The seal of the Packer Collegiate Institute, a pelican feeding her young, and the motto "Macte Virtute" ("increase in worth"), was suggested by Dr. Alonzo Crittenden, the first president, and was adopted by the Board of Trustees on April 24, 1885. The pelican is an ancient church and university symbol.



The Middle School Community.

Lates & Absences

School Nurse


Academic Matters

Student Activities/After School

Behavioral Expectations

Personal Property, Locks & Lockers

School Policies

Teasing and Bullying
Laptops in the Classroom
Smoking, Drugs and Alcohol
Sexual Harassment
Respect for Property
Parties Outside of School

Frequently Asked Questions

Tryout Schedule

Calendar of Middle School Events

Administrative Faculty and Staff

History of Packer

School Library


Welcome --or welcome back-- to Packer's Middle School. We hope you have had a wonderful, relaxing summer and that you enter the coming school year with abundant energy, clear goals, and the determination with which to reach those goals.

The Middle School Handbook is meant to serve as a reference for you. It contains information about policies and programs and includes a full listing of the school's rules and expectations, information on academics, athletics, activities, and awards, as well as answers to the most commonly asked questions. Please review the Handbook with your parents and Homeroom teacher.

If you have further questions, whatever they may be, we hope you will come to see one of us in the Middle School Office. On behalf of everyone on the Middle School Faculty and Staff, best wishes for a successful and exciting 2003-2004 school year.


Your Place in the Middle School Community

The Middle School at Packer has a special community spirit all its own. As you move from the Fifth to the Eighth Grade, from being ten years old to fourteen years old, you will be growing and changing, working, learning, and playing.

You will find that each year is a little different. You will be given more independence in your activities at school and be encouraged to stretch your mind and to discover and expand on your talents. But along with that independence goes more responsibility: getting to class promptly, handing in homework on time, managing more books and materials, and learning how to use your time wisely.

The Director, the Deans of Students, and your teachers will be working with you to help you develop

Middle School Office

The job of those in the Middle School Office is to help make your Middle School years challenging and satisfying. Their jobs sometimes overlap; they are really a team to help you take advantage of the best the Packer community has to offer you.

Your Responsibilities

Be prepared to be an active class participant and memeber of the Packer community. We expect each of you to complete all assignments to the best of your ability, to bring your completed homework, supplies, and textbooks to class daily, and to participate in all homeroom activities and in school wide activities that are designed to promote community.

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Late Arrivals and Absences

Length of School Day: Plan to arrive at school by 8:05 am each morning. You must be in your homeroom by 8:15 am. The school day ends at 3:00 pm.

Lateness to school: You are expected to be in your Homeroom or Chapel with all of your books and materials by 8:15 am in order to be prepared for your morning schedule. The consequences of being late to school are as follows.

In each semesster if you accumulate:

Four (4) late arrival: a lunch detention and parents notified by a letter.

Four (4) additional late arrivals after the first detention: two lunch detentions and parents notified by a second letter.

Four (4) additional late arrivals after the second detention: a week's detention at lunch, the loss of one month's lunch privileges for 7th and 8th graders, and parents notifies by a third letter.

Any additional late arrivals after the third detention will require a conference between the Middle School administrators, the student and the student's parents.

Lateness to class: You are expected to be in each of your classes on time and prepared with the necessary assignments, books and materials. Individual classroom teachers will speak with you about repeated lateness and may give you a work detention. If lateness continues to be a problem, your classroom teacher will set up a conference with the appropriate Dean. Your parents will be notified and may be asked to come to school to discuss the matter. Remember punctuality is part of your effort grade!

If you are detained by a teacher after class, get a note (with time, date, and initials) to give to the following teacher. You may have to remind the teacher that you have another class and should schedule a time during break or after school to talk.

Absence Due to Illness: If you are ill, your parent must call the Middle School Office (718-250-0260) and leave a message on voice mail before 9:15am. You are responsible for making up all work missed during your absence. You must make up assignments and be prepared to take any missed tests within twenty-four hours. Students who are absent at the beginning of the day because of illness or fatigue, may not participate in any sports or play practice after school.  Any exception(s) to this rule is /are at the discretion of the Middle School Office.

Planned Absences: While Packer strongly advises families against taking children out of school except for emergencies, there is a simple procedure by which families may notify the school of such planned absences.  It is the responsibility of the student to note and to complete all homework assignments given during any planned absence.  Several days before the absence, the student brings a note to the Middle School Office, written and signed by the parent, detailing the date(s) and reasons for the absence.  The student will then attach the note to an Absence Notification Form.  The student then takes the note and the Absence Notification Form around from class to class, to be signed by each of the student's teachers.  At day's end, the form and the note must be turned in to the Middle School Office.

Take Your Child to Work Day: The rules for Planned Absences should be adherred to.

Leaving School during the Day: If you must leave school at any point during the day for any reason, you need written permission from a parent. Show the note to the teacher whose class you will be leaving. You must then bring the note to the Middle School Office and sign out in the sign-out book. If you return before the end of the day you must then sign in, in the Middle School Office.

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School Nurse

Students are expected to visit the School Nurse for non-urgent illnesses during their break and lunch times only. If students become significantly ill or injured during school hours, either their parents or guardians or emergency contact persons will be contacted.  No student is allowed to leave the building if they are ill or injured without seeing the School Nurse and receiving a Medical Dismissal Slip.  Front desk personnel will ask to see this slip before the student leaves.

The School Nurse must be notified of any injury that will limit the student's activity or participation in School activities, eg. sprains, fractures, medical illnesses or back injuries.  It is required that a physician's note with the diagnosis, treatment and activity level be submitted upon returning to School.

