Monday Message 1/15/18

Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,

Parenting Kids in a Digital World: When we think back to our youthful years, chances are some of our fondest memories involve outdoor activities and places. Maybe it was riding our bike through the neighborhood or playing hide and seek in nearby woods with friends. In my childhood days, I was told, “get out of the house and don’t come home until the streetlights went on.” Unfortunately, many of today’s children spend far less time outdoors (often for legitimate reasons). Video games, television, and screen-time-related activities may expose children to some incredible visual images, but being outside and seeing something completely first-hand has more value in the long run.

While technological skills are extremely important to our children growing up in this century, I think that teaching our children conflict resolution and social skills may be one of the most important responsibilities we have as educators and parents. With technology increasingly saturating our world, time accelerates, and distances shrink. We find ourselves living increasingly fast-paced lives which can result in stress and increased difficulty maintaining cohesive families and lasting friendships. More than ever, we all need robust interpersonal skills to fulfill our need for productive and meaningful relationships. I received most of my childhood training in my neighborhood and through unstructured times at school. When given the opportunity to be “bored” without any electronic stimulation, children are more likely to practice and develop social skills. As they do, there are more able to express themselves and learn about the world around them and their place in it. This in turn should help promote autonomy, sound decision making, and effective organizational skills.

Please join us next, Monday, January 22 at 6:00 p.m.in the school cafeteria for an evening with Pastor Aaron Sanders and his wife Holly Sanders as they present on, “Parenting Kids in a Digital World.” Pastor Sanders will segment a practical seminar designed to help parents with children of all ages navigate the digital world with wisdom and grace. Each year the PTO secures a parent education workshop to help strengthen our parenting skills. Thank you, PTO, for this important evening.

Lastly, the forecast calls for an Arctic Blast and when the temperature dips below 40 degrees. On these days students and staff may wear jeans and non-uniform outerwear. Our priority is to keep everyone warm and engaged.

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 https://tesgalv.org

Monday Message 1/8/18

Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,

The community came together over the Holiday break to remember a steadfast member that passed, way too young. Thank you to everyone that contributed to her memory. There are too many to thank, and I will forget someone. You know who you are, and Mrs. Funston is smiling down upon the Trinity community. New Year’s is the only holiday that commemorates the passage of time. Perhaps that is why, as the final seconds of the year tick away, we become introspective. Predictably, that introspection turns to thoughts of self-improvement and the annual ritual of making resolutions, which offers the first of many important tools for “remaking ourselves!”

Resolutions are important to adults and children. It is a promise, a pledge, a proclamation of oneself. It is important to move forward with the New Year. Ask your children what their resolutions are and help them pronounce something they want to improve upon. Make sure you as a role model undertake a resolution. Together as a family write down your New Year’s Resolutions and help each other reach your goals. Accomplishments are important in children’s lives. For children, it is important to confirm and reward the hard work that is put forth in reaching that goal vs. the final product. Celebrate actions as often as possible and continue to grow not only as individuals but as a family and a community.

One program we want to improve upon is Stay and Play. I am happy to report that Stay and Play is thriving. Our K-8 students work hard to finish their homework and look forward to the games and activities we have available in extended day. We understand that it can be a long day for the students who participate in Stay and Play, and the After-School team constantly looks for ways to improve programming for your children. Below I would like to highlight a few changes for spring:

Parents and teachers may now enroll students in Homework Lab. Help ensure your child has a quiet, focused environment to work on assignments from 3:15 to 4:15pm by signing them up on a daily or weekly basis. The signup form is accessible at https://tesgalv.org/homework.

The Rosenberg Library is a quiet zone available to us on Wednesdays. I will accompany Stay and Play on weekly library trips geared toward reading, research and homework. Small groups may also explore different areas and services within Rosenberg.

Parents may now view and subscribe to a weekly activities calendar. Stay and Play Instructors facilitate structured and unstructured activities each afternoon. Structured activities run from 3:45-4:45pm and include art projects, LEGO building, group games, movie days and more. The calendar is accessible at https://tesgalv.org/play.

Providing feedback is now even easier. We love learning which things work and which need some work. The feedback form is accessible at https://tesgalv.org/play.

The pioneering psychologist Jean Piaget viewed play as the work of children – it is their opportunity to construct their ideas about the world. Thank you for entrusting us with your child. We are dedicated to providing your children with a safe and nurturing environment. As 17th century poet John Donne reminds us, “No man is an island… because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Happy New Year,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 https://tesgalv.org

Monday Message 12/18/17

Dear Trinity Families and Friends,

I love history and I have learned a lot about Galveston history through many of you, so I thought I would share some history from my neck of the woods. James Pierpont was born on April 25, 1822 in Boston, Massachusetts. While he attended a boarding school in New Hampshire he wrote a poem to his mother for Thanksgiving about a sleigh ride. In 1849, Pierpont left his wife and children with his father in Massachusetts and went off to California to open a business in San Francisco during the Gold Rush. His business failed after his goods burned in a fire. More bad luck prevailed for Pierpont, as his wife died in 1856 in Boston and so he decided to follow his brother to Savannah, GA taking a post as the organist and music director of a church. To support himself, he also gave organ and singing lessons.

