What is The Park Fund?
The Park Fund is an annual fundraising effort that is a necessary component of the school’s operating budget, helping to cover the shortfall between tuition income and the school’s yearly operating expenses.
Park Celebration Days are happening during the month of April! The stories below, from our students and faculty, celebrate the incredible teaching and learning at Park. These experiences would not be possible without the support of The Park Fund, which enables the school to support every student, every day. To help inspire participation, Park’s generous Board of Trustees will match each of the first 200 gifts to The Park Fund with $50, starting now. We hope you will consider joining us with a gift by visiting www.parkschool.net/donate. Please know that gifts of any size will qualify for the match, and all gifts make an impact.
April 7 — Lower School
April 14 — Middle School
April 21 — Upper School
This spring, a number of our sophomore, junior and senior students have the incredible opportunity to take a class on the Harlem Renaissance, which covers the intellectual and cultural revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater, and politics centered in Harlem in the early 20th century. While this class has been offered for the past several years at Park, this is the first year it is being taught by Upper School English teacher Sidney Bridges. Sidney’s passion for the Harlem Renaissance developed at an early age through his own studies and through the support of his mother, who was an educator herself. Throughout his career, Sidney has taught similar courses at Friends Academy and Brooklyn Friends School in New York; each class has been based upon the curriculum he developed during his time at Klingenstein Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The class is constantly evolving, based both on his continued studies and based on the students enrolled in the course.
Sidney’s enthusiasm for this subject matter is infectious. His robust knowledge of the time period and the various artists helps students explore texts, images, and music beyond the canon. This class is a way to view the vibrant and diverse concept of the Black human experience. Students have explored the works of James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larson, Countee Cullen, and Wallace Thurman. These artists all consumed each others’ work, having it inform, influence, and inspire their own creations. Historically, students take a trip to Harlem to experience some of the sites first-hand. While Covid prevented travel this year, students were still able to connect with some sites virtually. Sidney also finds opportunities to connect what they are learning in class to current events, including a recent assembly with visiting artist Amos Kennedy, Jr. During the assembly, Amos described the political expectations that come with being an artist, a label he himself finds uncomfortable, something which Sidney connected to Langston Hughes’ “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” in which Hughes and Countee Cullen disputed notions of artistic freedom and responsibility. (Cullen stated his desire to be known as “a poet — not a negro poet,” demanding the full freedom to write as he saw fit.)
Senior Janelle C. ’21 has enjoyed 1920’s literature for some time and was excited to take the class this year. They are in awe of the profound and beautiful culmination of the Black identity in America at that time through music, art, and writing. The variety of artists and the way they have built off one another demonstrates how important art is in establishing identity and conveying the human experience. For their final project, Janelle is choosing two poems from Langston Hughes that they believe resonates with the character in James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, using the poetry to delve into the nature of what it means to be a Black person. They think it is so important to have this class at Park, for students to understand this arts and culture boom in America, especially being taught by a Black teacher. Janelle finds Sidney’s enthusiasm thrilling and refreshing and knows they will take what they are learning beyond the classroom (especially the ever-growing reading list). Thank you to Sidney for sharing his passion for the Harlem Renaissance with our students!
In Grace Gahagan’s History of Baltimore class, students are examining how social relationships and hierarchies have impacted the development of the city since its colonial days. Even before its charter in 1729, the people in power had a huge effect on the layout of and access to the city. Using key events and turning points for context, students have unpacked topics like Jewish identity in Baltimore, ethnic and racial relations as related to the immigration boom of the early 19th century, and the dynamics from post emancipation to redlining (which was first developed in Baltimore) and how we can still feel the effects of those events today.
Guest speakers have also spoken to the class virtually to share their own experiences. In addition to Willard Wright, father to Upper School Dean of Students Traci Wright and Pre-K teacher Linda Butler, students heard from alumnus Thibault Manekin ’96 and current parent Aaron Henkin about the redevelopment of Lexington Market. Considered the oldest market in America, Lexington Market opened in 1782, and in recent years has experienced challenges relating to its infrastructure and a decline in attendance. The redevelopment project, which is headed by Manekin’s Seawall Development, seeks to provide a destination for Baltimore while also serving the Westside community that it supports. For his podcast, Out of the Blocks, Aaron Henkin hosted a series of episodes on Lexington Market, talking to the people who helped make up the building and to Thibault about the redevelopment. Before their talk, students also listened to this podcast. They then asked a number of questions that related to what they have learned in the class and how this redevelopment could affect the city and the Westside community moving forward.