The School Nurse must be notified of medications that students are taking during the school day.  If the School Nurse will be administering medications, please make sure to bring medication in the original pharmacy container.  This will ensure proper identification and physicians' instructions.  The School Nurse is required to administer medications from the original medication container only.

Parental Absences: When your parents are to be out of town, they should provide the Middle School Office with the name and phone number of those who will assume responsibility for you during their absence.

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Each student in the Middle School is assigned to a Homeroom. Your Homeroom group meets regularly, usually three times a week.  In your Homeroom you will:

Your Homeroom teacher is the person to whom you should feel free to go with any academic and/or social concerns.  (S)he can be your advocate in navigating difficulties within the school.

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Homework, Tests and Quizzes

Homework is an essential part of your learning in the Middle School. Your teachers assign homework to reinforce what you have learned and to help you prepare for class the next day. To be an active class participant you must complete all homework when assigned to the best of your ability. It is your responsibility to get and complete assignments when you are absent. You can get your assignments by logging on to the Packer website (  Open the Middle School Course Conferences Folder and continue to your Grade Level Folder in which you will find another folder containing your Grade's Assignments.

Homework Guidelines: You and your parents should read and discuss these homework guidelines together:

1.   The Middle School Planbook is required for all Packer Middle Schoolers and must be used daily to record assignments.

2.   Parents, particularly those of Fifth and Sixth Graders, are urged to check that all assignments have been completed before the beginning of each school day.

3.   Establish a specific, distraction-free area for homework and study. Most students will work best at a desk in their room; some will work better at the dining room table. The study area should allow sufficient space for you to spread out all necessary materials: pencils, paper, books, dictionary, etc. Supplies and study aids, such as dictionaries, should be kept in one place (e.g. in your desk) where they are easily accessible.

4.   A large wall calendar mounted above your desk will help you to plan and organize time. Use a bold-colored marker to mark major assignments (e.g. book reports, tests, projects) in one color, social or family engagements in another color, etc. This will serve as a reminder so things aren't set aside until the last minute.

5.   Set a regular time for doing homework and studying each day. Don't leave all your work for after dinner. Fifth and Sixth Graders should expect to spend one and a half to two hours studying. Seventh and Eighth Graders two to three hours. Most students can study twenty to forty minutes before they need a break. A timer can be used to regulate study/break time. If you have finished your specific assignments, use the remaining time to review your notes or re-read your text.

6.     Save the last ten minutes of study time for organizing homework in the binder(s), checking that all assignments have been completed and packing supplies for the next day.

7.     Assignments given over a week in advance of its due date require formal notification from parents in order for lateness due to technology to be excused.

8.   Last but not least, make a house rule that when it is study time, it is NO TV, NO RECREATIONAL COMPUTING and NO TELEPHONE time.

Tests and Quizzes: Tests and quizzes will be part of your routine in the Middle School. A test schedule is posted in the Middle School office and in most classrooms, indicating specific days of the week for testing in each subject. This is so you will not have too many tests in one day. However, quizzes may be scheduled on any day, and there may be an increased number of tests at the end of a quarter.

Most of the time you will have advance notice of a test or quiz and can plan your study time in order to be well prepared. If you are absent and miss a test or quiz, you should plan to make it up as quickly as possible. You will be asked to take the test before or after school, during break, or at lunch.

If you are absent prior to a test or quiz, you should contact a fellow student to catch up on information you missed.

Extra Help: If you find that you are having difficulties with class work or completing homework assignments, or would like some extra help, first have a meeting with the appropriate teacher. Schedule it during lunch, before or after school, or during break. If that doesn't help, talk with your Homeroom Teacher, your Dean, or Mr. Eyster in the Middle School Office. Ask for help before the problem gets too big. Teachers are always ready to help, but they do not always know when you need help.

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Academic Matters

Report cards: Report cards will be mailed home at the end of each quarter. (At the end of the first quarter, fifth graders will receive only comments and effort grades.)

Grading System: The following grading system is used for all grades:

A 4.00 93-100
3.67 90-92
3.33 87-89
B 3.00 83-86
2.67 80-82
2.33 77-79
C 2.00 73-76
1.67 70-72
1.33 67-69
D 1.00 63-66
0.67 60-62
0 0-59
Inc. Incomplete          

Effort Grades: In the Middle School, grades are used as a simple way of measuring and communicating a student's level of achievement in a course. The Effort Grade is used as a simple way of measuring and communicating a student's involvement, attitude, and motivation in a course.

At Packer, we hold students to high expectations. All Middle School teachers have agreed on a set of ten expectations divided into three categories that make up the standards which students must meet in order to develop a positive and constructive approach to learning. How successfully students meet these standards in the teacher's judgment determines a student's Effort Grade in a course.

In Middle School most students will meet expectations.  On occasion, a student will exceed our expectation. At times, a student will perform below those expectations or even seriously below those expectations. These four possibilities are how we rank, or respond to, the ten statements of what comprises Effort in the Middle School:

  1. Exceeds expectations
  2. Meets expectations
  3. Below expecations
  4. Seriously below expectations

The eleven statements, and the three categories, are as follows:


[ ]Homework is handed in on time

[ ]Homework is thoroughly done

[ ]Student arrives to class on time

[ ]Student has all appropriate materials


[ ]Student shows good focus in class

[ ]Student is an active participant

[ ]Student uses technology appropriately in the classroom

[ ]Student shows a positive attitude

[ ]Student is respectful of others


[ ]Student takes initiative in seeking help, when needed

[ ]Student makes up all overdue homework or tests due to absence

Comment Writing: Coments for all students will be written according to the following schedule:

Academic Classes, Art, Physical Education, Choral and Instrumental Music Classes: the end of the first and third quarters.

