Jonathan Mitchell, Principal
Phone: 978-356-3137 x2162
Thomas Paine famously wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” and that line is just as apt now as when he penned it during the American Revolution. Obviously I would change it to include all gender distinctions, but you get the point. We face unprecedented challenges as we re-open schools. Not only are we contending with a global pandemic, but we are doing it in a racially charged environment that has reminded us as educators and parents that we all need to do a better job in breaking the cycle of systemic racism in our country. It can be daunting to look at these challenges, and we can react in one of two ways: we can shrink from the adversity and hope that someone else solves the problem, or we can think about the subtle yet empowering ways we can contribute to the solution of these problems. Together, if we each commit to doing the little things within our scope of power, we can overcome the challenges before us, because that’s what human society has always done.
As educators, we will evaluate our curriculum, both written and hidden, to ensure we are explicitly teaching tolerance and kindness. We can each learn more about our underlying biases and educate ourselves about the tenets of culturally competent instructional practices.
As parents, we can also educate ourselves about how to talk to our kids about race; these difficult conversations are especially important given the largely homogenous racial make-up of our community.
Regarding school during the COVID-19 pandemic: safety is our highest priority. We will always take every step we can to ensure we have a physically and intellectually safe learning environment for staff and students alike. When making decisions around school safety, I will use the guidance and recommendations from public health officials to shape our policies and practices. And above all, we all must abide by the categorical imperative to always do what’s best for kids.
If nothing else, our current crises are an opportunity to practice the school districts’ Successful Habits of Mind: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, self-management, and (above all) perseverance.
As always, it is an honor to lead such a fine group of people, and thank you for entrusting us with your kids.