Students are now working on their final projects, which will further delve into one of the topics they have addressed this year. Jake M. ’21 decided to focus on the divide between public and private schools in Baltimore while Katey C. ’21 plans to look at the history of the Mount Vernon neighborhood. Sebastian S. ’21 is looking at Jewish history and identity in the city as it relates to immigration and later migration within and out of the city. He has been interviewing his grandmother for the project and has been interested in seeing how his own family history is lining up within the greater context of Baltimore. Vivie E. ’21’s project examines the origins of the Star Spangled Banner, the role of anthems, and what it represents. Most people do not know that the version we sing today is not the complete version, which includes more racist and colonial overtones. Given that knowledge, we must consider who it was meant for and how it is perceived today.
If you would like to delve more into the History of Baltimore, you too can be a part of the class by listening to podcasts like Aaron’s or reaching The Black Butterfly by Lawrence T. Brown. A special thank you to Grace, Jake, Katey, Sebastian, and Vivie for speaking to us about the class.
After completing their math requirements, seniors Anthony D. ’21 and Sam F. ’21 decided to continue their study beyond Calculus BC. Working with math teacher Katherine Socha, they are currently completing a study in partial differential equations after studying differential equations earlier this year. A partial differential equation is an equation which imposes relations between the various partial derivatives of a multivariable function. Essentially, they express direct relationships between things like velocity, position in several dimensions, time, and the like.
Using the book Introduction to the Mathematical Theory of Waves by Roger Knobel, Anthony and Sam are learning partial differential equations through the lens of linear and nonlinear waves. These wave equations help understand the change and motion of such things as water waves, jump ropes in motion, traffic waves and even how a slinky falls down a set of steps. If you are curious about the math involved in the movement of an awning in the wind, you can consult Introduction to the Mathematical Theory of Waves. A special thank you to Anthony, Sam, and Katherine Socha for speaking to us about their work!
From March 25-April 12, thirteen students in the Senior Showcase displayed their work in the Richman Gallery. The pieces ranged in media and represented just a small fraction of the work they each completed this year. Alexander N. ’21, who describes himself as an artist, seamster, and photographer on his artist website, debuted his Spring/Summer 2021 collection which can be seen here. Although the show has closed, there is still an opportunity to see the students’ work on our website. To see more of Alex’s work, as well as pieces from our other students in the Senior Showcase, please visit https://www.parkschool.net/arts/richman-gallery-davison-lobby/exhibitions/senior-shows-2021. Thank you to Upper School art teacher Christine Tillman for sharing this story with us.
Earlier this spring we had the chance to speak with some of our sixth and seventh graders about what they are celebrating in school this year. We are excited to share their varied interests and give a sneak peek into what they have learned this year. These students are also Bruin Ambassadors and help connect prospective and incoming families to Park. A special thank you to Max, Nico, Kendall, Emmy, Anjy, Katie, and Ryan for sharing!
Although Max B. ’26 only transferred to Park last school year, he says he feels like a lifer (which is Park’s definition for a student who started in Pre-K, formerly known as K1!). While he was initially nervous to come to a new school, he knew Park would be the right fit for him because of the campus and the educational opportunities. This year, he has enjoyed learning about the Pythagorean Theorem and about angles in math, worked on a chem cube for magnesium (read more about that below in the seventh grade science section), and is exploring two-dimensional art processes and techniques in art class. Outside of the classroom, he plays tennis and basketball, and is hoping to reboot the Middle School golf club.
Nico D. ’26 has attended Park since Pre-K. This year she is especially passionate about classes that encourage creativity, such as art and language arts. In art she is working on nature photography, watercolor painting, and pen and ink drawings, while in language arts she has been working on her writing. She mentioned that this year they are studying what it means to write journal entries, which are more casual and personal, versus how to form an essay. Additionally, Nico plays field hockey and is also a part of Chamber Strings, which performs advanced popular arrangements, chamber orchestra, and small chamber group repertoire for a variety of events throughout the school year.
Kendall H. ’27, who has been at Park since fourth grade, cited a number of teachers she has been excited to learn from this year. In Geoff Meyers’ language arts class they have been working on improving their writing skills with short fiction. One of the skills they recently discussed was the idea of “showing not telling,” or how to use your works to help create an image and mood. With math teacher Jennifer Lee, she has been working with fractions and in drama, she is working with Gina Braden to learn improv skills. Kendall is also on Middle School Congress and participated in a recent Middle School trivia group.