He had accomplished nothing he set out to do or be. His poem to his mother was turned into a song and was originally performed in a Sunday school concert on Thanksgiving in Savannah, Georgia. In 1859, it was re-released with the title “Jingle Bells, or The One Horse Open Sleigh”. The song was not a hit either time. James Pierpont died a failure in 1893.

Why am I sharing this? It’s not an uncommon story. Many nineteenth-century men had similar lives — similar failures and successes. In one very important sense, James Pierpont was not a failure. Every year, in December, we celebrate his success. We carry in our heart and mind a lifelong memorial to him. It’s a song, not about Jesus or angels or even Santa Claus. It’s a simple song about the joy of whizzing through the cold white dark of winter’s gloom in a sleigh pulled by one horse. And with the company of friends, laughing and singing all the way. No more. No less. James Pierpont wrote “Jingle Bells.”

To write a song that stands for the simplest joys, to write a song that three or four hundred million people around the world know by heart– a song about something they’ve never done but can imagine — a song that every one of us, large and small, can belt out the moment the chord is struck on the piano and the chord is struck in our spirit — well, that’s not failure. One snowy afternoon in deep winter, James Pierpont penned the lines as a small gift for his mother and in doing so he left behind a permanent gift for Christmas — the best kind — not the one under the tree, but the invisible, invincible one of joy.

John Pierpont verifies that everything we do matters.

Lessons and Carols

Lessons and Carols is on Wednesday at 10:30 and in the past, we have had a full church; therefore, for those of you who cannot attend Wednesday or want better seats we will have a full-dress rehearsal on Tuesday at 8:45. Photography is acceptable on Tuesday.

Keeping Everyone Safe

SWAT team training at Trinity Episcopal School on Dec. 21st & 22nd and again Jan. 2nd & 3rd. Do not be alarmed if while driving by you see police activity at the School. Trinity church will remain open, and students are on holiday.

Wishing you and yours a very safe and memorable holiday,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 https://tesgalv.org

Monday Message 12/11/17

Dear Trinity Families and Friends,

The Christmas season is upon us and it is a time during which we often become more reflective. In Beginning School through Grade 8 schools such as Trinity and throughout the land, students grow excited at the prospect of what is to come. Stores begin to thrive with gift givers, streets are festooned with additional lights and decorations, messages of good will abound. When people greet one another, there is a special feeling in the, “Greetings”; warm thoughts begin to infuse our days. The Christmas holidays in many ways seek to invite us all in a common feeling of affection.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there.

As we approach this holy time in our calendar, I ask for you to read this familiar hymn as a poem. So often we sing the hymns of Christmas during this time of year and the music often overshadows the words. If you pause and reread the words to this hymn several times, you will be able to paint the picture about the miracle of the birth of Jesus. I have also found that this hymn can give us many insights into answering the questions of our children as Christmas approaches. Take the other hymns of Christmas and read them as poems too and an entirely new portrait will be painted for you through language.

Here at Trinity you will see and hear about advent. The word ‘Advent’ is from the Latin ‘Adventus,’ which means ‘coming.’ Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year (in the Western churches), and encompasses the span of time from the fourth Sunday before Christmas, until the Nativity of Our Lord is celebrated. Like Lent, Advent is a preparatory season. It has significance because it is a season of looking forward and waiting for something greater; both for the annual celebration of the event of Christ’s birth, and for the time when Christ will come again. Let us all reflect on the most powerful life force which is love.

Faithfully,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 https://tesgalv.org

Monday Message 12/4/17

Dear Trinity Families and Friends,

This past month I had the opportunity to visit all of the Middle School Advisories. I was proud to hear what the children were discussing with the collaboration and guidance of their Advisory (Recharge) leaders. Words like indifference and intolerable, judgmental and perception were not just thrown around, but were discussed in intentional and healthy ways. We as adults must recognize these little ears in the room and make certain we filter our conversations to ensure the innocence of our children endures true for as long as possible. There is a time and a place to have conversations with our children, and as the adults, we must be intentional and cautious in our conversations — as children are so literal in their thinking.

As children hit double digits in age they find out about Santa Claus; I remember when my magic was taken from me. I believe that this was a turning point in my life in becoming a young man. It also came with some innocence lost. We can look at this magical time of Advent as a time to prepare and to reflect and put things into perspective as we get ready for Christmas. We owe it to our children to let them be children for as long as possible. As the various tragedies of this year (Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs) unfolded some of the parents questioned which information should be shared and which shouldn’t; hopefully the attached article will be of some guidance. As a partnership we will continue to be proactive vs. reactive to ensure the safety and education of all our children.

