Trinity Zine Coming Soon!

Here comes the Trinity Zine – student voices in their own words. Librarian Heather Barlow and Tech Integrator Katy Roybal are guiding volunteer Grades 3-5 students to help them make their voices heard. With the launch of Trinity School’s new website, later this month, you’ll have access to what is on students’ minds. For now, here is the Zine’s mission statement and a great logo from Banks in Grade 5.

Trinity Zine Mission Statement

Trinity Zine is dedicated to granting a voice to Trinity Students without restricting their creative process, vision, or product.

A very broad set of standards have been delineated to publish an article and students are encouraged to self regulate throughout the process with the Zine Co-Teachers as a background mentor.

Volunteer students in Grades 3-5 write, research, and edit all content.

trinity-school-2016-zine-student-voice

 

How to Talk to Kids About Election Results and Move Forward

 No matter your feelings on the outcome of Tuesday’s election, one thing is for certain- children have lots of questions. The blog below was written by Dana Blum, Bay Area Director of Common Sense Media. May the words provide solace, direction, and thoughtful conversation.

Warmly,

Mary

What Should We Tell Our Kids? Be Tomorrow’s Leaders, Today

In the wake of this divisive election, its often ugly and frightening rhetoric, and its widely unexpected result, parents and teachers are struggling with what to say to students and kids. Regardless of your political beliefs, the current state of discourse in our nation, both online and off, is troubling. This is a challenge all Americans face. There are so many reactions — and it’s parents’ job to help kids make sense of it all.

As parents, teachers, and advocates for kids, we are empowered to take positive action. We can be the antidote to a divisive and ugly media environment by raising a generation of kids who value character, by being a positive role model, and by standing up for others when we see an injustice.

So, how do we support kids through this stunning election and the transition that follows?

First: Tell them they will be OK. Talk to your kids and students and offer them reassurance. Let them know that our country has gone through many divisive and challenging moments. We have a strong democratic system that is designed to withstand changes in power and protect the rights of all people.

Second: Show them how to channel emotion into action. This has been a dramatic and polarizing election process, and children likely have heard all manner of rumors about what the results mean for them and their friends. That kind of energy can be scary. Help children and students find a cause that matters to them, to get out and get to know their communities, and to direct that energy into positive action. Get involved and help shape your own future. 

We may have differences of opinion. But it’s imperative that we teach kids how to have differences of opinion, how to disagree but still work together, and how to stand together as one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

As one of the nation’s leading voices on child advocacy issues, including education, media literacy, cyberbullying, and digital citizenship, we can’t ignore the negative discourse and division that has spread throughout this election. This includes President-elect Trump’s history of engaging in negative behavior, online and off. And it includes the behavior and speech of many politicians, citizens on all sides of the political spectrum, children and adults, online and off.

We should insist that all of our elected leaders rise to a level of discourse appropriate to their office. As parents, as teachers, as students, as citizens of the United States, we also have a duty and responsibility ourselves to rise above discourse that demeans, bullies, or spreads hate.

What we know today, what was true last month and will be next year, is that in our homes and classrooms, we are shaping tomorrow’s leaders. And each of us has a role to play in that work.

Common Sense Tips for Talking to Kids

Kids of all ages will be going through a range of emotions, and it’s important to acknowledge how kids are feeling. They likely will have heard many opinions from the media, at home, or in school. Consider your own reactions since kids will take your lead. It’s OK to show kids that you’re sad or excited, but try to stay calm and rational.

For kids age 3-6:

Assure kids that they are safe. However your family or school community feels about the election results, kids are sure to notice the stress of parents and teachers around them. Smile, hug, and spend time with them.

Keep the news off and out of sight. Kids younger than about 7 can’t understand the larger implications of national news. The rhetoric and some of the images can be more upsetting than informative.

Be together. However you feel about the election results, being together as a family, classroom, or community feels good and is exactly what little kids need during stressful events.

Use age-appropriate language. Try, “Sometimes grown-ups are so silly. They don’t always agree with each other, but they can still be friends. Let’s read some books about being friends!”

Take action. Draw a picture of one of the candidates. Write a letter to an elected official. Read books about brave leaders and other role models.

For kids age 7-12:

Acknowledge their feelings. They might be anxious or fearful. They could be excited or relieved. However they feel — even if it’s different from how you’re feeling — it’s important that they feel comfortable expressing it. Offer appropriate outlets for expression, from exercise to art.

Help them with conflict. Kids may have friends or family members who are reacting differently to the election. Help them figure out how to express disagreement respectfully and while avoiding name-calling, disrespectful language, and prejudice.

