Monday Message 11/12

Hello, Fellow Parent Chargers!

 

To further foster a sense of belongingness and community at Trinity, the PTO would like to invite all parents and guardians to our first Book/Video Club on social and emotional learning!  Please read below for some important details.

 

When and where is the book/video club meeting:  November 15 at 5:30-6:30 in Eaton Hall at Trinity Episcopal School

 

What will we discuss?  Helping Your Child Succeed by Cultivating a Growth Mindset

 

What is a growth mindset?  Check out the attached flyer to learn more about what a growth mindset is and why it is important for us to cultivate a growth mindset in our children and ourselves.

 

Who will lead the discussion? Beth Auslander, Ph.D., psychologist/professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UTMB and parent of a Trinity 5th grader

 

What will be the format?  We will divide up into small groups and discuss information from the book chapter and video listed below.  I will have a set of questions to help guide our discussion.

 

What if I did not have time to read the chapter and watch the video?  Feel free to read the chapter OR watch the video.  I know we all get busy, so if you don’t have time to do either, please come to the meeting anyway to learn and share your thoughts. 

 

We are in this parenting thing together.  The more we support each other, the further our children will go together!

 

Hope to see you there!

 

Beth

 

 

Beth A. Auslander, PhD

Mental Health Director

Teen Health Center, Inc.

(409)766-5713

 

Professor

Department of Pediatrics

University of Texas Medical Branch

(409) 772-2341

Monday Message 11/5

Dear Friends and Families of Trinity,

Thanksgiving month is upon us, and as parents, we should all be Thankful for what we have and how we impact our community directly or indirectly. Below is a link to an article that validates the impact of our school community and should make us pause and be thankful of all we do have. We are helping others, and we are living out our mission. I’m so proud of our school community and how we demonstrate the importance of helping others.

https://www.texaschildrens.org/blog/our-family%E2%80%99s-journey-mysterious-illness-help-hope

 

With warm regards,

 

Mark Ravelli / Head of School

Trinity Episcopal School

 

Monday Message 10/29

Dear Trinity Families and Friends,

We are blessed to be involved in the process of the formation of your children.

Today’s world is information obsessed. We are flooded with information from friends, media and other outside sources, and we form a belief based on those communications. However, when new information comes our way, we assimilate it, and that becomes a new experience.  Contemplation of the word “information” leads us to explore the root: formation.

for·ma·tion/fôrˈmāSH(ə)n

noun: the action of forming or process of being formed.

Formation takes time. Formation happens in readings and discovery, in placing our children in a setting where they gather information, discover and form ideas based on what they believe from prior knowledge and making mistakes. Formation is understanding, empathy, and taking complete ownership of something. Formation is cultivated over time. It is particularly drawn-out for young children whose world tends to be self-centered and controlled by developmental factors.

As instruments in the formation of your child, we must consider that formation occurs best in an environment of understanding. To understand another person, we must temporarily set aside our wants and needs. When we come to understand another person, it does not necessarily mean we agree with their mindset, but we must be willing to accept that they may hold views and opinions very different from our own. We grow up in different environments, with different influences and experiences that shape and form our opinions and view of life. We cannot know someone until we first try to understand the world from which they are coming. To that end, the world we grew up in is very different from the one which our children are experiencing. Parenting does not come with a manual, but one thing has guided me well: by not focusing upon my world and instead seeking to understand the other person’s perspective, I believe I become a better listener, a much better parent, and ultimately better able to be a positive impact of formation.

“Good Judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment “ Rita Me Brown.

 

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School

 

Trinity Episcopal School

720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550

Monday Message 10/22

Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,

October is National Bullying Month, and we at Trinity have a zero tolerance when it comes to bullying (page 42 TES Handbook). What can parents and schools do to ensure bullying is not happening in our school? The first way is to communicate and stay educated on trends and reoccurring themes. Together we must watch for the signs on how to distinguish personality conflicts between children vs. bullying. To begin the dialogue, here are Seven Bullying Myths and some of the facts.