How To Talk to Kids about Tragedies In the Media

Read more: http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/talk-to-kids-media-violence/#ixzz3u3BUOoSm

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 https://tesgalv.org

Monday Message 10/27/17

Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,

I hope you all had time to unwind and enjoy your family and close friends over the Thanksgiving break. In relaxing with my family and friends last week, I was able to share with my lovely wife Lori that our dogs (Toby, Smush-E-Face, and Wasabi) are such an integral part of our family and our psyche.

Our faithful pets remind us of what is important in life and how we must treat ourselves and each other during the busy upcoming holiday season. Here are just a few things that I have learned from my dogs:

  • When loved ones come home, always make sure to greet them.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure joy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
  • Enjoy every moment of everyday.

As the holiday season is upon us, pay attention to the holiday memories that you are creating for your children. Are they memories of stress and craziness or ones that exemplify the season of love, hope and giving?   Take 5 to 10 minutes out of each day for yourself – either in the morning, or sometime during the day – that you can break away and have time to think and reflect.  Finally, and probably most importantly, remember that the most memorable thing about the holiday is your “PRESENCE,” not the “PRESENTS.”

CHRISTmas : Jesus is the reason for the season!

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 https://tesgalv.org

Monday Message 11/13/17

Dear Trinity Families and Friends,

What is the “good life?”  Thanksgiving reminds us that simplicity is important and can be the answer to living a fulfilling life.  We all know that the more we have, the more difficult life can become; isn’t it ironic that at Thanksgiving we find simplicity in giving thanks for having abundance?  

This week is a very special one for our school and me as I will be installed as our sixth sitting Head at Trinity Episcopal School. Many close friends and some family members are flying in for this historic occasion, and so I reflect upon, “What is most important to me?”  In a nutshell, my community, school, church, family and friends are most near and dear and keep me in check.

Living simply enables me to take the time for me, to be grateful for what is simple in mind, body, and spirit. Many of the great thinkers attained simple living and that philosophy became a way of life. As educators and parents, we must model a message of simplicity; being present in the moment and engaging in our true selves is surely a path to serenity.  

Each of us is a channel for the universe. When we follow our heart and inner light, life is always enjoyable, creative and transformative. We make a contribution to and influence the world by being ourselves in every moment. We bring value by speaking our truth around those we love and also those that may make us a little uncomfortable. Living in simplicity is living the good life. We must encourage our children to follow their hearts and live the simple life, for that is truly the “good life”.  Special thank you to our school board chairs past and present (Meg Walker and Catherine Garrison) for the simple segue into a new chapter under my leadership.

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 www.tesgalv.org

Monday Message 11/6/17

Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,

One of my favorite fragments of my day is early morning drop-off. I get to give a quick “Hello” to many parents and then there is that traditional smile on every child’s face as they get out of their car and approach their school community.  I often wonder, ‘Where were they in their conversation with mom or dad or……. what could they have been talking about?’ I am sure if I knew the answer, I would have a best-selling book!

Because of the exuberance in each child and the shift into full school mode, children usually do not take the proper time to protect themselves from back injuries in regards to their backpacks. A good percentage of students do not take the time to zip their backpacks up or to place them on their backs properly with both straps. Below are some great tips intended to protect students from the injuries that can result from improper backpack usage. I will also be sharing these tips during chapel announcements.

1) Ensure the backpack comes with wide, padded shoulder straps. Backpacks are no longer just about utility.  Today backpacks are also considered apparel. In keeping with fashion expectations, some backpack straps are thin and unpadded. Avoid these backpacks for everyday school use as they can hurt and damage skin.

2) Ensure the backpack comes with a padded back. Books and other contents have hard edges. A padded back protects against pain associated with continuous contact against hard edges.

3) Pack light, with the backpack weighing no more than 20% of body weight. Medical professionals advise against packing more than 20% of the child’s body weight to avoid strain on the back.

4) Organize the contents with the heaviest items closest to the back. Contents should be arranged to ensure that the heaviest items are placed closest to the back. This keeps the weight from pulling the child backwards and prevents back strain.

5) Use both straps. While hanging the backpack on only one shoulder may be convenient or look “cool,” it can cause back pain as the spine is forced to cope with uneven distribution of weight.

6) Keep the straps snug. Snug straps keep the load of the backpack close to the back and reduce backward pull against the body.

7) Pick up backpack bending both knees. Any time something is being lifted, regardless of weight, proper form is essential. Both knees should be bent when picking up a backpack to prevent strain on the back.

8) Ensure bottom of backpack rests in the curve of the lower back when being worn. The back and shoulders should carry the load. The higher position reduces strain.

