Upper School Back-to-School 2022-23

Welcome to the 2022-23 School Year!


To-Do Before School Begins: All Upper School Students

student schedule and Calendar:

View your fall and spring schedules in Veracross. In the portal, you can also click on “My Calendar” at the top of the page to view important events and dates.

Textbooks:

First go to Veracross to get your schedule. Students, you should see a link for “Booklist” under Student Links on the right hand side. Parents, under your child’s name, you should see three tabs. “Info,” “Reports,” and “Links.” If you click on the “Links” tab, you should see “Booklist.” Click there to view the specific editions and ISBNs of the books you’ll need.

Full Year Block Calendar:

Click on this link to view; print and keep this crucial scheduling document.

Upper School Handbook:

View the Upper School Student Handbook in your Veracross portal.

Summer Reading Discussion Groups:

View the list of the summer reading groups here.

Off Campus Activities Policy, and All School and Upper School Policies:

When logging into the Veracross portal, click on All School Resources, select Upper School, and scroll down to the “Important Policies” section. Here you’ll find the Off Campus Activities Policy and important all school and Upper School policies for review.

Athletics:

Find information about preseason athletics here. Read the welcome letter from the Athletic Leadership Team here.


To-Do Before School Begins: Parents

Medical Forms and Health Information:

Complete your child’s online medical forms. A fully completed Medical Statement must be on file for your child to participate in athletic activities. To check the status of your child’s forms, log in to your Magnus Health Portal. (Due August 1)

Transportation:

Find information about transportation options here.

Household Calendar:

Logging into the Veracross Parent Portal will allow you access to the Veracross Calendars. Your Household calendar will display important events and dates that specifically affect members of your household. For information on how to subscribe, click here.

The Park School Directory:

The Park School Directory will be accessible through the Veracross portal. In order to ensure we have the most up-to-date information for the directory, please update your information in the Veracross portal by Monday, August 22.

Public Library Card:

For research purposes, all Park students are asked to have a Baltimore County Public Library Card. You do not need to be a resident of Baltimore County to register for a card. Click here to register.

Grandparents:

The Veracross portal includes a section in the “Family Update Form” called “Grandparents.” By updating contact information for grandparents, you will enable Park to share community news periodically, and invite grandparents to future events and other community activities


We look forward to a safe, healthy, and happy school year! Information about our approaches — Covid protocols, potential masking guidelines, etc. — will be shared with families the week of August 22.

Also included in the communication the week of August 22 will be drop-off and pick-up information and other logistical details (building access, etc.). This information will be posted here on the Back-to-School pages for easy reference.


Cafeteria Reminder!

Students can purchase breakfast, lunch, and snacks in the cafeteria using either their student ID card or their ID number. The cafeteria is open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and the Bruin’s Den is open in the Athletic Center from 2-4 p.m. every day. Actual charges are billed monthly in arrears to the student’s FACTS account. If desired, a monthly limit can be placed on the student’s account using the link here. Limits will roll over from year to year.  The cafeteria menu can be found here.

School Supplies Reminder!

As you start your back-to-school shopping, please note that there is no list of prescribed school supplies for Upper School. Your teachers will let you know during the first few days of class of any special requirements; at a minimum, though, you should be sure to bring paper, a quad ruled notebook, writing implements (both pen and pencil), and a TI-83 or TI-84 graphing calculator on the first day of school.


Juniors and Seniors

Driving Expectations (Juniors and Seniors) and Vehicle Registration:

All Juniors and Seniors (whether or not they plan to drive to school) must complete the permission forms (found in your Veracross Portal) by Friday, August 19, 2022.  If you plan on driving to school, you must register the vehicle prior to parking on campus.  The Vehicle Registration form is located at the bottom of the Driving Expectations forms.

(link to Junior Form; link to Senior Form)


Schedule for the First Day of School

Wednesday, AUGUST 31

Advisory – 8:30-9:05 a.m.

C block – 9:10-9:45 a.m.

Assembly – 9:50-10:35 a.m.

B block – 10:40-11:15 a.m.

A block – 11:25 a.m.-noon

E block – 12:05-12:40 p.m.

