Heads Up: Weekly Letters from Tim

Icebergs, Community, and the Water We Share
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

This has been an unprecedented year of achievement and school spirit; from the House Cup being awarded last Friday to the co-curricular awards program last Thursday, from record-breaking attendance at the winter musical and athletics events to heartwarming support for one another within our community.

And, as I discussed with your children in morning meeting last week, we have also had an increase in community announcements about school values and behavior this year requiring hard growth conversations. There has been an ongoing dialogue about empathy, accountability, confidentiality, and understanding intent versus impact.

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Year-End Details
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

Kudos to our seniors, who finish classes today and depart for their independent projects next week! They are to be commended for their spirited and constructive finish to the academic year, which culminated in a joyful spirit week and celebratory morning meeting today. Because of the Class of 2019's leadership, this has been an unprecedented year of achievement and school spirit, which we look forward to acknowledging in the weeks ahead. For now, the ice cream truck today at lunch (in the rain, of course!) will have to do.

This week's letter is intended to assist you and your children with important year-end details in preparation for an exhilarating final stretch. Below please find notes about year-end events and a list of frequently asked questions. Students are receiving a similar note and will hear details in morning announcements.

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Innovative Germination at Pingree
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

Anna McCoy and I are excited to share a program development that will begin to take root—literally—on our exit drive in the weeks ahead. As an extension of our Framework for the Future, and in support of strategic goals tied to people, pace and place, we will be constructing an extensive community garden. The Pingree Learning Garden will build community as well as connect students to each other and the natural world, allowing for the cultivation of deeper program-rooted relationships across the school and the North Shore, in the dirt and away from screens.

The garden will promote sustainability, academic inquiry, civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and social justice through experiential learning on campus, redefining the limits of a traditional classroom. Anna shared the following rendering and a phase one program outline at our Parent Coffee on Wednesday, and we are now working with students and faculty to determine launch steps. Uses for the garden next year will include "salad days" in the dining commons, a community flower garden for Pingree events, a produce garden for local organizations to fight food insecurity, and a pumpkin patch to host students from Lynn's Tracy Elementary School for a fall festival.

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Laughter and Learning
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

May is here (!) and as we approach the end of the school year, with final assessments and the anticipation of graduation, look closely and you will find that there are as many moments of levity as there are of stress.

Last night, we had our annual student comedy evening, following a wildly popular hypnotist evening last week and student improv performances at a recent all-school assembly. We schedule these moments throughout the year to connect, laugh, and recharge, setting the example that, even while under pressure, there is always time for joy. This goal lives within our school mission, which uniquely features humor as a key tenet.

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Beyond the Walls of the Classroom
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

Yesterday, under sunny blue skies, your children left campus to engage in a day of experiential learning. We schedule these experiences for them to step outside of their routines and meet new people, broaden their understanding of the world around them, expand their learning beyond the walls of the classroom, and have fun! Through our Local L.A.B. (Learning Across Borders) program, led by Jessica Moore and Meghan O'Neill, students participated in 21 experiences throughout northern Massachusetts.

The goal of the L.A.B program is to help students develop a deeper understanding of our society by providing them with opportunities to explore, examine, and empathize with a broader range of viewpoints, histories, and cultural perspectives. This occurs through our international L.A.B. exchanges, which happen throughout the academic year, as well as during these Local L.A.B. days each trimester.

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