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.

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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.”

 

Thank You for Coming to Back to School Night!

Before sitting at your child’s desk and learning teachers’ plans for this year, you and I felt what community means at Trinity School by gathering in Lehman Hall where…

  • Team 32, the Amazing Personnel introduced themselves to you,
  • Rev. Gia Hayes Martin assured you that your children and we adults are loved and good enough as we are.
  • Cristiana Freed reminded us that Trinity is community – for our children, for us
  • Caroline Hubbard shared that as we begin Annual Fund next week, we already have 100% participation from all personnel and every trustee.
  • Paul Collins and I spoke to the goals of the Strategic Plan that focus the work of the board and personnel this year: Community and Culture, Teaching + Learning, Admission Pipeline and Enrollment, Middle School Transition and Building and Capital Campaign. Look for my “deeper dive” articles on each of these topics in the coming weeks. For now, check out this PDF of the Strategic Plan that we published to our school community last year.

You make all the difference! It was wonderful to be with so many of you last night.

Community x 3

Here are three ways for you to have fun and connect to the vibrant community of Trinity School.

  1. Come to the Back to School Barbecue is this Saturday, 4:30 – 7:30 at the Upper Campus. All Trinity families are welcome – purchase tickets here.
  2. Volunteer to help set up and clean up.  We actually need your help!!  Your hands and your good energy will bring the event to life and help return our beautiful campus to Monday readiness. Sign up here for either set up, a 45 minute shift during the event, or clean up as the Barbecue winds down.
  3. Connect to new friends. Meet other parents and children in your child’s class. It is in connecting to each other that we teach our children what community means.

Thank you and have a great time at the Back to School BBQ!

Mary

5 Reasons We Go Camping

Grades 4 and 5 at Trinity School attend an outdoor education program lead by Naturalists at Large, focusing on natural science and team building. Today students return from a three-day trip to Pinnacles National Park, which is about 35 miles south of Hollister, CA. Year to year I’m reminded of why this trip is so important for students. Here are my top five reasons:

  1. Nature teaches. Surrounded by the great outdoors, students observed why and how the earth has formed itself in the way that it has in that particular place. They learn how each element or creature has its parts in the greater whole.
  2. Nature inspires. Hiking through different terrains, watching how day transitions into night, being awed by the great night sky – children see themselves differently; wonder transforms.
  3. Nature invites. With this introduction, with the leadership of engaging and fun naturalists, students want to come back. Wonderful.
  4. Nature toughens. What to do when you are too hot, when the night is getting chilly, when there is a bug in your path, or in your tent! Nature is nature and students ask practical questions and get just right support for figuring out how to navigate themselves and their belongings in a new environment.
  5. Students grow. When we, the adults – naturalists, teachers, parents, see the victory on children’s faces – for a hike completed – for a dinner they have helped prepare – for a stuck zipper conquered – for a fun game completed – for a friend to walk to the bathroom with – for coming home a little taller, a little more self-reliant, tired and renewed – then I know that these trips are right and good for our students and that we’ll be back next year.

Fund a Need 2016

Saturday Night, the Benefit will feature a Fund a Need at the end of the Live Auction. During Fund a Need, we simply ask for your monetary support of two special and timely projects outside of our operating budget: 1) a sports court for the smaller basketball court, and 2) a Library make-over, featuring new tables, seating, and a small but hearty Maker’s Place.

Here’s why…

Sports Court: The Upper Campus has two basketball courts, and parents have expressed interest in having the lower, and larger asphalt court covered in a safer sports court surfacing. The reason we are focusing instead on the smaller basketball court (located near the play structure) for now is that within a very few years, the school will launch a remodel/rebuild of the original classroom building. When that happens, a logical staging area for construction materials will be that lower basketball court, resulting in the removal/etc. of the sports court surfacing. So for now, we want to focus on the smaller basketball court. Then, at a later date, we can come back to the larger basketball court.

Library Make-Over: Yet another thing I love about Becky Zeren is her wholehearted support of change and renewal. “Time for a change!” I have heard her say again and again in enthusiastic support of Library transitions this year, and I once more thank her for her goodwill. Here’s why we want to change the tables and seating and reconfigure the circulation desk –

  • The Library tables are heavy and yet Becky moves them at least once daily – if not more often.
  • The lovely tables were given by a generous past trustee over 20 years ago, and we will find a worthy new home for them. It’s a new century!
  • Lighter and flexible tables and seating options open our beloved Library keep it at the “heart of the School” while making its resources respond more easily to its many users.
  • Opening the circulation desk by removing the center counter, opens the space to more flexible uses. (Sorry Becky, I know you have wanted this for years! But now we do it and these other improvements in honor of your legacy!)

The Trinity School Community has resoundingly and generously supported Fund a Need at each year’s Benefit. Through prior Fund a Needs, we have engendered an endowment for financial assistance, a breathtaking accomplishment for our intimate community! Last year it was our joy to support Peter Hanson and his family – and – Peter is currently thriving at Menlo School! Thank you in advance for your generous support of this year’s Fund a Need. Your generosity helps us make good changes for your children.

Make the Most of Spring Conferences

Spring Conferences are for every Trinity student this year. In prior years Spring Conferences were optional, yet now we encourage parents to take full advantage of this great opportunity to check in with your child’s teacher this spring. But how to get the most out of this special meeting? Consider these three points:

What do teachers like to emphasize at Spring Conference?

  • Spring Conference is about the big picture of the year – where the child started and growth.
  • I share the child’s growth and progress as well as goals we are still working on.
  • I celebrate how well I know and love each child academically and in stories about the child.
  • I talk about what the child is proud of in her/his growth and what I see them still wanting to learn.
  • I talk about the friendships each child is enjoying and about social emotional growth I see.
  • I like to connect with families – celebrate the the child!
  • So much social emotional maturity has taken place. It is as important as academic growth.

What do teachers wish parents would ask at Spring Conference?

  • I wish parents would ask about what they could be doing at home to support their child – because it can be awkward to bring this topic forward if I don’t know the parent is open to it.
  • Ask me where I see growth and progress and what goals we are still working on.
  • If you ask about summer, please know that we still have several months of learning ahead.

These are some teacher wishes for Spring Conferences:

  • There is still much to focus on for this year before we start thinking about summer – yet I realize we may not have another conversation at this depth before summer. Its finding that balance.
  • Prepare for the next grade in the form of a productive transition. Summer is a great time to keep reading and maybe focus on a particular area a child needs support in.
  • I hope parents can approach summer gently and not feel like they need to cram in the next grade’s content before the child gets there. Let the next year unfold in its own time. Keep the momentum of learning and growing. The year isn’t over yet!

For Early Childhood Program parents, I hope you had productive conferences last week. For K-Grade 5 parents, as you ponder the time you will spend with your child’s teacher this Thursday and Friday, I hope these considerations will support beneficial conversations.