Monday Message 5-10-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

At the last Board of Trustees meeting, someone remarked to me, “you must be counting down the days!” and I replied to her, “I am running two races, the closing of the school year and the planning for next school year.” Upon reflection, I realize that this was a “Negative Nelly” response, and in that retort, I was not practicing what I preach in leadership. In every day and in every endeavor, we all need little wins to keep the fire stoked. Even as I write this message before I leave for the evening, I will clear my desk, check my 'to-do' list to cross off items and add those not crossed off to the next day’s calendar, and I will journal about the major events of the day. This helps me understand and organize the wins of the day and the follow-ups for the future. This has helped me gain momentum for an honest day in the books. In leadership, I have discovered momentum comes from series of small wins; no wins mean no momentum. Dan Rockwell, a leading leadership authority, shares, “Winning requires an ending. A race that has no end has no winner. Even the longest car races in the world all had an ending. A race without an end is pointless. A world without endings is filled with losing.”

As I get older, I recognize the consequences of rushing from one thing to the next without an end in sight - no end in sight leads to burnout. I have always tried to design wins around my activities. Some good guidelines I suggest:

  • Set up short projects to enable quick wins.
  • Set goals that are attainable.
  • When I am tired, I always dialogue with children; they set me straight.
  • Before you rush to the next thing, take pride in your present accomplishment.

Set yourself up with wins by having an ending to tasks. To that Trustee reading this …there are 14 days left of school!

Sincerely,

 

Mark Ravelli

Head of School

Monday Message 5-3-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

 

In the Spring of 2020, Trinity staff spent hours and hours collaborating in the virtual world, adapting to the circumstances to offer some normalcy into our students’ lives. Similarly, as the Administrative team reviewed the end-of-year traditions for this year, our goal was to ensure students are engaged in making memories and connecting with the upcoming Trinity milestones in-person, as much as possible. Throughout the school year, you have witnessed various cherished rituals that make the Trinity experience complete. To that end, parents have attended events including the Beginning School Blessing of the Pets, the Book Fair, Kindergarten Circus, and 1st-grade parents were able to watch their children perform the Christmas pageant in the church. Parents of this year’s Citizenship Award recipients will attend an upcoming ceremony on the Garth, and both the PK4 and Class of 2021 graduations will be held in-person on May 27 (more information to follow).

Other Trinity traditions that will still take place for children are Beginning School Splash Day (May 19) and a modified Green and Gold Games (May 21). This year’s Green and Gold Games, in which good old-fashioned games will allow the students to compete in a friendly manner, will take place during each grade’s Physical Education class. As always, the overall objective for GGG is community-building, sportsmanship, and fun. We as adults must remember our shared goals and the partnership necessary to ensure we are making golden memories for our children whilst keeping everyone safe.

 

Warmly,

 

Mark Ravelli

Head of School

Monday Message 4-26-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

 

This school year has been a challenge for our teachers. The level of stress has been exponentially higher due to COVID, and our faculty and staff have risen to the challenge to ensure we were able to engage and educate children in person all year. Among the people I admire most during this pandemic are health care workers, police and fire personnel, store clerks and restauranteurs, and educators! Our teachers worked throughout the summer logging long hours, preparing throughout the day, and working into the late evening to ensure your child is successful. They are forever standing on their feet, grading papers, writing emails, giving continuous feedback and encouragement to your child. They make certain that no child falls through the cracks. Our teachers have been on the frontlines, working weekends and holidays to ensure extraordinary experiences for their class. Our teachers have made the extreme changes necessary to support accommodated learning seamlessly.

We all look forward to the day when things are back to normal and I am certain that just as you can remember your fondest memory with a beloved teacher, so will your child. We all have a special memory of Mr. or Mrs. so and so who made a difference in your life. Teachers demonstrate acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion for your child. They send small personal messages of encouragement and motivation each day. They know when to speak and when to smile and when to shake their head and say nothing. We all love our teachers and I ask you to please email your teachers and share the love during Teacher Appreciation Week May 3rd – 7th.

 

Warmly,

 

Mark Ravelli

Head of School

Monday Message 4-19-2021

Dear Trinity Parents,

Reviewing my calendar has left me astonished, realizing how close to the finish line we are. May is always a busy month at TES, and this year is no different. Similar to successful events such as our 2020 Graduation, Fall Book Fair, Lessons and Carols, and the Kindergarten Circus, May traditions will still take place, albeit in modified forms assured to keep our community safe. Please mark your calendars for the upcoming dates, particulars will be shared on a case-by-case basis.

May 6 | NJHS Recognition, during Chapel

May 7 | May Fête and Leslie Otto Memorial Flower Show: May Fête is the oldest tradition held at Trinity, in which PK2 through 4th Grade present dances to honor the 5th Grade court (this year’s court will also include 6th Graders), followed by the 5th Grade dance around the May Pole in celebration of Spring. This year, parents are not able to attend, except for parents of 5th Graders. 5th Grade parents, you will receive tickets prior to the event. Students will be safely spaced, and the performances will be accessible on the school YouTube channel for you to enjoy along with your children at your leisure. This is a noon dismissal day and there is no lunch or extended care. Room parents and teachers will be sharing details about costumes and flower show wreaths.