Myth #1 You will know when your child is being bullied. Just because your child does not share with you does not mean it is not happening. Have a dialogue with your child and ask questions, talk to the teacher first and then share your apprehensions with the administration. More times than not your child needs to find their voice. Give him/her tools to work with: like refusing to provide the bully with an audience. Often if the bully is not getting a response from their target, they will go elsewhere. Please keep in mind that there is more to solving the problem than equipping the victim, we must also help the bully get to the root of his/her issue. Communicating the problem with teachers and administration is an important step in this process.

Myth #2 Bullying always includes physical aggression. Bullies are looking to have power over another individual. At times the power they seek is not displayed with physical aggression but instead manifests as name-calling or exclusion, teasing and the use of threatening language. Bullying can also be done through texting or on social media. Is it bullying when a child is excluded from a game? Yes, social exclusion can be considered bullying if a particular person or clique continuously exclude your child. It is important that teachers are aware of these situations so dialogue and intervention can take place within that classroom setting.

Myth #3 The bully is always bigger. Physical size is not a significant factor in whether or not a child is a bully. Bullying often stems from a need for self-actualization. A bully will pick on someone he/she perceives as weaker, frequently seeking a victim that lacks confidence and does not know how to use their voice. We adults must teach our children to stand up to bullies by using their voice, starting with the victim telling the bully to stop. If the victim initially lacks the confidence to speak up directly to the bully, he/she needs to tell a trusted adult.

Myth #4 There is one clear way to solve the problem. Turn your back is the clearest and easiest way, but often it doesn’t solve the problem. Fighting back is an alternative; however, Trinity does not condone fighting, and with school violence on the rise this is not a wise choice. Telling an adult and discussing possible solutions is the beginning of solving the problem. We need to ensure our children have a safe place to share their angst no matter how big or small.  We must give our children a voice, and a forum like our Middle School Advisories or simply the opportunity to talk to their teacher is a good place to start.

Myth #5 If your child is a victim, call the bully’s parents.  Unfortunately, emotions can overcome the logic in parent-to-parent meetings. We at Trinity are committed to our anti-bullying policy. If the bullying is happening on campus, please allow us to mediate, and together we will figure out the steps to move forward. If a bully is not able to extinguish the behavior, he/she will be expelled.

Myth #6 Boys are more likely to be bullied or be the bully. Girls can bully by creating a hostile environment for their victims. If your daughter is sad, moody, or is reluctant to go to school, please talk to her about bullying. Mean-girl bullying is just as damaging as physical aggression, and if you do not see the clues or your child does not feel comfortable to open the dialogue, it can be an awful experience. Every child must have a voice and feel included at Trinity. Sometimes an adult is the bully; coaches, teachers, and neighbors have been bullies in my life. To solve the problem, the offending adult was confronted.

Myth #7 It is not my child doing the bullying. Parents are their kids’ best defender. But sometimes we dismiss our own child’s reports about being bullied or refuse to consider that our own child is the bully. Parents must take an active role in addressing their child’s aggression, including bullying siblings. We must listen to our child. Sometimes we contribute to the problem by frequently telling our child to “stop tattling/whining.” We can unintentionally shut down their voice about a significant issue they may be facing. Your child’s safety is our number one concern, and together we will continue to keep our children safe and healthy.

 

Sincerely,

Mark Ravelli, Head of School

 

Trinity Episcopal School

720 Tremont Street, Galveston, TX 77550

409.765.9391 https://TESgalv.org

Monday Message 10/15

Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,

Trinity Episcopal School is known for its academic excellence and in that breath, “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”- Victor Hugo.

Our focus is to build a community of readers and next Tuesday, October 23rd is our Literacy Evening. That evening is for parents and students to navigate through the school visiting workshops on Literacy and modeling how important reading is. Your attendance will send a powerful message to your young ones.  Along with visiting our Book Fair some of the discussions and workshops will center around our Reading Curriculum. Sessions will cater to lower school and middle curriculum, along with read-aloud sessions with some of our canine friends that frequent Trinity.

Decoding and fluency remain the most important skills for your emerging reader. Decoding is the ability to become more adept at using patterns to decode words and deciphering the separate sounds in words. Fluency is, quite simply, the ability to read quickly and accurately, something that many second graders begin to do by the end of the school year. In the decoding department, second graders should be able to easily distinguish between the short and long vowels when reading common one-syllable words. A solid grounding in phonics and vocabulary happen daily, but teachers also include many higher order reading skills such as compare and contrast, predicting, making inferences and drawing conclusions. Author’s purpose, poetry, various genres, spelling, and grammar are also important aspects of our English Language Arts Reading Block. As a parent, it is vital to promote reading and learning as a worthwhile activity.

