A Moment of Reflection at the 100th Day
Dear Trinity Family,
I write to you today to share joy and pride, a wonderful respite from communicating about Covid protocols. Tonight, on the eve of the 100th day of school, there is always a celebration on campus that marks a time to reflect and think forward. Thus, I wish to take a moment to share my reflections with you about our school’s journey – where we have been and looking out onto the bright horizon.
Together, and I use that word intentionally, we have traveled on a path of great uncertainty since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. Yet what carries us forward on this journey are certain values, tried and true as they have been throughout Trinity’s 60-year history – academic excellence in an environment where each child is known, valued, and unique in their voice. I call attention to the faculty’s focus, dedication, and creativity merging with the curiosity and engagement of the students, which creates a unique learning experience and beloved community that we treasure at Trinity.
I’d like to express how deeply appreciative I am to be on this journey with you – each family at Trinity. Your support of academic excellence and the parallel running of TPA events make it possible to create the best experience for our students. Thank you for the strong partnership, patience, and resilience you and your children have shown. Your investment in your child’s education brings joy and exuberance into our classrooms and the lives of all the children at Trinity. I know this is an intentional choice you make to invest in your child’s education, and we take that investment very seriously and with care.
We must always give credit to our exceptional faculty and staff at Trinity. It’s never lost on me that their individual and collective dedication has achieved the careful balance of keeping the school open all day, every day and for all students since October 2020. Our teachers and administrators, often with great sacrifice, have always appreciated how important it is for our children to be in the classroom for optimal social, emotional, and academic growth. It hasn’t been easy, but the teachers have been unflinching in their beliefs. Their compassion, perseverance, expertise, collaboration, and connectedness, always prioritizing their students’ emotional and physical health, has been seemingly limitless. In my 38 years in education and 20 years as a Head of School, I’ve never been more impressed – not even close – with the individual and collective commitment of this Trinity faculty and staff. Ovations are due to the faculty and staff for their grace, resourcefulness, and unwavering commitment to all the children at Trinity.
Finally, the balance of this note intends to shine a light on the work of the faculty and staff, which may seem behind the scenes – but is actually at the forefront of our work. Some of the highlights:
- Expanded Enrollment: We are thrilled to have seen our enrollment grow over the past year. This includes a classroom of 2-year-olds on the Lower Campus for the first time. This increase doesn’t happen by accident. It happens through thoughtful and intentional work from Kirk Gossman in Admissions, the Campus Directors, and the faculty.
- Three-Year Strategic Plan: The Board of Trustees and school leadership are developing a three-year Strategic Plan and are eager to present that plan to you in the Fall of 2022. This strategic plan will include program initiatives; financial planning and philanthropic directions; diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; admissions and strategic marketing plans; and facilities work, including master site planning.
- Program Vision and Planning: The academic and social-emotional program is at the center of our school and is central to the Strategic Plan on both the Upper and Lower Campuses. Sue Krishna, Lower Campus Director, and Colette McWilliams, Upper Campus Director, along with the faculty, are making substantive progress in developing the Program Vision section of the plan. Impressively, the diligence and focus on the Program Vision work from Colette, Sue, and faculty have not been delayed or compromised despite full schedules and additional work from the daily navigation that Covid continues to bring. A sampling of their current work, along with their visionary work, is:
- Creating a 2-year old program for the first time in the school’s history (Lower Campus)
- Introduction of a new observation/assessment/communication platform that uplifts the voice of the individual child (Lower Campus)
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation. The site visit from the evaluation team took place in January, and we will learn of the accreditation term in the next 90 days. Less than 10% of preschools in the country are accredited by NAEYC (Lower Campus).
- The hiring of a Curriculum Coordinator to enrich the program’s commitment to inquiry-based teaching and learning (Lower Campus).
- Increase Speciality Teacher connections, specifically Music, Library, and Maker Space between the Upper and Lower Campuses.
- Creation of a Place-Based Learning Program in Grades 3 to 5 starting with Grade 5 and a spring capstone trip to Teton Science School in Wyoming (Upper Campus)
- Implementation of Teaching for Artistic Behavior in our Art Program (Upper Campus).
- Continued expansion of the Music Program through the Orff Methodology and the direction of Yonas Kameda, Music Teacher. Our latest shipment of new Orff instruments were just delivered in January (Upper and Lower Campuses)
- Creation of a Learning Support Program starting with hiring a Learning Specialist – interviews are happening now for 2022 – 2023. Further work to be done by forming a Student Support Team and a Social and Emotional Learning Specialist (Upper and Lower Campuses)
- Review of the Mathematics Program to better strike a balance between experiential and critical thinking while maintaining a solid foundation for basic skills (Upper Campus)
- A Scope and Sequence for the SEL Program in collaboration with the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning (Upper Campus).
- Explore the possibility of adding a drama to our list of Speciality areas offered as a distinct subject (Upper Campus).
- Undertake whole-school professional development around assessment, focusing on how to utilize assessments best to enhance differentiation (Upper and Lower Campuses)
- Explore the possibility of adding another foreign language at Trinity (Upper Campus).
- Explore the possibility of adding a Math and Language Art Specialist to Trinity’s faculty to differentiate further and strengthen our program (Upper Campus).
- Mission and Belief Statements: As part of the Strategic Plan, we developed and embraced the revised Mission Statement, supported by our Belief Statements, to inform classroom practices and decision-making focused on our mission.
- Continued Emphasis on Financial Aid: 12% to 14% of Trinity’s $6.0 million operating budget is directed toward financial aid each year. This commitment enables over two dozen students to attend Trinity who might not otherwise be able.
- Increased Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: We build on the values inherent in Trinity’s Episcopal Identity of diversity, equity, and inclusion, working with Blink Consulting at the program and governance levels.
- Reopening of the Specialty Classrooms: Due to Covid, we could not open our Specialty Classrooms last year. This year is different for those unique spaces – Science Lab, Maker Space, Art Studio, Library, and Music Room – are back to vibrant and active learning spaces and serve as gathering hubs during lunch and recess times.
- Continued work with our Social and Emotional Learning Program: We’ve reset our partnership with the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning, which has included faculty and staff in-services, classroom observations, teaching coaching, and peer to peer parent support ground in the evening.
- Social Responsibility: The school has maintained and increased its focus on contributing to the good of the world through the way we live through social responsibility. Led by Kim Thacker, Religious Studies Teacher, so far this year, students contributed over 1,700 items to the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto, over 100 items of clothing, bedding, and small appliances for Afghan refugee families, over 500 toys and books for Afghan refugee children, and over 300 food items to Samaritan House. In addition, Trinity partners with Achungo Children’s Center, our sister school in rural southwest Kenya, donating nearly 100 refurbished iPads and laptops to the school, organized by Pal Thinnappan, IT Director.
As I’ve stated often, the investment in your child’s education is arguably the most important investment you will make. We are excited to continue this journey together next year.
As always, my door is open if you have questions regarding re-enrollment, and we are grateful for your partnership and for trusting us in the teaching of your children.