May 10 | Beginning School Muffins with Moms on the Garth

May 11 | Citizenship Award Ceremony: Character counts at TES. Two students from each Kinder through 8th Grade class are recognized for outstanding citizenship. Parents of Citizenship Award winners will be invited to an abbreviated outdoor ceremony on the Garth to see their children accept the award and pose for a picture with the Head of School.

May 21 | Beginning School Splash Day: Mrs. Leimer will share details.

May 24-26 | TMS Exam Days

May 27 | PK4 Graduation Ceremony: Please review Mrs. Leimer’s letter for details.

May 27 | Last Day of School: This is a noon dismissal day and there is no lunch or extended care.

May 27 | Graduation Ceremony: 7 PM on the Garth, please review Ms. Hyatt’s upcoming memo for details.

June 14 | Mills Uniform Fit Event: 12:00 PM  –  5:00 PM in the MAC, more details soon.

As we round this last lap, I applaud our students, teachers, and parents for the stupendous teamwork and effort made to ensure a successful 2021-22 school year. You have all met the challenges of an unprecedented year and I am extremely proud of everyone. Now let’s finish strong!

Warmly,

Mark Ravelli

Head of School

Monday Message 4-12-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

 

It is with both sorrow and appreciation that I write to inform you that Chloe Knauer will be moving on from Trinity, and from Galveston Island. As she shared with her colleagues in early March, her family is moving to the Texas Hill Country, where she “looks forward to new adventures and opportunities.” Ms. Knauer has worn numerous hats at Trinity since joining the community in 2015; her keen abilities and devotion allowed her to rise through the ranks to her current role as the Director of Advancement and Admission, and her contributions in many areas have elevated and modernized Trinity. The attention to detail and tireless work ethic she brought to the COVID task force helped keep the entire community safe. Perhaps most significantly, Ms. Knauer has raised record amounts of dollars for our Annual Fund, helping to ensure that our faculty and staff receive the resources needed to support the classrooms and our children’s education. She has been instrumental in revolutionizing Trinity’s approach to constituency engagement and has truly grown our mission of philanthropy.

 

Advancement work in independent schools includes admission and development, important components of every thriving private school. Ms. Knauer’s work and the vision leave Trinity positioned well for the coming years. Moving forward, a plan is in place to ensure a smooth transition for Trinity and our students, which I will be announcing in the next few weeks. Join me in wishing Chloe all the best in her new endeavors; she has had a positive impact on many lives here and she will be missed.

 

Warm Regards,

 

Mark Ravelli

Head of School

Monday Message 3-29-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

 

I am always asked by parents, “how can we help our kids build mental strength?” Words like grit and resilience always come to mind yet “the how” is a little difficult to articulate. These life lessons do not happen overnight and conversations throughout the formative years are vital to your child’s success. Last week I shared that E.Q., AKA Emotional Intelligence, trumps I.Q., AKA Intellectual Intelligence. Just last week, the University of California announced they will no longer use standardized testing as part of their admission process. Mental strength does require parents to pay attention to students’ perception of themselves and how they think, feel and act. Students must set goals, think positively of themselves, and take risks. This kind of resilience helps them build character and over time prevail over life's toughest challenges. Trinity will continue to focus on the intellectual, physical, and spiritual development of all children.

 

A therapist explains how to raise mentally tough kids with a growth mindset in this article sent to me by one of our  lower school parents. Read in CNBC: LINK HERE

 

With warm regards,

 

Mark Ravelli

Head of School

Monday Message 3-22-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

 

Below is the March 23, 2020 Monday Message, much of which holds true today. We have all been through so much in just one year. Many evacuated for hurricanes and tropical storms that went into the Greek alphabet, we had a historical arctic blast, and no one would have predicted that we would still be wearing masks a year out from 3-23-20. I always share that the three things that will get us through are faith, family, and friends. Health care workers and TES teachers are my heroes!

 

***************************

 

MM of 3-22-20: Our prayers remain with you as the week begins. I have been carbon-copied on all lesson plan emails, and I am very impressed! The words for this week are flexibility and balance. Remember that while there is likely to be an initial burst of excitement with this new method of parenting and teaching, and that we are all learning on-the-go, too much screen time is not healthy. This is a new normal for all of us nonetheless, learning will continue, students will advance their knowledge and skills and you will surprise yourself daily. But, remember: family first, balance and flexibility. E.Q (Emotional intelligence) triumphs over I.Q. (Intellectual intelligence) in almost every occasion.

 

We understand that you are balancing work, monitoring children, and most importantly, staying safe. Do not let the schoolwork and information cause you stress. There is no right or wrong way to do this, but we ask that you do the best you can with the tools that have been provided. Trinity Episcopal School will do everything it can to support you academically; the spiritual and physical needs are on you. Our mission holds true that TES is here to educate and nurture your children in a God-centered environment, filling hearts and minds with a passion for learning, a strong moral foundation, a commitment to social responsibility, and respect for all people. Remember, flexibility and balance.