The Book Fair will be on campus during school hours all next week (October 22-26) and open from 5:00 to 7:30 next Tuesday evening (October 23) where you will have an opportunity to purchase books that expand your child’s interests. Remember, reading builds character through themes and plots. I always keep a book on hand for those down times.

There is no substitute for books in the life of a child- May Ellen Chase

Warmly,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School

Trinity Episcopal School

720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550

409.765.9391 https://tesgalv.org

Monday Message 10/8

Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,

At our General PTO fall meeting, Dr. Beth Auslander; Ph.D. and Professor/Psychologist at UTMB Department of Pediatrics, led our parents in a discussion about helping your child succeed and SEL (Social Emotional Learning). Dr. Auslander is a Mental Health Director at the Teen Health Center and mother of Vincent Barber in Grade 5. She shared that SEL is the process by which children and adults learn to understand and manage emotions, demonstrate care and concern for others, and develop positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.  She then shared the Trinity mission statement which is to nurture and educate 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. Dr. Auslander was pleased to share that this is happening daily at Trinity. The discussion centered around how we, as a community, can work together to help our children become their best selves. The big question being, “How we can help our children behave ethically?” She shared how my opening statements at our Back to School Orientation resonated with her; and how we want our children to be real and responsible, so we can help our children rise.

To facilitate the development of social and emotional learning in ourselves and our children, Dr. Auslander encouraged us first to embrace a growth mindset.  Based on research by Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, Ph.D., a growth mindset is the belief that abilities, including intellectual, social, and emotional, can be developed.  According to Dweck, we can encourage a growth mindset by teaching our children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, and enjoy effort as they continue learning. Dweck describes children with this skillset: “Children who have the Grit to navigate others.”  Dweck would further say that this the best gift a parent can give their child.

In recent years, the characteristics of grit and resilience have received much attention in popular and scientific communities. It has been found that embodying these traits can profoundly affect how students live purposeful lives—academically, socially and emotionally.

When you consider the “person” you want your child to be when s/he grows up, who is that person?  What does s/he think, feel, or do? I take our school-home partnership very seriously; to that end, Dr. Auslander will be starting a monthly book/video club on Social Emotional Learning with our first topic being:  Embracing a Growth Mindset. Please look for the sign-up sheet for our first meeting on this very important subject at our upcoming Literacy Night, October 23rd from 5:00-7:30.  In the meantime, check out these links on Social Emotional Learning.

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 10/1

Dear Family and Friends of Trinity,

We are excited to announce the launch of our 2018-2019 Annual Giving campaign, A Sense of Belonging!! Be on the lookout for a mail piece with all the details.

Your support in our Annual Fund campaign will impact the immediate imperatives of this school. Your gift will impact the future educational experiences the school can offer such as the implementation of new and innovative programs, ensuring the safety and security of our students and enhancing our facilities. Trinity Episcopal School does not receive financial support from local, state or federal government funds – our teachers and administration rely on your support to meet yearly operating costs.

Want to save stamps? Many of our donors set up a reoccurring monthly donation through Paypal. Use our Paypal link to donate online!

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 9/24

Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,

Language is an adult’s most powerful tool, for words do more than deliver content. They also play a huge part in whether children develop self-control, build a sense of belonging, and gain academic and social skills and knowledge. This warm and thought-provoking reflection shows how you as parents can use words, tone, and actions to build a child’s sense of self. Your words and actions can damage or build. Children feel safe, respected, appreciated, and excited about learning. As an educator, I have come to realize that passion can get us into trouble and sometimes hinder us from finding the most meaningful words. Real-life anecdotes and concrete examples guide children to understand, and our modeling for children is what instills life-long lessons.

Good language habits include the use of:

  • language to encourage vs. discourage
  • language to help children envision success
  • open-ended questions that stretch children’s thinking
  • listening and silence skillfully so they actually have to think
  • say what you mean and mean what you say
  • giving brief, concrete instructions (more isn’t always better)
  • asking children what they think?