Computer and Health Classes: the end of the semester in which each is taught.

Academic Problems

  • Students who have not been doing satisfactory work will receive an Interim Report during the grading period. "Incompletes" are to be made up within five school days unless other arrangements have been made with the teacher involved and have been submitted to the appropriate Dean. After the five days, or the agreed upon time, the incomplete becomes an "F."
  • Students who receive grades below C may be required to attend summer school, get special tutoring, or repeat a class. In cases of prolonged academic weakness, students may not be allowed to continue into the next grade.
  • A student who receives more than one grade below a C, or who has two or more 3's or 4's during any quarter, or who receives an F in any subject, may be placed on Academic Probation. During the quarter of academic probation, the student may not participate in any team sports or in the school play. Any exception to this rule will be at the discretion of the Middle School Director or the MS Deans. The student's record will be reviewed at the end of the quarter. If a student remains on Academic Probation for more than one quarter, more serious measures may be taken. Failure to be removed from Academic Probation in the seventh and eighth grades may jeopardize the student's acceptance to the Upper School.
  • Students in the seventh and eighth grades who receive more than two 3's in effort or any 4's will lose lunch privileges for the next quarter. The effort record may be reviewed at the Interim, at the discretion of the Dean.

If you or your parents have any questions about your progress or work at Packer, feel free to contact a subject teacher or the Middle School Office at any time during the school year.

Awards: Hard work and good grades do pay off. In addition to feeling pleased and proud of their success, sixth, seventh and eighth graders are eligible for special academic awards. These include:

The Honor Roll is earned by having a B+ average (3.33 GPA) or higher during a quarter.

The Dean's List is earned by having at least an A- average (a GPA of 3.66 or better) and nothing lower than an A- in any subject that meets five times per week

The Seventh and Eighth Grade Class Prizes are based on cumulative grade point average, individual character, and contribution to the Packer Community. The student in both Seventh Grade and in Eighth Grade must have shown sincerity and commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence.

The Tasso Vairamides Award: established by the parents of Tasso Vairamides, a former Packer student tragically killed in 1987. Income from the Fund provides a scholarship awarded each year to a promising Seventh Grader who has shown special ability in the arts and sciences.

The Middle School Merit Awards were established to recognize outstanding contribution to the Packer community in the Seventh and Eighth Grades.

Outstanding Effort Award is earned by Seventh and Eighth Graders receiving a 1 in effort in each subject in each of the four quarters in the school year.

Community Service Award is to recognize outstanding service, not only to the Packer Community, but also to the larger community.

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Student Activities

You can participate in many different organizations and activities, both during the school day and after school. Teachers supervise all organizations and activities.  Many clubs are student-generated.  If you would like to start a club, find a teacher to sponsor it and make a chapel announcement to recruit members.

Community Service Requirement: All seventh and eighth grade students are required to perform three hours of Community Service each semester.  Community Service may be done in or out of school.

Student Government: The Seventh and Eighth Grades elect class officers each year to organize special events. They work closely with their Dean and Head Teachers on issues pertaining to their grade.  The Fifth and Sixth Grades elect two members from each advisory for a Fifth and Sixth Grade Student Council that meets with their Dean to discuss issues and to plan events.

Model Congress: Students learn about the United States Congress and how laws are made by researching and preparing a legislative bill during the year and debating it at a "Congress" with many other New York City schools in April.  Open to Grades 6 through 8.

PCI (Packer Current Items): The school literary magazine, published twice a year, welcomes your short stories, poetry, essays, and illustrations.

Interscholastic Sports: Soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, and basketball.

Music Ensembles: Students who play woodwind, brass or string instruments meet in chamber music groups and rehearse musical selections for performances. Evening concerts and chapel performances are featured during the school year.

Middle School Theater: Actresses, actors, stage managers and theater technicians all are welcome to audition for roles, to assist the director or to help with scenery, costumes, lighting and props. Because of conflicting schedules and the potential for overload, students are strongly encouraged to avoid simultaneous commitments to Sports and Theater productions.  Exceptions may be made with the approval of the Theater director, coach and the student's advisor.

Clubs (Some Current Examples):


All Students are welcome to remain in supervised areas of the school until 4:00 pm. After 4:00 pm, students may only remain at Packer if they are registered in Packer's After School Program, or if they are attending practices or rehearsals for sports teams or theater presentations. There is a fee for the After School Program, which enables students to use the Library, Garden, Computer Center, or Middle School Student Center until 6:00 pm. The After School Program also offers special courses. Information and registration materials are sent out around Labor Day.


Clothing and general appearance must be neat, clean, decent, and appropriate for a school environment. Gym clothing is to be worn only in the gym and locker area.

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Behavioral Expectations

There are only a few rules at Packer, but they are all necessary to support the kind of school environment we want to have. You are to show respect and courtesy toward all members of the Packer community as well as visitors to the school. These behavioral expectations apply throughout the building, in the Garden, and on school trips. Teachers may have to remind you about your behavior. You are expected to respond politely to requests and directions from all faculty and staff at Packer - not just the ones you know.

If you behave inappropriately, you may receive a warning or a detention. Continuing problems or serious misconduct will result in disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion. Serious misconduct includes dishonesty; insensitivity to others; theft; vandalism; possession, sale and/or use of drugs and liquor; smoking on school grounds or trips; and plagiarism.

The atmosphere we expect:

In classrooms- promptness, attentive behavior, raising your hand and waiting to be called on before answering, respect for your classmates, involvement in the learning process, and consistent completion of homework.  Gum is not allowed.