 

Thank you for accepting the challenge,

 

Mark Ravelli

Monday Message 3-8-2021

Dear Trinity Families,
It has been one of my greatest pleasures to be the Director of Trinity Summer Camp for the past fifteen years. As we look forward to Summer 2021 and process the past school year, we have collectively decided not to host Summer Camp 2021.
This year has been a whirlwind of emotions and unprecedented challenges, and we feel that the time off is needed to pause, recharge, and reflect on all we have accomplished this school year. Our number one goal is to open our doors in August 2021 with recharged, refreshed, and energized teachers and staff. The decision was not made lightly; after several meetings, we decided this was the best decision for our Trinity community.
We look forward to returning on June 8, 2022, for Summer Camp 2022 with new and exciting plans. Thank you in advance for your understanding, knowing that this decision was not easy for us.
Sincerely,

Rachel Palomo Brown 

Assistant Director of the Beginning School and Enrichment

Trinity Episcopal School

Monday Message 3-1-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

Covid fatigue is real, and as this pandemic continues to spread and trigger new COVID-19 hot spots across the country, even people who have not gotten sick are feeling mentally fatigued. A recent survey indicates that Americans feel that the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health. For some, the experience of extended social distancing leaves them feeling lonely, while others are stressed about their health, employment, increased workload, school, and childcare. At Trinity we have been lucky; consider that in many places, students have been remote learners for an entire year!

It is natural and quite normal to feel mentally weary or stressed out at a time like this. An unprecedented and prolonged crisis can trigger stress-related issues for people, even if you have never previously experienced mental health issues. I have heard, “we are all in the same boat," but I don't believe this is entirely accurate. Instead, I would draw the following metaphor: we are all in the same storm, but some have a yacht, some have a canoe, and others are drowning.

Please know that you are not alone. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try these simple tips to minimize the effects of pandemic-related stress:

  • Do not overdo it with COVID-19 news. According to research led by UC Irvine’s Roxy Silver, Ph.D., excessive news, and visual images about traumatic events can make us even more anxious. Start by setting limits on how much COVID-19 content you take in. Avoid news that’s not useful and discourage friends and family from sharing unhelpful news or social media reports with you.
  • Improve your sleep.It is normal to lose some sleep while trying to cope with the uncertainty of a pandemic. To ensure healthier sleep patterns, unplug devices an hour or two before bed, and replace browsing and video watching with reading or meditating to train your body to relax in preparation for sleep.
  • Eat better and exercise. Eating healthier foods and exercising regularly are proven mood boosters. As little as 30 minutes of exercise a day can boost your mental and physical health.
  • Stay in touch with important people in your life. Social distancing may make it more challenging, but it is important to keep in touch with family, friends, and loved ones. You can make phone calls, hold video chats, text, and email to maintain your most important relationships.
  • Ask for help. If stress and anxiety for any reason are getting in the way of your daily activities, seek help. Your primary care physician or provider is trained to help identify mental health issues, render care, and/or refer you to specialized providers. CLICK HERE for information about free and confidential resources.

As Spring Break approaches, please keep in mind Trinity is following the CDC regulations in place regarding quarantine and COVID-19 testing following international travel. CDC requires negative COVID testing 72 hours prior to flying into the US from an international country. Additionally, if you travel to a country listed as a Risk Assessment Level 2 or higher on the CDC website (majority of destinations including Mexico) your children will need to quarantine for 7 days upon your return and must be tested 3-5 days after travel to be able to return to campus. For the list of destinations & CDC travel recommendations, including risk level, click HERE.

Domestic travel also increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19, and the CDC recommends that you do not travel currently. If possible, delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli

Head of School

Monday Message 2-22-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

As I plan for each day’s events and challenges that will arise throughout the week, I have found that the word “trust” comes up again and again. As head of school, I cannot do this work without the reservoir of trust that has been built in the school and in the community. It reminds me of Brené Brown’s description of trust as the “stacking of small moments over time,” akin to preparation for COVID, that first week back to school in mid-August and now, our catastrophic freeze accompanied by lack of power and water last week. We have all found opportunities to trust and know that our community is doing the best it can with the information and tools it has before us.

I have witnessed how neighbors, teachers, and parents have treated each other, I have watched students reach out to their peers, and I am in awe. I observe how colleagues patiently inspire each other. We all must show great courage, empathy, and trust in our work. I could go on and on about trust, but I do believe Blaine Lee from the Power Principle says it best: “When people honor each other, there is a trust established that leads to synergy, interdependence, and deep respect. Both parties make decisions and choices based on what is right, what is best, what is valued most highly." Trust is like a "THINK filter,” we all use this tool all the time. For example, we trust our food in grocery stores or at restaurants is safe, we trust our mechanics, and in dropping off our children at Trinity every day we trust that “all will be well.” Your gut sometimes works better than your brain, and this is important to remember when your children become teenagers. Trust is established over time.

We all continue to trust that our school community is staying safe and making healthy behavioral choices when not on campus and we trust in ourselves to utilize our God-given talents to make our community a little better each day.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou

With gratitude,

Mark Ravelli

Head of School