Lunch

F block – 1:45-2:20 p.m.

D block – 2:25-3 p.m.


Letters from Student Council and Important Information for Students

Dear Returning Upper School Students,

Welcome back! We hope that everyone had a relaxed and safe summer full of growth and discovery. Whether you were working hard at a job or catching up on your favorite shows, we hope you found renewal and comfort. In a few weeks, we will be gearing up for the new school year. We, as your new Student Council, are here to support and listen to you. We are excited to be back on campus with all of you and we are ready to make this upcoming year one to remember.

As students, we know how hard the last three years have been, but we are optimistic for the year ahead. We hope that you continue to explore your interests and passions the same way you did in your previous years at Park. If you’ve enjoyed spending time in nature, join Beekeeping or Hiking Club, and if you’ve enjoyed working with younger students, join the Partners Program. Take classes that interest you; continue to grow as an individual and a student. Let’s enjoy the last bit of summer we have left and anticipate the intellectual challenges we’ll face this year.

The things that make Park most special — the community, the people, and the commitment to learning — are stronger than ever. We encourage you to pursue new experiences this year, whether it be in a class, a club, or something else altogether. Know that we are dedicated to supporting you in any way!

Your workload will be greater, and you will have new responsibilities, as well as more exciting things to look forward to. We hope to make this year more productive through change that you want to see. You, as a part of the student body, are an integral member of life at Park; we want to hear your voice and ideas, and communicate ours to you. We hope you explore the opportunity to run as a senator, or drop in to our weekly Senate meetings. Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Gabe Sachs ’24, President (gabriels24@parkschool.net) 

Kalen Lauring ’24, Vice President (kalenl24@parkschool.net) 

Juliet Sims ’25, Treasurer (juliets25@parkschool.net) 

Margot Kohn ’24, Secretary (margotk24@parkschool.net)

Dear Class of 2026 and New Upper School Students,

Congratulations on your entrance to the Park Upper School! As your Student Council, we write to welcome you to the community and share some of the experiences that helped us adapt to the new environment. We hope that your transition to our community will be smooth, and we will do all we can to support you throughout the process.

Whether you’re coming from downstairs, across the country, or across the globe, we are excited to have you be part of our community. Park is a place in which everyone has the chance to get to know themselves through new experiences (both in and out of the classroom). We hope you consider joining one of the many clubs we offer, some of which include Mock Trial, Debate Club, Park Arts, Robotics, and of course, Student Senate. If you don’t see something that interests you, start a new club!

Many of these activities take place outside of class time. In addition to exploring new things and clubs, we also suggest that you use your free time to set up meetings, get ahead on your homework, join our music groups, or just relax.  

We hope that you find Park’s Upper School both challenging and welcoming. Make sure you get to know your teachers and advisor, as relationships with faculty are an excellent way to ensure your success, whether it be through advocacy, helping you understand a difficult concept from class, or whatever else you may need. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or for help.

We continue to persevere through problems out of our control. Regardless, we are dedicated to ensuring the strength of our community. We encourage you to reach out to us, your peers, and your teachers throughout these strange times. If you find your motivation levels low, reach out to our learning specialist. If you are struggling in a class, set up office hours with your teacher: our best advice for you is to advocate for yourself.

No matter what you’re interested in or how you spend your free blocks, we know you’re going to do great at Park. We are here to support you and excited to meet you at orientation! 

Have a great year! 🙂

Gabe Sachs ’24, President (gabriels24@parkschool.net) 

Kalen Lauring ’24, Vice President (kalenl24@parkschool.net) 

Juliet Sims ’25, Treasurer (juliets25@parkschool.net) 

Margot Kohn ’24, Secretary (margotk24@parkschool.net) 

Information for New 10th and 11th Grade Students

August 5, 2022

Dear Ryken, Gilad, Emerson, Jacob, Asher, Lev, Meena, Lilia, Collin, Grey, Ella, Zach, Jacinto, and Families:

Once again, congratulations on your acceptance to Park School, and welcome to the community. You comprise a very special group of students who are entering Park after 9th Grade. There’s much to learn about how the Upper School works, and we know that the next few months will involve a certain amount of orienting and adapting. But please know how excited we are about what you’ll bring: fresh energy, innovative ideas, and new ways of seeing.  