Teach media literacy. Find age-appropriate news sources. Discuss how mainstream media has covered the election and the aftermath. You might explain how news organizations fight for viewers and the business reasons behind it. Help kids distinguish fact from fiction.

Focus on the positive. If kids aren’t happy with the presidential election result, turn their attention to some of the state and local results they might feel better about.

Use age-appropriate language. Try, “Wow, that was a crazy election! I’m feeling [disappointed/excited/shocked/surprised]. I’m so happy that we have a [family/classroom/school/community] that is supportive and that treats people fairly and kindly. Let’s think of what we can do to keep it that way!”

Take action. However they feel about the election, use the momentum of the campaigns to inspire them to get involved in their communities. Find places to volunteer as a family or causes to unite around.

For teens 13 and up:

Check in. Many teens will have absorbed the news independently from you, so talking to them can offer great insights into their developing politics and their senses of justice and morality. Take the opportunity to throw your own insights into the mix (just don’t dismiss theirs, since that will shut down the conversation immediately).

Let teens express themselves. Many teens will feel passionately about the election and may feel the result very personally. They’ll also probably be aware that their own lives could be affected by what comes next. Try to address their concerns and ideas without minimizing them.

Encourage breaks from media. It’s hard for social media users to step away in the midst of major news events — especially when there’s a lot of emotion being expressed. But it’s an important part of taking care of ourselves to step back, connect with each other face-to-face, and even relieve some of the pressure with nonpolitical media — funny movies, books, games, and so on. (And don’t forget to do this yourself!)

Teach kids to be upstanders. Help them understand the responsibility to speak up when they see something that isn’t right. The tone of the election was incredibly negative, and between the candidates and their supporters, we saw bullying, name-calling, and lots of ugly language. Encourage them to rise above the negativity and be positive, kind, and respectful.

Use age-appropriate language. Try, “OK, now that the election’s over, what can we do to make the world a better place? Let’s make a plan for our [family/classroom/community] to take action.”

Take action. Help teens pursue causes they’re passionate about. Support them by helping with transportation and resources and talking through any issues that arise. Also, when they’re old enough, help them register to vote.

I hope this is helpful to parents, educators and caregivers,

Dana Blum

Spotlight on the Board of Trustees

We want Trinity School to be here for our children’s children. Making sure of this is the highest purpose of the Board of Trustees. By setting and truing the school to its mission, by ensuring fiscal health, by setting forward looking policies, by hiring and working with the Head of school, and by attending to the school’s good relationship with the churches, the Board of Trustees guards the health and well-being of Trinity School now and for the future.

Who are Trinity School Trustees?

The Board benefits from the diverse affiliations of trustees. Seven have Trinity School alumni children, eight are current parents, eight have no children at Trinity School, one is Head of School at another independent school. Join me in appreciating the dedication of these trustees to Trinity School, their faith in Trinity’s mission, and their generosity of time, talent and treasure.

  • Eric Hass, Chair Trustee at Large
  • Paul Collins, Vice Chair Trustee at Large
  • Immanuel Thangaraj, Treasurer Trustee at Large
  • Raj Jain, Secretary Trustee at Large
  • Rev. Gia Hayes-Martin Rector, St. Bede’s Church
  • Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett Rector Trinity Church,
  • Mary Menacho Head of School
  • Bess Kennedy Trinity Church Trustee
  • Dee Dee Dickey Trinity Church Trustee
  • Monique VanderMarck Trinity Church Trustee
  • Ann Latta St. Bede’s Trustee
  • Jeanne Cooper St. Bede’s Trustee
  • Christina Alataris Trustee at Large
  • Rhonda Bassett-Spiers Trustee at Large
  • Cristiana Freed TPA President
  • Tekakwitha Pernambuco-Wise Trustee at Large
  • Anup Singh Trustee at Large

Trustees give great dedication to the School. They corporately serve the mission of Trinity School and do not represent, for example, the churches, the TPA, or any other constituency. The Board considers and makes decisions as a whole; in other words, no one trustee represents the Board.

Do you wonder how the leadership functions between the Board and the Head of School? This chart shows broad responsibility allocation. The diagonal line helps describe the interface of shared and unique responsibilities between an independent school head and a board.

design-of-the-partnership

Questions about the Board of Trustees? Leave a comment here or talk to a trustee you know or ask me.

There Be Screens – What’s a Parent to Do?

Let’s face it. Screens are a part of children’s lives.

Screens babysit, entertain, EDUCATE, create, challenge, connect and console us.