In the hallways, Lunchroom, and building at large- respect for school property, regard for small children, no vulgar language, no loud shouting, no running in the halls, no "play-fighting", no food anywhere but in the Lunchroom, except for eighth graders who may eat in the garden.

In Chapel and Meetings-a quiet entrance, sitting with your homeroom and attention to the program, no hats in Chapel, no gum.

In the Library- quiet study, no gum.

In the Garden- During the school day, students may only go to the garden accompanied by a teacher. The entire Packer community shares the garden space, including our very youngest students. To ensure the safety of everyone, these are the rules we have all agreed to follow:

Basketball courts: During Lunch, one basketball court is reserved for Middle School girls and one for Middle School boys.  During Break, the basketball court nearest the main building is reserved for middle schoolers and the other for the upper schoolers.  The schedule for the use of the basketball by Middle School grades is posted next to the doors exiting to the garden. Students may only use the basketball court after 4:00pm if they have checked in with the After School Supervisor.

Balls and ballgames: Use only Nerf soccer balls and footballs Tennis balls and whiffleballs (used for tossing or bouncing in designated areas only) Only one game of football may be going at a time.

Games not permitted at any time: tackle football, kill-the-carrier, frisbee, hardball and softball.

Off limits: Fire escapes, sheds, fencing, trees and planted areas

Imagination Station: The Imagination Station may only be used at Break by middle schoolers; the adjoining lower area beneath the Imagination Station is always off-limits.

Not allowed:

"Walk-man" devices are not allowed in school.

Middle School Family Cell Phone Policy

1) Cell phones may be used only to make outgoing calls to family members.

2) The only places where cell phones may be used are in the Garden and on the front steps.

3) Cell phones must be kept off at all times except when checking messages or when making a call to a family member .

4) The only times students may check messages or make a call is during Break or Lunch and before or after school.

The use of cell phones at Packer is a privilege and all middle schoolers will be on their honor to follow this policy. 

Gum is allowed only in the Lunchroom and hallways, not in classrooms, the Library or the chapel.

Unsupervised Students: No Middle School student is allowed above the first floor during Lunch, before 8:00 a.m. or after 3:30 pm unless under a teacher's supervision.

Elevator: The elevator is OFF LIMITS for all students unless they have a written medical excuse or are carrying large musical instruments (cello, trombones, and horns). If you have a medical excuse, see the Nurse for a pass.

Detention: You may receive a detention for many reasons. Most often, detentions are given for lateness, rudeness to teachers, staff members, or peers fighting; inappropriate behavior in Chapel, class, the hall or the Garden; or eating any place other than the Lunchroom. In the Fifth and Sixth Grades, individual teachers or the Dean will handle detentions. In the Seventh and Eighth Grades detentions will be handled either directly by the teacher involved or by the Dean, who will issue a detention form (a copy of which will be sent home) and assign a "Friday" detention. Seventh and Eighth Graders receiving "Friday" detentions must arrive in the designated room promptly at the beginning of lunch with his/her lunch prepared to study or read quietly.

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Personal Property, Locks and Lockers

Personal Property: Try to avoid bringing valuables and large amounts of money to school. If you must do so, bring them to the Middle School Office for safekeeping. Your book bag must be with you or in your locker at all times. It should not be left anywhere else. If your musical instrument is too big for your locker, lock it in the music storage area. Your gym locker is only for your gym clothes. You should not be in the locker room unless you have a physical education class or practice. (Lost items sometimes turn up at the Hallmaster's desk, in the Middle School Office, or on the shelves by the garden doors.)

Some tips on locks and lockers: Do not remove your lock from the locker; it may get mixed up with someone else's lock. Do not give your combination to anyone except your homeroom teacher. After you lock your lock, spin the dial. Keep your lockers locked at all times!

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School Policies

The following are major Policies of the Middle School.  You are expected to know them and to follow them.

Teasing and Bullying at Packer: The Middle School Approach

Anyone who has watched young children at play recognizes that teasing and bullying don't begin in the Middle School years.  But there is often a new and more potent sense of exclusion during this age, exacerbated by the fact that Middle School students are less inclined to share their pain with the adults in their lives.  The pressure to conform for girls to join informal cliques and for boys, for example, to hold back tears is a powerful force that shapes the lives of these students.  As each of them grows in independence children also struggle to find their place in the class culture, to gain status, to find a friend, and to begin to discover activities and interests that bring them pleasure and self-esteem.

From the perspective of a career in education, I can say unqualifiedly that Packer students represent some of the most thoughtful children I have known.  But there is pain.  There are conflicts.  There is exclusion.

Teasing and Bullying at Packer

Most bullying and teasing takes place outside the classroom: in the lunchroom, in the halls, in the Garden and at home at night when students are logged on the AOL and such.  While there is very little in the way of direct physical altercations, occasionally episodes that begin as "play-fighting" do escalate.  The nature of student teasing tends not to be based on class, racial, or ethnic lines.  Instead, most of the teasing focuses on a student's alleged "stupidity" (calling a student or his clothes "gay") something unfortunately practiced by boys and girls.  Finally, a phenomenon more common among girls is the overt or surreptitious exclusion of a targeted girl from an "in" group.

How Packer Has Responded

In larger group settings, particularly in the Chapel or in advising, the values of the school and the "bottom line" of acceptable conduct are stressed. When we learn of a case in which bulling or teasing has taken place, the students are interviewed by the appropriate adult(s) teacher, advisor, and/or dean.  These interviews may be conducted individually or in varying combinations of the students, and are used to ascertain facts and to discuss why the behavior is not acceptable.  After a first episode, the offending party is given a warning and an appropriate consequence.  It is stated at the time that a second offense will result in the notification of the student's parent(s), and a consequence that may include suspension.