Emmy L. ’26 shared a number of projects she has worked on this year. Each project embodies Park’s progressive model, allowing students to pursue their own interests with each subject. Whether that is working on brochures detailing aspects of the Bill of Rights or choosing between drawing or photography in art class. Since she is also interested in being an author someday, she loves language arts class. This year they read Chains and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. In addition to her classwork, Emmy is in Book Club, plays softball, and is the Secretary in Student Government.
Anjy O. ’26 also enjoyed working on the Bill of Rights brochure for Social Studies this year with her teacher Pailin Gaither. Anjy focused on the Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Her explanatory brochure provided important context regarding its history and also highlighted some landmark cases involving the Fourth Amendment. Anjy is also enjoying experiments in science class this year and recently read The Hate U Give as part of Book Club.
One of Katie R. ’26’s favorite subjects this year has been science. She has really enjoyed the hands-on nature of the class and learning how atoms work. She also talked about her work as part of the Middle School Congress. For Valentines they sent messages of kindness and compliments to their peers. Katie also enjoys giving tours as a Bruin Ambassador.
Ryan R. ’27 is a new student to Park this year. He has found the Park community to be welcoming and says all of the teachers are amazing. In social studies, discussions of history and relating the conversations to current events has been a real highlight. He also loves the different ways class projects at Park allow you to learn about a subject. Earlier this year he completed a group project where they created a website that studied Judaism. He also is an avid guitar player and part of the soccer club.
Middle School Science Department Chair and seventh grade science teacher Rob Piper recently celebrated his 25th year at Park School. Before working in the Middle School, Rob spent some time in the Lower School and has helped coach soccer in all divisions over the years. Rob is also the proud parent of two Park alums, Aiden ’11 and Meg ’17. He says teaching is what gets him up in the morning and enjoys being able to work with the small groups at Park. The three years of Middle School science work together as a comprehensive whole. Students begin by studying environmental science in sixth grade, then move to chemical and physical sciences in seventh grade, and finish with biology and life sciences in eighth grade. Rob detailed all the amazing things our seventh grade has worked on already and gave us a look at what else they will be doing the rest of the year.
During this year, students will work independently and cooperatively to analyze data and apply solutions. At the beginning of the school year, the seventh graders spent six weeks studying the recently rehabilitated stream on Park’s campus. Students tested the water for nitrates and phosphates, looked at the ph levels, and studied the water’s turbidity (its cloudiness or haziness). This information was entered into a spreadsheet and classes were divided into groups. Each group had various specialists who gave health reports on the various elements of the water they studied and offered recommendations about the water’s safety and what to do moving forward.
Since then, they have not only completed some experiments in the lab, but they have also produced a number of creative projects that help further demonstrate what they have learned. One such project studied are their chem cubes. Each student chose an element from the periodic table to study. Then using the cube template, they distilled information such as its group, period, and classification, properties, and other facts they felt were important to the study of this element.
And that’s not all — before the end of the year, students will also work on an electricity unit, learn about magnets, and launch a mini rocket. This is only a snapshot of the wonderful work being done in our Middle School science department. A special thank you to Rob Piper for sharing these stories with us and for all that you do for Park students!
Fathim Craven, Park’s Middle School Modern Language Chair and K-12 Modern Language Coordinator implemented a fun and hands-on project to help her students apply what they learned in a recent unit on food and cooking techniques. Since their return from winter break, our eighth grade French students have been studying the various elements of cuisine, including but not limited to fruit and vegetable vocabulary, units of measurement and quantities typically found in recipes, and methods of cooking and baking. They also joined a virtual crepe-making class to further drive home these new terms and ideas.
Building off of this, Madame Craven then asked students to choose a dish from a French-speaking country to research, prepare, and present to their peers. These powerpoint presentations, which were done entirely in French, provided a geographical and historical overview of the region their dish came from and included ingredients and a step-by-step recipe. Along with the recipe instructions, students included photos to illustrate the technique and process and familiarize students with other vocabulary they may not have encountered before. Some of the dishes students created were les makrouts el louz from L’Algerie, la salade de mangue et d'avocat from Les Seychelles, and creme brulee, which was first seen in France as early as 1692. After the presentation, students were encouraged to ask their peers questions to help demonstrate their own understanding of the recipe and the unit as a whole. Questions included, “Pourquoi as-tu choisi ce plat?,” and “As-tu aimé?,” along with clarification about particular terms.
If you have been curious to try some new dishes from French speaking countries, be sure to reach out to our eighth graders for their recommendations. Merci to Madame Craven for letting us speak with her class. Bon appetit!
