On the eve of Memorial Day weekend and the final week of classes, this letter is intended to assist you and your children with important year-end details in preparation for our exhilarating final stretch. Students are receiving a similar note and will hear details in announcements next week.
Heads Up: Weekly Letters from Tim
Kudos to our seniors, who finish classes today and depart for their independent projects next week. They are to be commended for their positive, spirited, and constructive finish to the academic year, which culminated in a joyful and celebratory morning meeting today, during which they all took the stage to collaborate on a song from the movie Moana.
Do people work better alone or in groups? When are we most creative? The answer: It depends who you ask. Observing a playful senior prank day on Wednesday, it's clear that our soon-to-be graduates are much more creative working together!
We have been thinking a lot about culture and space at Pingree over the years, collecting faculty and student feedback on preferred learning and study spaces for a strategic plan. The comparison of collaboration versus independent work is ripe for exploration.
Happy Mother's Day to all of our moms, and thank you to our parent volunteers, bidders, sponsors, and attendees of A Taste of Pingree last weekend. The event was a success, grossing $125,000 for students, access funding, faculty, and program. The food provided by our sponsors was incredible!
On behalf of our advisors and teachers, and in the spirit of support and care, I am sending my annual spring call for solidarity as we endeavor to transition from spring to summer in the event-packed weeks ahead.
We all share a responsibility to keep our children safe, trusting that the overwhelming majority of their decisions — made as free-thinking, curious, and funny teenagers — will make us proud. Similarly, the decisions we make as adults — in the face of pressures from each other, the larger culture, and our children — have consequences. Just as we look to our children to make wise choices, they quietly depend upon us to do the same.
I look forward to seeing many of you at A Taste of Pingree tomorrow night!
In yesterday's cum laude assembly, Meg O'Hare, class of 2009, ebulliently shared stories and lessons from her experiences as a Pingree student, Yale graduate, and former teacher in the Middle East. Referring to the hidden curriculum — the unintended lessons of an educational culture that transmits norms, values, and beliefs — Meg shared musings on the openly shared norms of the Pingree curriculum, stressing the importance of learning to participate, empathize, and create over memorizing content. She challenged us to "stand up, declare what you love, and do it unabashedly," to take risks and explore so that we may better understand where our true passions lie.
On the subject of passion, earlier this week I heard Dan Lerner present. Author of U Thrive: How to Survive in College (and Life), Lerner is a clinical instructor at NYU and professor at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in optimizing psychological states. Offering research and practical strategies to bridge success and happiness, he teaches the most popular elective at NYU, a fall course on happiness for 500+ first-year students.
There was a blank, tired "too much pressure!" look on one of my advisee's faces during an initial course registration conversation this week. My reply? "Let's take a deep breath. One more. Okay, how 'bout another one?" In the process, I realized that I needed some oxygen, too.
I have found the need to step back and breathe more often this year, and I hear similar feedback from you, colleagues, and students. What's behind this? Upon reflection, our mission has not changed. The stakes in education are no higher than the past. My trust in colleagues has never been stronger. My belief in your children and the future of our school is unwavering. Is it my age?
Listening to colleagues from college-prep schools across the country, it's clear that no school is immune from the 2017 anxiety virus, so I am officially calling it School-itis (copyright pending).