Still, though, it might be nice to know where your locker is! Fortunately, there are a number of people and resources in place to help you find your way. We have matched you with a “buddy,” a veteran Park student who will get in touch with you before the start of school to answer any questions you have, and then partner with you during New Student Orientation, which will take place from 8 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 30. As you’ll see on the schedule that follows this letter, the eleven of you will have a chance at Orientation to bond as a group, navigate the building and the schedule, learn about co-curricular activities, have lunch with members of your class, discuss the school’s philosophy, and meet your faculty advisors.

Your advisor — whose name is listed on your class schedule — is an important source of support and guidance this year (and every other year). Once the school year starts, you’ll be part of an advisee group composed of five to ten students. You and your advisor will have at least one scheduled meeting together each week, usually with the group, with other meetings occurring informally or as needed. Your advisor will oversee your academic and socio-emotional progress,  help you access resources and activities, provide support and guidance when needed, and act as the primary contact for your parents with the school. 

Parents and guardians, we recognize the importance of this last function for you, particularly as your child makes the leap to Park, and therefore hope you’ll be able to attend Back-to-School Night (Thursday, September 8), which will begin with time set aside for parents/guardians of new students to meet with their child’s advisor. This is a great opportunity for you to find out how the first fews of  transition to Park are going and to establish protocols for staying in touch. We look forward to seeing you there.

Students: when you look at your schedule on Veracross, you’ll notice occasional periods when you seemingly have no obligations. While there is some free time during the day, these blocks also provide important opportunities to meet with teachers for extra help, do research in the library, work on group projects, or get a head-start on homework. They may also indicate blocks when, for example, Parksingers (the Upper School chorus) rehearses, class meetings are scheduled, or when different co-curricular activities convene. You will learn much more about all this during Orientation.

You’ll also notice that your schedule does not show any Physical Education classes. Park requires students to earn six PE credits before graduating, either by playing on an interscholastic team (1 ½ credits per season) or by taking PE classes (1 credit per class) after the end of the school day. You can get in touch with Kate Davidson (one of our Upper School Administrative Assistants) to find out whether you have PE credits left to earn, and to learn about opportunities for doing so. For those of you who did not sign up this spring, sign-up for PE will take place during the first week of school. If you’re thinking about playing on a team this fall, the time is near; please go to Park’s website to find out about the preseason practice schedule by clicking here. Although preseason participation is not required, it is strongly recommended, and expected for any player trying out for Varsity. It is a great way to ease yourself back into the school year.

As you start your back-to-school shopping, please note that there is no list of prescribed school supplies for Upper School. Your teachers will let you know during the first few days of class of any special requirements; at a minimum, though, you should be sure to bring paper, a quad ruled notebook, writing implements (both pen and pencil), and a TI-83 or TI-84 graphing calculator on the first day.

If you have questions about any of the details in this letter, don’t hesitate to contact the Upper School’s Administrative Assistants Lauren Blum (lblum@parkschool.net) or Kate Davidson (cdavidson@parkschool.net). You may also email usoffice@parkschool.net.   

If you have questions or concerns about your schedule that can’t wait until August 30, please get in touch with Dorrie Bright-Whitson, our Registrar (410-339-4104 or dbright@parkschool.net). She will be available to answer questions and solve problems at Orientation as well. We hope you have a wonderful end to your summer, and we look forward to an adventure with all of you this year.

Best,

Traci Wright, Upper School Principal

Allison Ewing, Upper School Dean of Students

Tuesday, August 30 (8 AM-2:30 PM)

TimeActivityLocation
8-8:30 AMBreakfast for all New 10th-12th Graders and BuddiesDavison Lobby
8:40-10 AMWelcome Meeting
Traci Wright (Upper School Principal)
Allison Ewing (Dean of Students)
Dorrie Bright-Whitson (US Registrar)
Robin Cardin Lowe & Dia Clark (Athletic Directors)
Katie Watts (Counselor)
Karyn Fisher (US Learning Resource Teacher)
Akira Townes (Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)
Gabriel Sachs & Kalen Lauring (Student Council President & Vice President)