In order to provide greater continuity during those times when students are on their own, we have changed to supervisory structure for Break and Lunch both in the lunchroom and in the Garden.  Whereas we used to have a rotation of teachers in charge, both of these periods now have individual teacher who are there throughout the year, to better oversee and follow through on the social dynamics of the students play.

In locker rooms, Physical Education teachers are now more regularly a presence during the time while students are changing for or from class.

Through the development of the TILOS Project (The Inner Lives of Students), and through the caring person work of every teacher and advisor in the Middle School, we have worked actively and openly as a division to create an atmosphere that seeks to foster inclusion and to address the powerful issues of teasing and bullying.  We have also expanded the role of Health classes in the lives of our students.   The curriculum has grown deliberately beyond nutrition and drug education to encompass issues of psychology, group dynamics, and conflict resolution.  We have added Health classes to every grade in the division and will continue to increase their freguency and impact in the years to come.

What You Can Do to Help, as Parents

Listen.  Provide gentle, encouraging opportunities for your child to talk about how things are going at school.  In general, avoid offering "solutions" as these may add tension.  Instead, simply honoring your child's situation by listening thoughtfully may offer the best support.

Please be sensitive about the process of inclusion in any invitation your child distributes.

Consider limiting AOL in the evening.  As was discussed at the fall parents' meeting, students have now managed to extend their social hours from their arrival at school until they finally log off for the evening.  Downtime, either alone or with the family, can be less engaging, but more beneficial in the long run. 

If your child is being teased or excluded, we want to know.  We will follow up.  The "retribution" many children and parents imagine from the offending party simply does not happen.  Our methods are firm but caring.  It is our conviction that, when a child's feelings are hurt, everyone involved - the child hurt, the child doing the hurting, and those simply looking on have important lessons to learn, about support, about kindness, and about coming to the aid of others.

In the end, we are committed to making Packer's Middle School a caring community, thoughtful, sensitive, and inclusive.  We ask for your assistance.  If your child is experiencing teasing or bullying now or at any point we ask that you contact the child's advisor or dean.  If you prefer, you may call me directly in the Middle School Office at (718) 250-0260.  We will take it from there.  In each episode of pain brought to light, there is a lesson to be learned, and a spirit of inclusion to be reaffirmed.


Laptops In the Classroom:
An Important Policy Statement

In becoming a "laptop school," it is clear that the emphasis is on "school."  In many classes, on any given day, there is almost no evidence that the students have laptops at their disposal.  But just across the hall, or in that same classroom two days later, the teacher will be leading a Power Point presentation or using a Smartboard or the students will be using their laptops for note-taking, for writing and editing, for conducting lab experiments, and of course for conducting research on the Internet.  The world of learning and education hasn't been revolutionized, as some zealots might argue.  But it has been foreer enlarged.  By bringing museum cleections and data bases, the microscopic and the cosmic, into the classroom, the scope of what is possible in a school has been forever changed.

We spend our days with students, and we know intimately the joys and the temptations of life in a Middle School.  If students want to use their laptops more recreationally before school starts, or in the Garden in the late afternoon, we recognize the need for down-time, and honor it. But in making such allowances, we want it to be clear that there is an absolute line of demarcation between free time and class time.  We have established a policy of zero tolerance for the recreational use of the computer during class, and we are hereby notifying you, and see     to enlist you in support of this policy.

Any Middle School student who engages in recreational computing during class (such as checking email, sending an instant message, or heaven forbid playing Godzilla vs. Little B0-Peep) will be sent to the Middle School Office, where they will face the possibility of immediate suspension from school.  Games will only be allowed during school hours during Break and Lunch and only in a designated classroom.

This has emphatically not been a major issue here.  Students in class have been busier than ever, pursuing links and creating projects together.  But we have had two reports from teachers armed with Network Manager (which allows them to monitor every students' computer use) that a student has been off-task, in one case playing a game, in another, sending an Instant Message to another student.  We hope and trust that you share our conviction that such misuse of the computer must simply be eliminated.  We further ask you to speak with your child about this and to underscore the seriousness of our purpose and of the consequences for such misuse. While all of us recognize that it is only a small number of children who might dare to engage in such behavior, we don't want any child or family to feel that they were not forewarned about the seriousness with which we take this issue.  There are ample times during the day for recreation.  Class time is emphatically not to be one of them.

I apologize for the sternness of the Policy-particularly considering the rich and energetic intellectual work all about us.  Our greatest concern is simply that those students who may be most inclined to follow their impulses to misuse their laptops during class may be those who can least afford to do so.  By making the rule absolute and the penalty so serious, our intention is simply to eliminate this temptation as completely as we can.  I hope and trust that you understand and support this intention.

Richard H. Eyster
Middle School Director  

What you present as your own work must be exactly that, your own. Whenever you directly quote, paraphrase, or summarize the words, ideas, creative works, theories or interpretations of others in your own writing, you must credit the source. This holds true for all borrowings, whether they be from a published work or not, or from a computer file or the Internet. Failure to do this is plagiarism and a serious academic offense. Any instance of cheating or plagiarism may result in failure of the exam, test, paper or homework assignment in which it occurs, and possible failure of the course, suspension, or dismissal from the school.  The applies to both a student who copies another's work as well as to the student who knowingly provides work to be copied.  Parents and tutors are reminded to guard against the more subtle insertions they might add to students' work. These are also unacceptable.

Smoking, Drug and Alcohol Policies:

Smoking: Packer maintains, as does the Surgeon General of the United States, that smoking is addictive and dangerous because it can cause substantial health problems.  Middle schoolers are not permitted to smoke or to have in their possession tobacco or tobacco related products when on school property, on school trips, or any other area within school jurisdiction.