Do you remember having the chance to do a research project in the first grade? Earlier this year, Ms. Gamble’s class did just that when they chose an environment to study. Many selected the polar region. Students created questions about the region they were researching to guide their work, such “How fast is a polar bear?,” “Where does a polar bear sleep?,” and “Do polar bears fight?” Using books on the app Epic and other resources, students found the answers to these questions and more, and wrote down their findings in their research notebooks.
The class also had an opportunity to speak with Upper School students who participated in the International Student-led Arctic Monitoring and Research (ISAMR) project. The Park School’s branch of ISAMR travels to Churchill on the edge of the Arctic Circle each year to monitor climate change in the subarctic region through generating long term research projects. These students shared their experiences of sleeping in tents, setting up cameras to capture the movement of polar bears, and the specifics of the gear they wore to keep safe during their trip. When asked if they would like to take the trip one day, Ms. Gamble’s class was divided. Some would prefer not to go because of the extreme temperatures, but others would love the chance to potentially see an arctic fox first hand.
Recently, the third grade learned how to calculate perimeter and area in math class. Perimeter is the distance around the outside of a shape, while area measures the space inside a shape. To apply what they learned, Park teacher Sarah Shelton asked her class to create imaginary parks or playgrounds. These fictitious parks could be realistic or completely fantastical, but each student had to demonstrate the area and perimeter of the various elements.
One student chose to create a Tropical Getaway. As you can see from her project, she calculated the perimeter and area of the pool, water slide, snack bar, and cabins for her vacation destination. The work demonstrates that the perimeter of each feature is the sum of all the outside boundaries, while the area is the what is inside the boundaries.
Similarly, another third grader applied the same process to her Puppy Palace. This park has everything she thought her dog would like, including a place to get costumes for your pet.
Remember, if you need any help with your own parks or playgrounds, our third graders can help you out! Thank you, Sarah Shelton, for all that you do for Park students.
Recently our fourth graders completed their unit on immigration, “Immigration: Then and Now.” During this time, students learned the difference between emigration, where one leaves a location, such as one’s native country or region, to live in another, and immigration, where one moves to a non-native country or region. Students discussed why someone would choose to leave their home, whether it was for social, political, economic, or religious reasons. Some key examples include Ireland’s potato famine and religious persecution of Jewish people. Much of this was studied through the lens of Ellis Island, which was the busiest immigration inspection point in the United States. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our students were not able to visit Ellis Island this year, but hopefully the trip will resume in the near future.
Their study of Ellis Island helped inform their final project — creating a story about someone who would have immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island. Each student wrote these stories and placed them inside of their suitcase, which they labeled and decorated for their character. These stories describe why their characters would have immigrated using historically accurate information.
One character, Lucas, for example, traveled from Italy to the United States to be reunited with his mother, who was already there. Unfortunately, right before travel, Lucas’ father passed away. He lied about being with his father when he boarded the ship and made the journey alone. Since children in Third Class were not allowed to eat without an adult present, he also had to sneak into First Class to grab some food off of trays that were left for those passengers.
Another character, name John Hatcher, left Northern Ireland due to financial difficulties. This student also wrote about the health concerns and consequences immigrants faced. John’s mother was almost escorted from the boat because she was believed to have trachoma. Trachoma was one of the leading diseases checked for at Ellis Island, which could be detected by an eye inspection. Thankfully, John’s mother was not sick and was able to travel as well.
These are just two of the many wonderful immigration stories developed by our fourth graders. They now understand why someone would leave their home to come to the United States and the impact that has today. A special thank you to teacher Elise Altschuler for letting us speak to her students about this important project.
Additionally, our fourth graders have been busy at work creating their own podcast. Benny Goldstein ’07, who returned to Park this year as a co-teacher, has a background in audio production and wanted to find a way to bring these skills to our students. Each student has an opportunity to produce a unique segment where they either write an original story or share an interview. In addition to deciding on a theme and choosing sound effects and music, students are also helping to edit the episode. Since the project leans heavily on technology, it has been a great project to work on this year since students can access the materials and program from anywhere. Additionally, the project has allowed for interdepartmental collaboration. Art teacher Allison Penning helped each student design the art that will be featured when the episode goes live.