9) If the weight exceeds 20% carry an item in hand to reduce weight in backpack. When possible, carry an item outside the backpack in order to keep the contents lighter.

10) Keep pens, pencils and other sharp objects in hard plastic cases to prevent them from poking through backpack and harming your child. Sharp items roaming loose may harm your child or someone brushing up against the backpack.

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 www.tesgalv.org

Monday Message 10/30/17

Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,

We were blessed with beautiful weather to finally celebrate our annual PTO Luau and Family Night on October 13th. Families and friends of Trinity conversed, casually mingled and shared in high spirits and merriment for the good of our students and the school community. Students were able to navigate through the school on a scavenger hunt so parents could visit the various classrooms their children experience each day. A big “shout out” to our PTO Executive Team for putting together a spectacular Luau. The 8th grade raised $1,800 from the spaghetti dinner to help fund their November trip to Boston. The students of Trinity are fortunate to have such a dedicated parent body so devoted to our school. An old saying is: “Kindness is like a boomerang, it always returns.” Thank you to all who support the PTO in so many ways.

The PTO was created to facilitate communication between our school, parents, guardians, faculty, staff and the TES Board of Trustees to assist in fostering a sense of school spirit to build community at Trinity Episcopal School.  Many of you do not know each other, but you should know that by choosing Trinity you already have many things in common. By joining the PTO you can help plan events and bring new ideas to our community.

As a parent or guardian, faculty, staff or school board member – you are automatically enrolled as a PTO member and are welcome to all PTO general events. Our next general meeting is Thursday, November 9th . To become a voting member of the TES PTO, annual dues are required. These dues enable the PTO to present community and educational programs to the TES Family to fulfill our mission. By submitting your dues, you will be contributing to the activities that the PTO sponsors such as:

  • Back to School
  • Luau
  • Service Projects
  • Movie and Game Nights
  • Holiday Ornament party
  • Parent Education
  • End of the Year Party

My vision for next school year is to have all families pay their $35 dues during registration and monies collected will go towards the above along with back-to-school supplies, field trips and other cultural activities.

Currently, family (household) pay their dues as part of registration and are collected at any time but early memberships help with planning. Please use the form at the bottom of the page to become a voting member by submitting your dues. Simply detach this form and return it with your check to your child’s teacher by November 3rd. For your convenience, this form will also be available online on the TES PTO webpage (PTO tab).

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 www.tesgalv.org

Monday Message 10/23/17

Dear Trinity Families and Friends,

“What exactly is an Episcopal school?”  The National Association of Episcopal Schools says it best.

Episcopal schools are most distinctive when they are true to their mission and when they do so in a graceful and inclusive manner. Episcopal schools are created to be communities that honor, celebrate and worship God as the center of life. They are created to be models of God’s love and grace. They are created to serve God in Christ in all persons, regardless of origin, background, ability, or religion. They are created to “strive for justice and peace among all people and [to] respect the dignity of every human being.” These principles are the basis on which identity and vocation are to be defined in Episcopal schools.

Episcopal schools have been established, however, not solely as communities for Christians, like a parish church, but as ecumenical and diverse ministries of educational and human formation for people of all faiths and backgrounds. Episcopal schools are populated by a rich variety of human beings, from increasingly diverse religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. It is also a distinguishing characteristic of these schools that they seek to integrate religious and spiritual formation into the overall curriculum and life of each school community. Episcopal schools are clear, yet graceful, about how they articulate and express their basic identities, especially in their religious curricula and traditions. They invite all who attend and work in them—Episcopalians and non-Episcopalians, Christians and non-Christians, people of no faith tradition—both to seek clarity about their own beliefs and religions and to honor those traditions more fully and faithfully in their own lives. Above all, Episcopal schools exist not merely to educate, but to demonstrate and proclaim the unique worth and beauty of all human beings as creations of a loving, empowering God.

In practice, these principles and ideals are expressed through:

  • School Worship that is creative, inclusive, draws fully upon the liturgical resources of The Episcopal Church, and is a regular part of school life for all faculty and students.
  • Community Life, in which reflection, prayer, and matters of the spirit are honored and cultivated and the physical, mental, and emotional health of all are supported and nurtured. All Trinity families and friends are welcomed each Tuesday and Thursday to our 8:15 Morning Chapel Service.
  • Religious Formation and Study that is meaningful, academically substantive, and age-appropriate; and in teaching the Christian tradition, fosters dialogue with other faith traditions.
  • Social Justice, which is the integration of the ideals and concepts of equity, justice, and a just society throughout the life of the school; the embracing and honoring of diversity; and the inclusion of community service and service-learning as an integral part of the life of the school.

Weaving these principles into the very fabric of Trinity’s overall ethos, along with a strong curriculum and high standards, is what truly distinguishes us from the rest.

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550
409.765.9391 www.tesgalv.org