Throughout Park’s 100 years, thousands of people have walked through its doors. During this project we will revisit some of those people and interview them about their time. Ideally we will have one person from every graduation year from 1927 (the oldest living graduate) through kindergarten. We’d then make a short documentary, a website, and an exhibit to be displayed in the school.
We are interested in exploring science at Park from the past 100 years. We hope to accomplish this by researching and interviewing science alumni from the past 100 years (or as far back as possible and using already existing interviews). We hope to compile the interviews and information onto an interactive poster/timeline, potentially
, so that it can be shared with the school.
We will be building a living labyrinth on an adopted lot on the corner of Reisterstown Road and Liberty Heights Avenue. This location was chosen for its proximity to the first Park School in Druid Hill Park. Each year students will select a new kind of plant that will be used to bring the labyrinth to life.
Teachers and students alike often note that Park’s three divisions – Lower, Middle, and Upper – have very different cultures. The values and attitudes of the people are similar in some ways, of course, but the differences are striking. Watch a fourth-grader walk into the Upper School: that expression isn’t just about the size and noise of everything; it’s because the fourth-grader knows she’s looking at a completely different world. Why are the kids behaving that way? Why are they occupying their territory the way they are? Who’s in charge of the space? What’s the purpose of that strange dancing? And any Upper School teacher can tell you that conversations in other divisions can sometimes seem to be in a different language.
In this project we’ll attempt to become anthropologists, studying, recording, and describing the cultures and habitats of Park School. With the help of a Park parent who’s a real anthropologist, and carrying our notebooks and recorders and cameras, we’ll try to uncover the hidden, characteristic patterns of Park and see the divisions in fresh, objective terms.
Archives Online: Posting the Postscript
How cool would it be to have a fully searchable database of the entire archival collection of Postscripts? You could search for a family name or “Vietnam War” or “Park Birthday Party” or “Baltimore schools”… Hang out in the basement for some chill time scanning, proofing, trimming, and uploading issues of the Postscript through the ages. We’ll check out our best mode for working and choose a platform on which to share results. (Wordpress is a front-runner at the moment.) We’ll by no means make it through the whole collection, but once we get a nice model in place, work can continue in folks’ spare time or even as an X-block activity next year. This 212 activity will have a lot of screen-time, which is not for everybody, but if you got this far, it might be for you!
During this project we hope to add a component of community service to the Park athletics. This would involve setting up a program that would allow sports teams to either volunteer off campus or sports clinics.
Classes of the Past
We'd look through the course offerings of the Park School in the past, up until its inception. We'd recognize which courses have disappeared, and question the impetus of their removal. We'd discuss the value these classes added and whether or not it's worth reinstating any.
We are going to explore the idea of creating a larger community garden at Park. We intend to write a proposal to the school detailing the value of having a community farm, the cost, labor and organization involved, and how we could use it. At this point, we belief that group row-farming, and communal work periods would be the most effective model for a Park Farm.
We met with Dan Paradis to discuss a community farm. He said that is it “intriguing”, and definitely not a no-go. Two of his priorities for it, though, is figuring out who will maintain/manage it, which is a significant amount of work. It cannot be facilities. So, one of our top priorities—in our research and planning—is to figure out how/who will manage the farm (plan planting—buy seeds, soil—organize workdays and families, keep tabs on upkeep of plot).
Diversity Class Initiative
For this 2-1-2 project we will explore the diversity intiatives that Park and other schools already have in place. By the end, the goal is to have a writen proposal of a diversity class or elective, ready to present to the board/faculty. To complete this we will study, visit, and communicate with other schools, as well as conduct surveys inside of Park in order to come up with the most well rounded idea.
Documenting the Park Experience
We will be interviewing Park faculty and students of all grades to see what their different Park experiences are. The hope is to make a documentary of it and show it in assembly.
Druid Hill Park Connection
We’d like to reconnect The Park School to its namesake, Druid Hill Park, by learning more about the park and its neighborhood and by doing a small service project. The following are questions we are considering: How did the school in its early years make use of the park? How has the park changed in the past 100 years? What’s the state of the park now? What’s going on with the original school building on Auchentoroly Terrace? (It appears to be vacant.) Does any evidence of the school remain in or around the building?
Exploring Approaches to Education
The purpose of our project is to venture off campus to 4 public and private schools nearby to experience a school day with a host student. After visiting, we hope to regroup and discuss our findings; however, we're not looking to critique the school or point out flaws. Instead, we want to gain a better perspective of what objectives and values the school emphasizes and implements. Then, we'll be able to look at Park's own objectives and see which ones are actually in practice and what makes each school unique and practical.
From Baltimore to Buffalo
Seeing as there are two Park Schools, both progressive and celebrating their centennial year, this project would ideally form a connection with this school. The project would investigate the history and values of progressive education through comparison and discussion of two progressive schools.