Listeners will be treated to fictional tales that range from scary to sweet along with true stories about incredible people and places. In an upcoming episode, a student interviewed Mary Sue Welcome, the first Black student admitted to Park, for her episode. They discussed what life was like for Mary Sue during her time at Park, including the sports she played. The student also shared what it was like to record in a sound booth (the microphones pick up noises you would not expect) and how she chose some of the sounds effects for her segment. For example, they will be adding a “heart racing” sound effect to help illustrate her anticipation for Mary Sue picking up the phone call.
If you are looking for something to listen to, episodes of the podcast can be found on the Lower School Community Website linked here.
This year, the fifth graders carried on a nearly 30 year tradition of using monologues from librarian Laura Amy Schlitz’s Newberry Medal Award winning book, Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village, to learn about medieval villages through the life of young people during that time. Each student chose a monologue to memorize and perform. These monologues varied from stories about beggars to stories about the Lord’s daughter. Students analyzed the monologues to determine the setting, mood, and character traits and then studied dramatic techniques from Stanislavski to help them truly become their character. One technique they used was the “As If” method, where they looked at a sentence to determine what the character was feeling. Then, they thought of a moment in their own lives that made them feel similarly and drew on that emotion during their performance. Additionally, students designed costumes and developed unique gestures and inflections that they felt identified the character they selected.
Beyond their incredible performance, each student also created a museum exhibit to help further illustrate the subjects they learned about from their monologues. Depending on their character’s background, they picked subtopics to focus on and present through artifacts their museum. After researching these subtopics, students created artifacts to help illustrate their findings. One student highlighted subtopics in his museum such as power and wealth in medieval times, health concerns, and what medieval villagers ate, while another, who chose Nelly the Sniggler, depicted items that Nelly and her family used when they hunted eels.
If you run into any of our fifth graders, ask them who they picked for their monologue, what they learned about medieval life, and how they became their characters. Also, a special thank you to fifth grade teachers Sharen Pula and Jennifer Rosen for allowing us to speak to their classes about their projects.
The Park Fund makes an extraordinary education possible. Through the generosity of Park School parents, alumni, grandparents, parents of alumni, employees, and friends, The Park Fund impacts the life of every student, every day.
Every gift matters, and every member of our community can help support our students.
You can make an online gift or pledge at www.parkschool.net/donate
You can mail a check to:
The Park School Development Office
2425 Old Court Road
Baltimore, MD 21208
Park accepts gifts of appreciated stocks, bonds, or mutual fund shares. The Park School sells the securities, and all proceeds benefit The Park Fund. Contact the Development Office to learn more.
Many employers offer matching gift programs that increase the value of a donor’s gift. Contact your employer for information.
The Park Fund is an annual fundraising effort that is a necessary component of the school’s operating budget, helping to cover the shortfall between tuition income and the school’s yearly operating expenses.
Gifts to The Park Fund help the school provide everything that is part of the operating budget, including, but not limited to, tuition assistance, faculty salaries, maintenance of fields and courts, lab equipment, and much more. Every part of the Park School experience is supported by The Park Fund.
Each year parents, alumni, grandparents, parents of alumni, and employees are all asked to support this essential effort. Together, the Park community contributes more than $1.5 million yearly.
While gifts that are designated to support particular clubs, trips, and activities are greatly appreciated, these gifts do not support The Park Fund. Unrestricted gifts to The Park Fund help the school where and when the school needs it most.
Since tuition assistance is a major component of the school’s budget, gifts to tuition assistance do support The Park Fund.
This question can only truly be answered by you. We hope that all gifts to The Park Fund will represent a meaningful gift for you personally. The Park Fund is the school’s most important philanthropic priority.
The simplest answer is that the school’s operating budget increases each year because the cost of educating students increases each year.
Donors who contribute to The Park Fund are honored and celebrated through the following Giving Societies:
|OLD COURT ROAD SOCIETY||$50,000+|
|LIBERTY HEIGHTS SOCIETY||$25,000-$49,999|
|AUCHENTOROLY TERRACE SOCIETY||$10,000-$24,999|
|PHOENIX CLUB SOCIETY||$2,500-$4,999|
|EUGENE RANDOLPH SMITH SOCIETY||$1,000-$2,499|
|MARGARET FULTON COE SOCIETY||$500-$999|
|HARRISON TOMPKINS SOCIETY||$250-$499|
|MOORES BRANCH SOCIETY||$100 AND UNDER|
Gifts to the Bruins Society benefit Tuition Assistance. Donors who contribute to the Bruins Society are honored and celebrated through the following Giving Societies:
|BROWN & WHITE FUND||$20,000-$29,999|
|STRIVE ON FUND||$10,000-$19,999|