Illegal Substances: Middle schoolers may not use, sell, or have in their possession any illegal substance (i.e. alcohol/drugs.)  Use of illegal substances is considered a serious misconduct and violation of trust will have serious consequences.

            Consequences of violating the above policies may include some or all of the following:

                        -parent/school conference with both the parent(s) and student present

                        -loss of sign-out privileges


                        -suspension of expulsion

The Middle School values both the socio-emotional and academic health of its students.  We want our students to seek us out for help regarding any matter that might endanger their health or the health of their peers.  As a Middle School, we are willing to work with the student and his/her family to find the proper means for assessment and care of any problem.

Sexual Harassment: The Packer Collegiate Institute intends to provide a learning and working environment in which all interpersonal relationships are based on respect and dignity and where sexual harassment is prohibited.  Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances and other inappropriate verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  Such behavior interferes with performance and creates an intimidating or offensive environment.  Some examples of sexual harassment include:

Unwelcome touching or other physical contact

rubbing up against

Spreading sexual rumors, including graffiti

Sexist remarks about an individual's clothing, ability, body, or sexual activity

Teasing about sexual orientation, body functions, one's stage of physical development or one's sex in general

Gestures, jokes, pictures and leers.

Students and employees of The Packer Collegiate Institute are responsible for conducting themselves in a manner consistent with the spirit and intent of an environment based on respect and dignity.

If you feel that you are being sexually harassed by anyone, you are encouraged to ask the person to stop the bothersome behavior and report the alleged acts immediately to the Head of the Middle School, a dean, the school psychologist, your advisor, the school nurse, or a teacher.

All reports/complaints of alleged sexual harassment will be investigated, and necessary and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken with any person who is found to have sexually harassed another.  Necessary and appropriate action may include the full range of disciplinary options, up to and including suspension and expulsion.

Respect for Property: Middle schoolers are expected to show respect and consideration for the property of the school and the property of other students. Writing or marking on desks, other students' books or property, Chapel pews, lockers, bathroom stalls or any other surface is not allowed. Lockers, book bags and computers of individual students are private property and may not be opened by other students. Involvement in such activities will result in a conference between the student and the Middle School administrators who will determine the appropriate consequence. Such behavior could result in suspension or expulsion.

Parties Outside of School: Please check school calendar before you plan a social event. Do not distribute invitations in school unless your whole class is invited. Avoid hurting others' feelings. If more than one third of your class is being invited, you should invite the whole class. All parties should be actively chaperoned by parents.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I lose something?
First, retrace your steps to look for it. Then, check the Middle School Office and the Lost and Found on the shelves near the Garden door. Get a friend to help you look. Check the lost and found folder on email.

What do I do if I get to school before 8:05 am?
Students in before 7:30 am must stay in the front office. After 7:30 am you may either go to the Garden or to the Middle School Lunchroom.

What happens if I feel sick or get injured during the day?
The School Nurse is available for help during break, lunch or after school from 3:00-3:30pm. If an emergency arises during class, get a note from your teacher and take it to the Nurse's Office. If the Office is closed, go to the security desk in the front hall. If you feel unable to manage alone, ask a teacher for help. Report any accidents, no matter how minor they seem to you, to the school nurse.

What happens if I have to leave during the day to go to the Dentist or come in late from the doctor?
You must bring in a note and sign in or out in the Middle School Office.

What if I am having difficulties with my classwork or completing homework assignments?
First, have a meeting with the appropriate teacher. Schedule it during lunch or before or after school. If that doesn't help, you can talk with your homeroom teacher, your Dean or Mr. Eyster in the Middle School Office. Ask for help before the problem gets too big! Teachers are always ready to help, but they do not always know when you need help.

What happens if I forget or lose my locker combination?
First, ask your Homeroom teacher. She/he will probably have the combination. If not, check with Ms Whitlock in the Middle School Office. If you lose your lock, you must replace it with a new one. You must report the new combination and serial number to your homeroom teacher and to Ms Whitlock.

Where do I get my transportation pass?
Ms Joan Whitlock is in charge of Metro Cards. Homeroom teachers will distribute them in September and in February.  If you lose your card, there is nothing to be done but wait until a new one is issued the following month. Keep your card in a safe place.

What if I want to bring a friend to school?
Get your teachers' written approval at least one day in advance on a permission slip obtained from the Middle School Office. The permission slip will serve as your guest's pass throughout the day. When your friend arrives, introduce him/her to the Hallmaster, Middle School Director or Dean, and your teachers. All school rules apply to visitors.

What if I am expecting an important message?
Emergency messages from home will be delivered personally.

Where can I make a phone call?
A pay phone is located at the door in the Pratt Building.  Another is located on the stairwell below the Admissions Office. A good time to use it is during recess or lunch. Make sure you always have a quarter. If not, you might be able to borrow one from a friend.

When is the Computer Center Open?
The Computer Center is open before and after school as well as during the school day.

When can I go to the Library?
You can use the Library during recess, after lunch, or after school until 4:00pm Monday through Friday. Students enrolled in the After School Program may us the Library until 6:00pm.

What will happen if I break school rules?
This depends on what you do. Sometimes your teacher will talk with you, and sometimes your Dean or Mr. Eyster will talk with you, and perhaps with your parents. The disciplinary action taken could include detention, limited participation in school activities, disciplinary probation, suspension from classes, or expulsion.