Distribute information packets with lockers & combinations, schedules, maps, articles, tech instructions, etc.
US Commons
10-10:30 AMTour of the Campus
Seniors
All around
10:35-10:50 AMMeet with AdvisorsMeet in US Commons
11-11:30 AMTech & Internet Safety
Tara Northcott (US Technology Coordinator)
Meyerhoff Theater
11:30 AM-12:30 PMX-block Simulation & Activities Fair
Attend activities fair (athletic center)
Get ID Card photos taken
US Commons, Classrooms,
Athletic Center
12:30-1 PMGrade Specific Lunches
Classmates & class advisors (pizza provided)
Pick-up pizza at Athletic Center

Locations chosen by advisors
1-2 PMGrade Physical ActivityBoys’ Varsity Field
2-2:30 PMTalk Sessions with Park Seniors
Seniors

**Please join us for some Kona Ice in the front parking lot at the end of the day!
US Classrooms, Athletic Center

Information for 9th Grade Students

August 5, 2022 

Dear Members of the Class of 2026 and Families: 

Welcome to the Upper School! With Middle School behind you, the great adventure of high school is near at hand. We are thrilled that you will be joining us and excited about what you will bring: fresh energy, innovative ideas, and curiosity. 

Before ninth-grade orientation arrives, we want to share some of the resources and people who will help you find your way. For ninth graders new to Park, there is your “buddy,” the veteran Park student you met this spring, who will get in touch with you before the start of school to answer any questions you have and then partner with you during Orientation. 

Your advisor — whose name is listed on your class schedule — is an important source of support and guidance this year (and every other year). You will be part of an advisee group composed of five to ten students, some of whom will also be ninth graders. You and your advisor will have at least one scheduled meeting together each week, usually with the group, with other meetings occurring informally or as needed. Your advisor will oversee your academic and socio-emotional progress, provide support and guidance when needed, and act as the primary contact for your parents with the school. 

Parents and guardians, we recognize the importance of this last function for you, particularly as your child makes the leap to high school, and therefore hope you’ll be able to attend Back-to-School Night (Thursday, September 8), which will begin with a meet-and-greet for advisors and ninth grade parents and guardians. This is a great opportunity for you to meet your child’s advisor, find out how the first few days of the transition to Park are going, and establish protocols for staying in touch. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet your child’s teachers and get a sense of what each class will be studying this year. Details Back to School Night will be sent to you in early September. 

We also hope you’ll join us at the Ninth Grade Parent/Guardian and Student Meeting (Tuesday, September 22). We’ll send more information as the evenings get closer; in the meantime, please save the dates. We look forward to seeing you there. 

Students, as you read in the letter from our Counseling and Wellness Department, are available to speak with you at any time and our Learning Resource Teacher, Karyn Fisher, who advises students on organization, study skills, test accommodations, and learning plans, is available to you, too.  And, of course, you have your teachers and us to talk with at any time when you wonder about Upper School, your classes, and the opportunities you are finding here. 

Turning to Orientation, when you join us on Monday August 29 and Tuesday August 30, you’ll have the chance to bond as a group, find (and operate!) your locker, navigate the building, master the schedule, attend an Activities Fair, get to know your class advisors, Grace Gahagan and Jony Montalvo-Román, and a number of older students; and spend one-on-one time with your faculty advisor. 

Your Upper School schedule is located on Veracross. Talking through it with your advisor during Orientation will help launch you for the first day of school. If you study it now, you will notice occasional periods when you seemingly have no obligations. While you will have free time during the day, these blocks also provide important opportunities to meet with teachers for extra help, do research in the library, work on group projects, or catch up on homework. They may also indicate blocks when, for example, Parksingers (the Upper School chorus) rehearses, class meetings are scheduled, or when co-curricular activities convene. You will learn much more about the latter (also known as “X-Blocks”) at the Activities Fair during Orientation, and be encouraged to join according to your interests. 