This was a story I shared with the students last school year during Chapel: The Orange Story, Santa Monica Business Journal – May 1996 By Lee Jay Berman

Once upon a time, there was a mother who had two children. One day, the kids came to the mother fighting. There was one orange left in the house, and they both wanted it–typical of small children. What is a parent to do?

Some parents say that they would take the orange away and send the kids to their rooms for fighting. Most parents say that they would cut the orange in half, giving each child an equal share. Finally, the parents with more experience, anticipating a further argument over which half each child wants, would improvise. By allowing one child to carefully cut the orange in half, and then letting the other child choose the half s/he wants, parents give the incentive to the child who cuts the orange to be as fair as possible, since s/he suffers the loss if the halves are not equal. Seems fair?

Luckily, this particular mother is a mediator. She takes the orange from the crying children and asks them why they want it. When asked, one child expresses the desire to make orange juice. The other is baking muffins and needs to shave the peel into the recipe. The children, with the help of their mother, compromise. By allowing one to make all the juice he or she wants, giving the leftover peel to the other only once every drop of juice has been squeezed out of it, the other gets the entire peel intact. Both are therefore satisfied.  In our society, we are raised to think that when there is a conflict, one person must win and the other must lose. We are not accustomed to working out a win-win solution; it is harder to do. Good use of language requires more effort; however, the outcome is usually worth it.

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 9/17

Dear Friends and Families of Trinity,

While reading The Art of Community by Charles Vogl this summer, I considered the Trinity traditions that are meaningful to its students and graduates.  In his book, Vogl outlines seven principles that help in growing effective connected communities. One of those seven principles is creating rituals that stand the test of time. This book, along with our mission, helped me support the parents who want to put on the Fall Carnival this year and to keep it as an annual event. In reflecting on our theme for the school year, “Creating a Sense of Belonging,” I recognize this event as a ritual that brings our community closer together.  In that breath, any decision that I make must pass this criterion:

  • Is it good for the child?
  • Is it good for the school?
  • Is it ethical?

Many discussions have focused on having the proper lead time to ensure this Fall Carnival would be successful. Mr. Randy Garcia stepped forward to lead a committee that will ensure that the Fall Carnival is safe, student-centered, minimizes the need for volunteers, and is fun for all of those involved!

This year the carnival will be a break-even event. A wrist band will be sold at cost for access to all activities.  Parents will have the option to sponsor an inflatable activity. The school will be vigilant in ensuring the safety and security of all participants by GPD presence, closing off 22nd Street, and utilizing The Garth.

The Fall Carnival will take place on Friday, November 9th from 12:00 to 3:00. This day is already on our calendar as a half-day conference/noon dismissal with no extended day. All students who would like to participate in the carnival must be accompanied by an adult.  Please designate an adult to oversee your children during your conference time, if it is scheduled for that afternoon.  We will not let any student be unattended.

More details are forthcoming, and we will look forward to an afternoon of fun and camaraderie.

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School

Monday Message 9/10

Dear Friends and Families of Trinity,

The school year is in full swing, and I am impressed by the commitment of the school board, faculty, staff, parents, and students to making this small school something special and ensuring everyone feels a sense of belonging. Thank you to the PTO for putting on the Back to School Bash; it was an amazing evening of fellowship, friends, and family.

A great example of community in addition to the Back to School Bash is the patience that everyone has demonstrated with our school uniforms. We have all survived the delay, and I want to reiterate that we will grandfather in all uniforms purchased. Parents and students alike have demonstrated a sense of compassion and resilience, and for that I am thankful.

We experience and create all kind of different energies that affect how we feel and what we accomplish throughout our day. I shared with the children last week that what they say and what they do create positive or negative energy. This energy not only impacts how they feel, but how others feel around them. If we all work on creating more positive energy, we will all see improvements in our lives and more things will become possible.

Some ways that help me create positive energy include: listening to music, focusing on gratitude, listening to the children talk, reading, journaling, staying organized, and surrounding myself with positive people. How do you utilize and create positive energy? How do you create a sense of belonging for yourself?

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~Buddha

 

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli / Head of School