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Summer PALS & Employment Opportunities

The core experience of PALS is a 4-week summer session on the Phillips Academy campus in Andover. A typical day runs from 8:50 AM to 3:00 PM. The morning is devoted to math and language arts classes. A sports period at 11:30 PM is followed by lunch. In the afternoon students partake in a variety of educational activities.

Every morning, four master teachers, each with three or four high school-age teaching assistants, instruct the two grades. Each grade is divided in two sections, which in turn are divided into "family groups" of two to three students, taught by the same individual for the entire 4-week session. This close and continuous teacher/student relationship makes individualized teaching possible. And to insure a unified curriculum, teachers and assistants meet daily for half hour before the students arrive to plan, practice, and discuss each student’s progress.

Morning Math Program:

The 7th grade curriculum strengthens math fundamentals and works with percents, fractions, decimals, graphing, and strategies to solve word problems; and the 8th grade again stresses word problems, decimals, percents, and introductory algebra. Daily homework is assigned for work at home every night.

Morning Language Arts Program:

Extensive writing and editing are done at both levels, using word processing methods with a strong emphasis on organization and vocabulary development. We set a goal for each student to read at least two books from the PALS library, a mark surpassed by almost everyone. Students in the 8th grade also work on specific SSAT vocabulary, analogies, and reading comprehension exercises to prepare them for tests they may take in the fall.


During the period before lunch four days a week, students participate in athletic activities, typically basketball, and tennis. Wednesday afternoon is devoted to swimming.

Afternoon Activities Program:

 Each summer there are a variety of "hands-on" experiences designed for the appropriate grade level. For example, this past summer 8th graders were taught interviewing techniques and talked with a large number of adults in the community from various fields, including a journalist, a doctor, a lawyer, and several engineers. All students also become involved in chess--through formal drill, computer aids, and continuing instruction from accomplished chess players--an excellent way to develop patience, problem-solving skills, and an ability to plan with short- and long-term goals. Biological science also has gained a very prominent place in the program, especially through creative activities in the Peggy Corbett Science Center founded in 1999. Students learn to use the scientific methods of observing, asking questions, forming hypotheses, testing assumptions, and collecting and analyzing data. Music appreciation (especially singing) is a recent, popular activity too.

“Girl Talk”:

 With the assistance of one or more trained facilitators, 8th grade girls discuss peer pressure and other teenage issues and learn to take pride in their academic strengths.

Field Trips:

Each Friday afternoon we undertake activities to support and enforce the work in the morning. Activities last summer included orienteering, puppet shows, a trip to Wyeth Pharmaceutics and the Museum of Science in Boston.

Parental and Family Outreach:

Because the investment and encouragement of families are essential to children's growth, we try to stay in touch with parents and family members by phone and through “bus stop chats” during the summer. A special picnic at the end of July gives families an opportunity to celebrate completed student projects, enjoy a musical presentation, and honor their children as they receive awards and prizes. We also meet on two July evenings at the Lawrence Public Library with the parents of the upcoming 8th graders to discuss high school options, costs and potential scholarship options.

Employment Opportunities:

Through the Teaching Internship program, PALS offers positions to those high-school and college-aged students who want a chance to test their aspiration to become teachers, especially at the middle school level. Teaching Interns must be 16 years old before June 26, 2017.

The Teaching Intern role includes the following basic responsibilities, and includes a salary of between $800-$1400 depending on experience:

  • Working 5 days a week, from 8:30am - 4:00pm from Wednesday, June 28th through Friday, July 28th, 2017. This includes attendance at a mandatory orientation session on June 28-29, 2017.
  • Beginning the day at 8:30am with a review of the day's lessons, objectives, and agenda with the master teachers.
  • Welcoming students from the morning bus.
  • Teaching two tutorial periods (usually working with small groups or pairs of students), facilitating a morning snack break, sports, lunch, and afternoon activities.
  • Providing additional classroom support to master teachers, including teaching, supervising students, grading, photocopying, class planning, researching material, and writing student reports.
  • Chaperoning occasional off-campus activities.
  • Taking part in all assigned activities with enthusiasm, and getting to know all student participants.
  • Accompanying the homebound bus at least once during the session.

To apply, visit our online career site and complete an application, including an up-to-date resume.