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Heads Up: Weekly Letters from Tim


Dr. Timothy M. Johnson


"You be you." "Do the small things every day." "I loved Jason's line: 'There are no cookies in this work. Doing it brings satisfaction and happiness in time.'" "When are they coming back to Pingree?"

Our halls and classrooms were filled with these comments and refreshing conversation about social justice, race, privilege, and identity yesterday after an accessible, human conversation with Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, authors of our community read All American Boys. In addition to our assembly, Jason and Brendan attended morning English classes and talked with students in the halls and Commons. They shared the inspiration for their book, talked about their visits to other schools, and encouraged students to forge relationships and talk to each other about their experiences. I encourage you to ask your children about the assembly.

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Dr. Timothy M. Johnson


Happy New Year! I hope you were all able to connect with family and friends and carve out meaningful time for play over the last few weeks. I was happy by Tuesday to steer my own children to school and to welcome your children back to the routines of their productive schedules.

Last year, I offered community resolutions to your children; this year, I empathetically and aspirationally offer ten parent resolutions for our shared consideration, citing the work of Dr. Madeline Levine, author of Teach Your Children Well and The Price of Privilege. The following italicized list from Dr. Levine was referenced in Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy Successful Kids by Denise Hope, Maureen Brown, and Sarah Miles (2015).

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Dr. Timothy M. Johnson


"Fake news" has been a hot topic of late; however, source analysis has long been the bedrock of our academic program. The opportunity now is that the history of the world is ever at our virtual fingertips. Learning to inquire thoughtfully and persistently about authors and sources of content is an essential critical thinking skill that has invaluable currency today. Our students are constantly wading through rivers of information, evaluating what sources and information are worthy of serious consideration. As Meg noted, citing Business Insider, fake news accounted for over one million more shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook than real news for the top 20 election stories between August 2016 and Election Day.

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Dr. Timothy M. Johnson


Consider the cast and crew of She Kills Monsters adjusting to weather conditions for their final performance, or the teamwork of the varsity girls soccer team that led to a thrilling New England Championship victory a week ago. When we analyze their behaviors we discover that leaders at Pingree seldom look "up" to authority. While respectful of authority figures, they seek and display qualities of selflessness, adaptability, vulnerability, tolerance for ambiguity and a lack of control, passion, a sense of humor, skill, and dedication. And after observing a series of service-related announcements this morning, I would also stress kindness and a sense of moral purpose.

Leadership at Pingree requires doing, often publicly and unapologetically. School cultures either sharpen or extinguish this behavior. Pingree sharpens.

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Dr. Timothy M. Johnson


With fear and provocative rhetoric taking over our politics, I woke this morning grateful that we have one another. We are not perfect, we make mistakes, we work diligently every day. Our mission and values at Pingree implore us to take care of each other, to respect each other's identities and struggles, to learn and appreciate our unique stories, and to relish our common humanity to celebrate the differences that make us stronger individuals and a better community.

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