Global Education Initiative
The point of the project is to try to connect Park students with students of different cultures living in Baltimore. We are going to plan a day of shadowing between Park students and international students attending Baltimore City Harbor High School who are involved in the English As a Second Language program. Also, looking into our own community, we hope to discuss how Park can help support international students attending Park.
We plan to have plenty of time to debrief and discuss what we've learned and our experiences, and then be able to present our findings to the Park community.
Gender Roles at Park
Our project will attempt to explore gender roles and gender based expectations that people experience now at Park, gender dynamics and raw numbers in the past, and how we can better the experience of Park students (in terms of gender) in the future.
Homework at Park
What is the role of homework in a Park School education? To what extent is homework useful; to what extent is it necessary? What kinds of homework are most useful and necessary? This project will examine the ways that we have used homework in the past, use it today, and should use it in the future.
Making the Outdoors a Greater Part of Our Lives
We want to find a way to get classes outside more by looking at current concerns teachers have about taking classes outside. Then we’d design and build a space that would address those concerns so that teachers could bring classes outside more regularly and take advantage of the property our school is on.
Park offered Manual Training/Shop classes from 1912-1969; we would like to investigate what those classes involved and why Park stopped offering them. We will also look consider what a future shop class might look like and develop a proposed curriculum. Along the way, we will learn some of the fundamental skills – working with tools and materials – of shop class.
Park Cross Country
The purpose of this project is to examine the history of Park’s cross country program. We will uncover this history using old meet results, yearbooks, and interviews with alumni and current and former coaches. Running at some of the sites of Park’s greatest cross country triumphs will be a part of this project, so anyone who signs up should be able and willing to do some running.
Park's Non-Language Foreign Immersion
Our group will be exploring how international immersion contributes to the educationial experience. We want to study how, in the past and present, Park has participated in this and why and how it offered these opportunities to Park students. We would like to explore why international experience might be an integral component of the “School We have in Mind” and to potentially think up ways to cement and expand this component of the Park experience.
Progressive vs. Traditional Education
The point of this project is to deepen our understanding of what a progressive education is, while also gaining an understanding of what it means to go to school at a traditional (college prep) school. While all of us place some value on the progressive education Park provides, there might be some value to traditional education. The project will explore those benefits and how we can better educate students in the future, without losing our progressive nature.
The Park Play
Our goal for this project is to write, rehearse, and produce a short play about Park—something that deals with both the school’s history, and the day-to-day life of the school now. Ultimately, we’d hope to be able to perform the play in assembly or, if we end up creating a longer piece, perhaps in its own evening.
School Spirit and Progressivism
We will look to promote school spirit in the Park community throughout the year and into the future. We will do this by first learning how athletics played, and continues to play a part in our daily lives. As well as learn ways in which we can unify the school, not only with sports, but in general, bring an enthusiasm for the diverse endeavors of the Park community. For school spirit in no way is limited to the disciple of athletics, but instead, its reaches can impact every aspect over our school. In turn producing an overall enthusiasm and excitement for the undertakings of individuals within our community. And it is our true hope that if there is an increase in enthusiasm within the community, we will also subsequently gain a greater sense of unity at Park.
Stress Reduction/Well-Being at Park
Explore ways to improve stress management and increase health and well being for present and future Park students, faculty, and staff. Gather input from group members about causes, effects, and current strategies for managing stress.
This 212 idea is first about playing in the stream – having a great time outside. Then, we’ll learn what we need to do to help preserve spaces like this for people in the future, to learn how it was different in the past, to learn more about the politics and economics of land use, and to also try to lessen our own damage to the environment.
The Song We Have in Mind
We will work to understand the history and motivations behind the Park School song. We will also try to write new Park School songs.
The Woods as a Resource
The idea is to look at our woods as a renewable resource that can be used more actively to support and enhance our program at Park. We envision learning about our woods from the perspective of a forest manager and then putting that sensibility into practice by harvesting local wood to build a set of workout stations along the trails in the woods.
This project will include a study of women athletes across the years and research into how Title IX might have changed their sports experience. We will look into this by online research and oral histories with alumna. We also want to create a timeline that shows events happening in Baltimore and the United States as they relate specifically to the lives of female student athletes and coaches at Park. We hope to pursue some of these questions:
1. Did women excel in any one sport over another at any time in the school’s history? (i.e. Was there great participation in field hockey, for example, in the 1940s? and so on…)
2. How did women’s sports offerings grow or change over the years? Did Title IX encourage more women to participate?
3. How did the athletic program help/support the academic program?
4. Were women’s coaches considered “progressive” coaches? What was the style of coaching?
5. How did the uniforms change over the years?
The objective of the project is to plan how the old Park building in the Druid Hill neighborhood could be used to enrich the Park school community. The goal would be to create an environment where Park classes could go to study in an urban space. Hopefully the space would enable a community service based class at Park and partnerships could be formed with the Baltimore Zoo, Sandtown Habitat, among other organizations in the area. Lastly, the building would be hopefully used at some point as a community center for kids in the Druid Hill neighborhood, and Park kids could go and run after school programs.