And though many feel a little bereft when we can’t find our phones, we have questions about our children and screens’ ubiquitous place in their lives.

  • How much screen time is healthy?
  • Should there be screens in the bedroom?
  • What movies do you let your children watch?
  • What do children gain from digital interactions?
  • What are they missing?
  • What’s safe?
  • What’s a parent to do?

This!

Common Sense Media (go on and click).

Trinity School belongs to this non-partisan resource. We use their guidelines for managing screen use here at school. But the world is big and you can use this resource as a bridge between home safe home and the whole of the internet, television, movies, games, etc. Check out the sound advice on the Common Sense Media site.

Because Trinity is a member school, Grade 4 and 5 parents have a special invitation to attend a middle school student panel of 8th grade students from member schools to discuss digital media issues kids face every day. October 27 from 8:30 to 10:00 at Schools of the Sacred Heart (SHS). Read more here:

Oct. 27, 8:30-10:00 a.m. hosted at Schools of the Sacred Heart
I urge Grade 4 and 5 parents to take advantage of this frank conversation. Please let Kristel know if you will attend so we can give SHS a head count.

A Trinity Student Has So Many Ways to Play!

Recess is, as many a child would agree, a highlight of the day. Did you know about all these play choices students have on the Upper Campus? Check out playful links below!

Daily:

  • Run around and get the wiggles out with Mr. C. – 8:00 – 8:15 on the Sports Court.
  • Play an organized game on the sports court with Mr. C – morning recess.
  • Play on the field, play structure, swings, amphitheater, small basketball court, fun equipment – every recess
  • Open Science Room – every morning recess

Mondays:

  • Open Library – all recesses.
  • Open Art Room with Ms. Petermeier – lunch recesses.

Tuesdays:

  • Open Library – all recesses.
  • Open Maker Space – lunch recesses.

Wednesdays:

  • Open Maker Space – lunch recesses.

Thursdays:

  • Open Library – all recesses.
  • Trinity Zine – In the Maker Space at lunch recess for Grades 3-5.

Friday:

  • Open Library – morning recesses.
  • Open Maker Space – lunch recesses.

Anytime Student Inspired Events:

  • Recent events: Hula Rope Show, Game Day in the Library, and a “put on the music and dance” time.
  • Such fun!!

Want to know more about the power of play in everybody’s life? Check out this book the Trinity Personnel read and reflected on several summers ago:

 

 

3 Ways We Belong to Each Other

Three core values of Trinity School’s community and culture were alive in Grade 2 this week. Learning. Diversity. Compassion.

Learning: Every adult and every child in the Trinity School community is a learner. We value, no we cherish, education and the delight of discovering. We uphold the merit of investigating, of reading, of thinking, discussing, and trying hard to assimilate new ideas. We think learning is fun and worth it even when it is hard sometimes. We are learners.

Diversity: We aren’t all alike. We come from different places and with different stories. In our purposefully small school, the differences we share give each of us a broadened experience of all the ways we can be human, all the ways we are alike and different. We want every child, every family to see themselves in the fabric of our community.

Compassion: The golden outcome of learning and embracing differences is compassion. September has been a robust month of getting started and of coming together – welcoming new children and families, reconnecting with those we already know, drawing classes of children into communities. As the days and weeks progress, we will find easy times to uplift each other as well as times that will be harder. May our compassion for each other maintain our actions and our conversations when situations are effortless and when they require courage.

Student Voice – 4 Beats You Don’t Want to Miss

“Trinity gives each child a voice.” This is the first promise of our mission statement. But just how do teachers and personnel encourage student voice? Our goal is to let students express themselves and to be heard. We will provide a safe place for students to be creative. Everyone’s ideas are welcome. Here are 4 current examples on the Upper Campus.

The Maker’s Space was open today and fully enjoyed.

dsc_0186

Read Navali’s perspectives on taking a test and a visitor from Nigeria.

Watch the Grade 2 video of the Hula Rope Show, if you missed it last week.

Grade 5 students are organizing the first ever Game Day for Monday. Students are encouraged to bring a game (maybe not Monopoly or a super long board game!) that can be played by anyone who wants to participate on Monday.

And watch for the forthcoming launch of the new Trinity website that will feature student voice. A Trinity Zine team is already working on content!

These examples so richly support the vision we set for our school in the new Strategic Plan.

“Leveraging our history of Episcopal inclusivity and academic preparedness,  Trinity encourages innovations that will empower young change-makers to be confident, compassionate, and inquisitive people—those you would want to spend time with, those who might even heal the world.”