What about lunch?
You will be eating in the Packer Commons, unless a Homeroom Teacher invites you to eat elsewhere. While students are free to bring all or part of their lunches, Packer has an excellent lunch service, offering hot lunches, beverages and snacks at reasonable prices. After eating, you may go to the Garden, Library or stay in the Commons. Eighth Graders may go out for lunch two days a week with parental permission. Seventh Graders may go out for lunch one day a week starting in January, after they have received parental permission. If they forget to sign in or out or if they are late to their next class, they will lose the privilege. Atmosphere in the Lunchroom is expected to be pleasant and orderly.

Backpacks are not allowed in the Packer Commons.
Homerooms are required to clean up each day on a weeklong rotation. However, everyone is expected to be responsible for cleaning his/her own area.

What about Break?
During Break times you may go to the Garden, to the Library, to the Computer Room, or meet with a teacher. You may not go above the first floor without a teacher's permission. During bad weather, you may remain in the Commons or go to a supervised gym. Teachers will advise you which gym is free if one is available.

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Middle School students may choose from a wide variety of sports and extracurricular offerings. Many are ongoing, and membership is open to anyone interested. Others, chiefly sports and theater, may be limited in enrollment and require students to show up for tryouts. These tryouts will be announced in Chapel and posted on the Middle School Bulletin Board. We want to share projected tryout dates with you now, so that you can give some thought to which activities you might be interested in and note in your calendars those dates which might be important to you:


Soccer (Coed) 7-8



10 (3:15pm)

Volleyball (Girls) 7-8



11 (3:15pm)

Soccer (Coed) 5-6



16 & 18(3:15pm)

Basketball Boys/Girls 7-8



21 (3:15pm)

Basketball Girls/Boys 5-6



3 & 5 (7:15am)

Softball/Baseball Girls/Boys 7-8



8 (3:15pm)


Fall Production 5-8


Oct. 7 & 8(3:30pm)

Spring Production 5-8


March 1, 2, 3(3:30pm)

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8.....(10:00am) Orientation Day for 5th & 6th Graders (new and returning)

(12:00) Picnic lunch in the Garden for All Middle School Students
(All students bring your own bag lunch).

9.....First Full Day of classes.

23...Middle School Parent Homework Orientation (8:00am)

26...Middle School Field Day (5-8)


6....Yom Kippur (School Closed)

9.....Reception for Middle School Parents New to Packer (5:45)

Middle School Parent Night (6:30)

13...Columbus Day (School Closed)

17...7th & 8th Grade Dance (7:00-10:00pm)

23...8th Grade Parent Dinner: Introduction to US (6:30pm)

26...Pumpkin Patch Festival Weekend


6...........First Quarter Ends

10.........Comment writing day (No Classes)

13.........Brass/Woodwind Concert (6:30pm)

18.........Orchestral/String Concert (6:30pm)

20.........Middle School Advising Conferences (6:30pm)

27-29....Thanksgiving vacation


4-5....6\8th Parent Conference Day-No Classes-No Packer Plus (6/8th)

4-6....Middle School Play(6:30pm)

10......Choral Concert (6:30pm)

19…..Winter Vacation begins at noon.

(School Resumes Monday, Jan. 5)


13……....PA Skating Party in Prospect Park (6:00pm)

19………Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday ((School Closed)

20-23..…Middle School ERB Week

26…........Second Quarter Ends

29-31........Dance Concert(7:00pm)


5.............MS Parents in Action &endash; grades 7 & 8 (6:30pm)

12.....…..Music Faculty in Concert/Visual Arts(6:30pm)

Faculty Exhibit (6:30pm)

16,17…..Presidents' Week (School Closed)

27.……..7th & 8th Grade Dance (7:00-10:00pm)


1......Foreign Language Week Begins

10....Brass/Woodwind Concer (7:00pm)

12…Spring Vacation begins at 3:00 (School Resumes Monday, March 29)


1.....Middle School Foreign Language Intro to 5th Grade Parents (8:00pm)

2.....Third Quarter Ends

2.....7th & 8th Grade Dance (7:00-10:00pm)

6.....Passover (School Closed)

8.....Good Friday(School Closed)

13...Jazz Band Concert (6:30pm)

14...8th Grade Science Symposium (6:30pm)

15...Orchestral/String Concert (7:00pm)

22...4th Grade Parents Breakfast & Introduction to Middle School (8:00am)

24...13th Annual Model Congress (8:30am-5:30pm)


5-7.........8th Grade Trip (Returns on 5/7)

6-7.........7th Grade Trip (Returns on 5/7)

12-14.....Book Fair Opens (9:00am)

13-15….Middle School Play (6:30pm)

14…...…Maypole Dancing for 6th Graders (1:15pm)

18……...Cello Class Concert (6:30pm)

19……...Choral Concert (7pm)

20……...MS Woodwind Concert(6:30pm)

25……...Violin Concert (6:30pm) (6th Grade)

31……...Memorial Day (School Closed)


7,8..8th Grade Final Exams

7.....Fourth Quarter Ends

10...Moving Up Day Rehearsal (8:30am)

MS Activity Day(10:00am)

8th Grade Prom(6:30pm)

11...Moving Up Day(10:00am) (Pre/MS/LS closes at 11:30am)

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Administration, Faculty and Staff

Head of School

J. Geoffrey Pierson

Assistant to the Head

Alan Bernstein

Adm. Asst.

