker PM goes outside right at 2:30 when the Middle School is dismissed. Normally, the outside space is busy with sports and other activities, but due to new dismissal times, the field, the courtyard and playground are all empty starting at 2:30.

In order to follow health and safety protocols, you need a lot of hands.”

There are fewer students and fewer staff members at Parker PM than in previous years. However, Newmark is considering hiring another staff member, “in order to follow health and safety protocols, you need a lot of hands,” she says. Currently, four staff members work five days a week, with one additional staff member who comes in for only two days.

“I think it’s going as well as could be expected,” Newmark said, “I think that being outside and able to play on the playground, helps them feel like it’s a little bit of normal.”

Parker PM will also offer a half-hour-long virtual program once a week, run remotely, or students who can’t stay for in-person Parker PM.

Parker Plus is another after school program where students sign up for specific activities and classes. This year, Parker Plus will be starting online after Fall Weekend in late October with fewer offerings. The class options have to be doable remotely, which will limit the possibilities.

“It feels good to be back in this building and see live kids,” Newmark said, “It’s actually been hard but fun to reimagine something we’ve been doing one way for so long.”