You’ll also notice that your schedule does not show any Physical Education classes. Park requires students to earn six PE credits before graduating, either by playing on an interscholastic team (1 1⁄2 credits per season) or by taking PE classes (1 credit per class). PE offerings may include activities like yoga, Frisbee, and weight-training and fitness. Sign-up for PE will take place during the first week of school for those students who did not sign up this spring. 

Although preseason participation is not required, it is strongly recommended, and expected for any player trying out for Varsity. It is a great way to get to know peers and older students outside of the classroom, and to begin getting in shape and adjusted to high school. If you’re thinking about playing on a team this fall, the time is near; please go to Park’s website to find out about the preseason practice schedule by clicking here

As you start your back-to-school shopping, please note that there is no list of prescribed school supplies for Upper School. Your teachers will let you know during the first few days of class of any special requirements. At a minimum, though, you should be sure to bring paper, a quad ruled notebook, writing implements (both pen and pencil), and a TI-83 or TI-84 graphing calculator on the first day. 

If you have questions about any of the details in this letter, don’t hesitate to contact the Upper School’s Administrative Assistants Lauren Blum (lblum@parkschool.net) or Kate Davidson (cdavidson@parkschool.net). You may also email usoffice@parkschool.net.   

If you have questions or concerns about your schedule that can’t wait until August 29, please get in touch with Dorrie Bright-Whitson, our Registrar (410-339-4104 or dbright@parkschool.net). She will be available to answer questions and solve problems at Orientation as well. 

We hope you have a wonderful end to your summer, and we look forward to an adventure with all of you this year. 

Best,

Traci Wright, Upper School Principal

Allison Ewing, Upper School Dean of Students

Monday, August 29 (8:30 AM-12 PM)

**Subject to change

TimeActivityLocation
8:30-8:45 AM9th Graders new to Park and their assigned 9th Grade buddies arrive for a meet and greetDavison Lobby
8:45-9 AMBreakfast for All 9th Graders!
(Bagels, juice, and fruit)
Davison Lobby
9-9:45 AMIntroductions and Ice Breaker Activities
Park Seniors, Allison Ewing (Dean of Students), Grace Gahagan & Dr. Jony Montalvo Roman (Class of 2026 Advisors)
Meyerhoff Theater
9:45-10:15 AMClass Meeting
Traci Wright (Upper School Principal), Allison Ewing (Dean of Students), and Dorrie Bright-Whitson (Registrar)

Distribute information packets with lockers & combinations, schedules, maps, articles, tech instructions, etc.
Meyerhoff Theater
10:15-11 AMNavigating the building
Led by Park seniors (mailboxes, sign-in book, lockers, classrooms, people you may need to know, etc.)
All Around
11-11:25 AMUnderstanding Park School culture
Led by Park seniors
US Classrooms
11:25 AM-12 PMLunch
Hosted by Park Class of 2023
(sandwiches)
Cafeteria

Tuesday, August 30 (8:30 AM-2:30 PM)

**Subject to change

TimeActivityLocation
8:30-9 AMBreakfast For all 9th Graders!
(Donuts)
Davison Lobby
9-9:45 AMTeam Scavenger Hunt
Park seniors
All Around
9:45-10 AMMeeting Your Advisor
Advisors
Cafeteria
10:10-11 AMClass Meeting
Traci Wright (Upper School Principal)
Allison Ewing (Dean of Students)
Dorrie Bright-Whitson (US Registrar)
Robin Cardin-Lowe & Dia Clark (Athletic Directors)
Katie Watts (Counselors)
Karyn Fisher (US Learning Resource Teacher)
Akira Townes (Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)
Gabriel Sachs & Kalen Lauring (Student Council President & Vice President)



Meyerhoff Theater
11-11:30 AMTech & Internet Safety
Tara Northcott (US Technology Coordinator)
Meyerhoff Theater
11:30 AM-12:30 PMX-block Simulation & Activities Fair
Eat lunch with classmates (pizza provided)
Attend activities fair (Athletic Center)
Get ID Card photos taken
Pick up pizza at Athletic Center

US Commons, Classrooms,
Athletic Center
12:30-1 PMClass Meeting
Grace Gahagan & Dr. Jony Montalvo Roman (Class Advisors), Allison Ewing (Dean of Students)
Meyerhoff Theater
1-2:15 PMTalk Sessions with Park Seniors
Seniors
US Classrooms, Athletic Center
2:15-2:30 PM
Closing Meeting & Review Opening Schedule
Traci Wright (Principal), Allison Ewing (Dean of Students)

**Please join us for some Kona Ice in the front parking lot at the end of the day!
Meyerhoff Theater

A Letter from the Upper School Registrar

Click here to read the letter from the Upper School Registrar.