Linda Hellew

Director, Middle School

Richard H. Eyster

Deans, Middle School,

Fifth and Sixth Grades

Lewis Davis

Seventh and Eighth Grades

Carol Britton

Adm. Asst., Middle School

Joan D. Whitlock


Karen Torres

Business Manager

Sara O'Neill

Director of Admissions

Matthew Nespole- grades 5 - 12

Adm. Asst. Admissions

Kristy Foster

Director of Admissions

Valorie Iason - grades pre-s - 4

Adm. Asst., Admissions

Amy Taliaferro

Director of Development

Lyn Bunis

Adm. Asst. Development

Katie Moisan


Karen D'Attilo


Carlos Prieto, Upper & Middle School

College Guidance

Paul Burke, Lisa Shambaugh

Athletic Director

Richard Domanico


Division Directors:

Pre and Lower School

Carol Schulhof

Upper School

Susan Feibelman

Middle School

Richard Eyster


Department Heads


Debora Pressman


Christina Devitt


Elissa Krebs

Foreign Language

Ann Diederich

Health Education

Dorothy Gurreri


Erland Zygmuntowicz

Learning Specialists

Christine Martin


Judith Jones


Michelle Carpenter-Smith

Physical Education

Richard Domanico


Judy Kemlitz

Middle School Faculty, 2003-2004

Alpert, June

Kubisch, Joan

Azelvandre, John

Levin, Roslyn

Banta, Alden

Lord, John

Baylin, Eric

Mayell, Pippa

Britton, Carol

Moore, Barbara

Chase, Catherine

Nespole, Matthew

D'Attilo, Karen

Nilsen-Doble, Elizabeth

Davis, Lew

Nisselson, Rachel

DeVore, Jennifer O'Neill, Stacy

Diederich, Ann

Pellett, Randi

Domanico, Rich

Pierre, Shane

Eyster, Richard

Reinhardt, Noah

Fontaine, Raquel

Riggio, Paul

Gibson, Katie

Romney-Rosa, Imani

Gravel, Dinah

Rose, Christopher

Gurreri, Dorothy

Rosenblum, Mark

Haakmat, Martha

Seddon, Barbara

Hart, Barbara

Shapiro, Jane

Howland, Jenny

Siletti, William

Jacobson, Kevin

Spraus, Shanny

Jenkins-Braconi, Deborah

Talone, David

Jones, Judith

Tombline, Russell

Klasson, Elaine

Turner, George

Koplowitz, Stephan

Weidner, Monika

Krebs, Elissa

Wood, Joseph

Wright, Tom


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History of Packer

Since 1845, Packer has met the charge of its founders to provide an intellectually rigorous education in a school community, which also addresses the physical, social, emotional, and moral growth of its students.

The Brooklyn Female Academy was founded by, Mr. D.G. Cartwright in 1845 on what was then Joralemon Lane. On January 1, 1853, the building was destroyed by fire. Two days later, Harriet Packer, the young widow of William S. Packer, formerly a Trustee of the Academy, pledged the then enormous sum of $65,000 to rebuild the school on the present site. Out of this gift, The Packer Collegiate Institute was born.

The changing nature of higher education and our urban community has required adaptability, and Packer has responded. Junior College education was offered from the early 1900's until 1972; co-education up to Grade Four was introduced in 1944 in the Lower School and was extended into Grades Five-Twelve in 1972.

Through its rigor, tradition, and impressive facilities, Packer maintains its standing as one of America's leading academic institutions. Our motto, macte virtute, reflects our desire to increase in worth the lives of our students, the communities we serve, and society at large through the quality of our graduates.



The warmth of the past at Packer is embodied in the richness of its facilities. The buildings surround a one-half acre garden. This garden-play area was redesigned in the spring of 1995 and is a unique urban play area.

The main building is a landmark designed by Minard LeFever and built in 1854. It houses most of the Middle and Upper School classrooms, Lower School classrooms, the art studios, the main library, some administrative offices, and the Lunchroom.

To the east of the main building and adjoining it is a wing containing five well-equipped and modernized science laboratories, as well as the original gymnasium now used for some Lower School classrooms.

On the opposite end of the main building is Pratt Hall, built in 1957, which holds two full-sized gymnasia, several classrooms, and a professionally equipped theater.

To the south is the landmark St. Ann's Church, designed by James Renwick in 1866-69 and purchased by Packer in 1969. In the undercroft are the Lower School library and some Lower School classrooms, some administrative offices and the Diversity Center. Upstairs is a spacious studio for the school's exciting dance program. Finally, the former President's home, a handsome residential brownstone standing to the southeast of the garden, now serves as the center for our Preschool program.


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The Bessie Graham Bates Library, located on the first floor, serves grades five through twelve. The hours are 8:00AM until 6:00PM, Monday through Thursday, and 8:00AM until 3:30PM on Friday, except for posted early closings due to faculty meetings.

The Libraries' computerized catalog, containing the holdings of the Lower School Library and the Main Library, is available through the Internet, and may be accessed from the Main Library or any remote location with Internet access 24 hours a day. The Libraries' catalog, online resources, and many useful links can be found on the Main Library's page of the Libraries' web site:


All students are encouraged to use the library for studying, browsing, accessing the Internet, using periodical database (ProQuest Direct) and CD-ROM programs, and checking out library materials during their free periods.

Books circulate for two weeks. In most cases they may be renewed, but must be brought into the library for renewal. Fines are charges for overdue books. Magazines and reference books must be used in the library. Books on reserve for class assignments may be taken out overnight, and returned by 10:30 AM the following morning. You will not to able to borrow library materials if you have overdue books or outstanding fines. Replacement costwill be charged for lost or damaged items.

Eighth Grade students with overdue library materials and or outstanding fines will not be allowed to take final examinations until their records have been cleared.

Student recommendations for acquisitions of books, periodicals, etc. are always welcome and will be honored whenever possible.

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Packer is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools and the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.

The Packer Collegiate Institute admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not, in any way, discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, color, sexual orientation or national origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletics and other school administered programs.