Heads Up: Weekly Letters from Tim


Each Friday when school is in session, Head of School Dr. Timothy Johnson sends a cover letter to families as part of the weekly e-newsletter. Read on for an archive of these letters.

Gratitude Fest
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

 

This has been a unique and spirited week at Pingree. On Tuesday, we recognized eight student-athletes with their families as they signed commitments to play collegiate athletics, and we look forward to celebrating more student achievements in the weeks ahead. 

As you likely heard at home, yesterday was Springfest. After an abbreviated schedule of morning classes, students went outside for camaraderie and fun for this annual spring tradition. Students socialized on the front lawn during a lunch cookout, bonded over friendly competition with their house teams, and shared creative talents in coffeehouse performances. Shout out to our seniors for prevailing 2-1 in the culminating kickball game against the faculty.

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Human Kind
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

 

In historian Rutger Bregman's Humankind: A Hopeful History, he shares an aspirational mindset for connecting with others and the world around us. By operating from the belief that humans are—at their core—kind and driven by goodness, Bregman believes we can build more effective, inclusive, and safer communities. He suggests that a negativity bias that has protected humans for many millennia is now a barrier that hinders the type of genuine connection necessary to solve the preeminent challenges of our time. 

At Pingree, the power of relationships is central to all that we do. We set big goals for our community members: to pursue knowledge with courage and imagination, thrive in joy and challenge, and create a more just and equitable world. And we know that people are best equipped to meet these goals when they are seen, supported, and valued. We see the best in every student, and Bregman's book provides affirmation about the long-term impacts of investing our trust in each other. Below are five of his more mission-aligned perspectives for reflection as we begin May together.

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Highlander Cross-Training
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

 

We're in full cross-training season this week as we begin the course registration process with students in grades 9–11, release T3 indicator reports, support seniors with independent projects and final college decisions, and plan for social and year-end events. Our students and faculty are stretching a combination of intellectual, athletic, social, and creative muscles!

The cross-training themes of exploring, failing, and seeking help were echoed in an inspiring Cum Laude Society induction assembly yesterday, at which Daniel Massillon '16 shared his personal journey with students. Between his reflections upon his transition from a graduating middle school class of five students in Lynn to Prep@Pingree, Pingree, Cornell University, and now medical school, Danny led us in a singalong of Adele's "Hello," shared his lab experience working on trial vaccines for COVID-19, and encouraged students to find their voices unabashedly and courageously. Again, congratulations to this year's junior and senior Cum Laude Society inductees!

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Mission Matters
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

 

An organization's mission is its true north: it articulates why a place exists and its reason for being. During times of disruption and change, Pingree's mission has been a clarifying compass, providing direction that has guided us toward thoughtful and progressive change that keeps students at the center of everything we do—from h-block electives and the evolution of our academic schedule to house teams and transcending Advanced Placement courses. 

Like Pingree, our mission is an ever-evolving and aspirational reflection of who we are. After navigating the complexities and challenges of the last few years, which revealed both distinguishing strengths and new priorities, it was clear that a review was in order. This fall—two decades after our current mission was adopted—we began a revision process. 

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Visibility and Promise
Dr. Timothy M. Johnson

 

Last week, we witnessed the historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson into the Supreme Court, the first time in the body’s 233-year history that a Black woman has served as a Supreme Court Justice. On our behalf, the nine individuals on the Supreme Court—a baseball team’s starting line—are charged with the Herculean task of safeguarding our democracy through their interpretations of our Constitution. 

The work is not glamorous or enviable, especially during times of increasing political division, but their decisions impact the lives of every American citizen. And yet, these nine individuals are just like you and me.

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