A Message from the Counseling and Wellness Office 

Dear Students and Parents, 

Welcome to the 2022-23 academic school year! A new school year is always a refreshing opportunity for new beginnings and this year is no exception. As you may already know, this fall we will be introducing  two new school counselors to the Counseling and Wellness Office. Our new team is committed to continuing to provide the social and emotional programming and support you are accustomed to in addition to bringing new, fresh initiatives and approaches to the office. We have worked diligently to ensure as smooth of a transition as possible for students and families.

The role of our school counselors is to promote wellness, to facilitate student social and emotional development, and to work with individual students and families to address social, emotional and mental health challenges that affect students’ experiences. Here is what you can expect from us: 

  • Meet and Greets: Brief, individual sessions throughout the fall with students who are new to Park. 
  • Park Connects Summits: Our Park Connects parent education program is getting a makeover! We’ve  consolidated these hallmark evenings into one event per division where parents can gather, share, and hear from speakers about the latest and most salient developmental topics for raising healthy adolescents today. Please refer to the Park Connects calendar for your divisional Park Connects Summit date. 
  • Counseling: We will continue to provide confidential, brief counseling support for students and families. Please contact us to request support services at any time. We are not currently able to support requests for students to participate in teletherapy with community clinicians while at school.   
  • Referrals: From our robust professional network, we are able to refer you to community providers for both assessments and longer term treatment. 

We look forward to welcoming you back to campus soon and hope that you will make time to become acquainted with our new counseling team this academic year.  If you or your family have concerns you would like to discuss confidentially before the year officially begins, we encourage you to reach out in late August. 

Warmly, 

The Counseling and Wellness Office


Letter Regarding 9th Grade Math Placement

Dear Incoming 9th Graders and their Parents:

Each year, the math department places incoming 9th Graders into one of three or four levels of math. All classes study an integrated curriculum consisting of algebra, coordinate geometry, and trigonometry.  These classes move at a variety of paces, differing also in depth and level of abstraction. The most advanced class covers many of the same topics, but also covers Euclidean Geometry and some additional topics. All groups study habits of mind for problem solving such as tinkering, simplifying the problem, and representing problems visually and symbolically.

Here is a description of each class:

  • Math 9-1 will move at the fastest pace, touching on algebra, coordinate geometry, and trigonometry, as well as Euclidean geometry and additional topics.
  • Math 9-2 will work from the integrated algebra/coordinate geometry/trigonometry curriculum. This class will move at a brisk pace, assuming comfort with algebra and a high level of abstraction. 
  • Math 9-3 classes will work from the integrated algebra/coordinate geometry/trigonometry curriculum, with more time spent on fundamentals.
  • Math 9-4 classes will also work from the integrated algebra/coordinate geometry/trigonometry curriculum, with some extra support.

At the end of the 9th Grade year, we will have a detailed and individualized understanding of students’ mathematical abilities and progress, which will inform their placement into their 10th Grade courses.  Students will have conversations with their teachers in the spring of 9th Grade about which 10th Grade course is most appropriate for them to take, and if any summer work is necessary. Our goal is to ensure that each student is always in a level that is engaging and challenging for them.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Tom Brown, US Math Chair, at tbrown2@parkschool.net or (410) 339-7070 x4524.

We are excited to begin working with this year’s group of students.  

Sincerely,

The Park Upper School Mathematics Department

PS: Here is a problem you might like to think about before school begins.

You have 25 racehorses. Each horse takes a different amount of time to run a course. You can run five horses against each other at a time. You have no timer, but need to identify the three fastest horses. How many races will it take for you to know the answer?


First Semester Highlights

Click here for a calendar of first semester highlights.