Monday Message 9-20-2021

Dear Trinity families,

On Sunday, October 3rd Episcopal Schools all over the country will celebrate Episcopal School Sunday. We will celebrate as an Episcopal community during the 10:30 am service. This is an important service to attend because you have chosen to send your child to an Episcopal School. I am certain friends have asked you, “So what exactly is an Episcopal School?” The National Association of Episcopal Schools shares that Episcopal schools are most distinctive when they are true to their mission and when they do so in the graceful and inclusive manner. Episcopal schools were created to be communities that honor, celebrate, and worship God as the center of life. Episcopal Schools 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 social justice and peace among all people and [to] respect the dignity of every human being."

Episcopal schools have been established, however, not solely as communities for Christians, like a parish church, but as ecumenical and diverse ministry 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 Episcopal schools 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. Trinity invites all families who attend and work here—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.

In practice, these principles and ideals are expressed through:

• School Worship that is creative, inclusive, and draws fully upon the liturgical resources of Trinity 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 am Morning Chapel Service or Sunday Service at 8:00 and 10:30 am.

• Religious Formation and Study that is meaningful, academically substantive, and age-appropriate; and in teaching the Christian tradition, fostering 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.

What truly distinguishes us from the rest are these principles woven into the very fabric of Trinity’s overall ethos, along with high academic standards and a faculty and staff that loves what they do each day.

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli, Head of School

Monday Message 9-13-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

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 welcomed. Last Friday evening could not have been a better example. The weather was perfect and the families were able to break in the new school year with fun and frolic into the night in a safe, FUN environment. A special thank you to Lyndsey Ginsberg, Sarah Sullivan, and the entire PTO Executive Board. The PTO is off and running and I am so grateful to have watched the children dance, hula hoop, and just be kids. It does take a village to raise children and Trinity is that village.

We experience and create all kinds of different energies that affect how we feel and what we accomplish throughout our day. I shared in chapel last week that what we say and what we do creates positive or negative energy. This energy not only impacts how children 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. Having positive thoughts and vision make for a healthy life.

Some ways that help me create positive energy include listening to music, focusing on gratitude, listening to your children talk, reading, journaling, staying organized, and surrounding myself with positive people. How do you utilize and create positive energy? Thank you again to the PTO for putting on the Luau; it was an amazing evening of fellowship, friends, and family.

"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

Monday Message 9-7-2021

Aloha PTO Members,

That’s all of y’all by the way! Every family and staff member at Trinity Episcopal School is a member of the TES PTO. An important purpose of the PTO is to provide a sense of school spirit and community at Trinity Episcopal School. After a hiatus during the spring of 2020 and the 2020-2021 school year, we are thrilled to once again be planning PTO events! We hope you will attend as many as you’re able. More information, dates, and an electronic PTO event volunteer form will follow in the coming weeks. PTO participation, other TES volunteer opportunities, and attendance at school functions are all ways to be a part of the community that shapes the lives of our children.

Ohana means family! On behalf of the Trinity PTO Executive Board, we invite you to join our school family for some outdoor fun and games at the PTO Back to School Luau this Friday, September 10th from 5:30-7pm. Come check out the new playground, enjoy refreshments, mingle with familiar faces and meet some new ones! Click the sign up link HERE to volunteer at the Luau. Please see the attached flyer for more information.

“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

Our hope for this year is that families feel welcome, that you feel included, and that you are engaged in our community. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Luau on Friday and at PTO events throughout the school year.

Sincerely,

Lynsey Ginsberg, PTO President 2021-2022

Monday Message 8-30-2021

Dear Trinity families

On behalf of the entire Trinity School community, sincere thanks for your generous contributions to our Annual Fund last school year. Your generous donations enabled Trinity to keep tuition down, continue with professional development, update our technology infrastructure to ensure a successful Bring Your Own Device Program and most importantly, purchase a new playground.

This summer, we were able to replace our Lower School playground and ensure a commitment to the Trinity student experience. We are grateful that you have taken part in our shared responsibility to support our essential and unique programs in mind, body, and spirit. Your generous contribution is a worthy investment as we know tuition dollars do not fully fund the school. This past week when I asked children, “What do you like best about Trinity?", the new playground was the reoccurring theme that resonated with the Lower School students.

Parents being able to get back on campus continues the momentum for an ambitious year here at Trinity. It is wonderful that you have chosen to take this leadership role not only to sustain our current excellence, but help ensure that we will continue to thrive in the future. Lastly, thank you for being responsible outside of school with COVID protocols to ensure we stay open throughout the school year.

Sincerely yours,

Mark Ravelli, Head of School

 

Monday Message 8-23-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

I want to welcome Reverend Jimmy Abbott to our Trinity community. Reverend Abbott was born in Los Angeles, California but spent most of his childhood outside of Dallas. He studied history at the University of Texas and met his wife, Maggie, in the Longhorn Band. (Back when he played tuba, but you wouldn’t want to hear him play now!) After graduation, they were engaged to be married, but spent the next three years in separate graduate programs. Maggie attended physical therapy school at Texas Woman’s University in Dallas, while he went to Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. Married in 2010 at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Austin, they then moved to Waco. Maggie worked as a physical therapist in the local hospital and Jimmy served as the curate at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.

In 2012, he was called to serve as the rector of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Spring, Texas. Spring has grown dramatically since then and the church reflected those changes. Much of his work at Holy Comforter focused on this growth and the construction of a new church building that was dedicated in 2019.

Since 2018, Maggie has worked as the Director of Outreach for the Houston Area Parkinson Society (HAPS). In this role, she uses her expertise as a Doctor of Physical Therapy to lead exercise classes and educational opportunities for clients with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. As Galveston is in the HAPS service area, she will continue in this role.

Their daughter, Lydia, was born in 2013 and is a second grader at Trinity Episcopal School. The Abbott family is thrilled for this opportunity to work, worship, and learn through the ministry of Trinity Church and School. Beyond that, Lydia participates in Girl Scouts, dance, and gymnastics.

Reverend Abbott serves as the Diocesan Historian, and he teaches church history at the Iona School for Ministry. I want to say how excited I am to serve next to Jimmy as he will help lead in chapel and in various ministries around the school campus.

With warm regards,

Mark Ravelli, Head of School

Monday Message 8/16/2021

Dear Trinity Families,

This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Portugal, and in particular, the Azores Islands of Portugal. These volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean are majestic in stature and are said to be the Hawaiian Islands of the Atlantic. Located 850 miles off the coast of mainland Portugal and a four-hour plane ride from Boston, we decided to rent a car and just explore. The roads of these majestic islands are lined with hydrangea and there is just enough space for the oncoming traffic to traverse in the other direction along the mountainous terrain. My wife Lori is not a good passenger, in fact, she is such a bad passenger that she must drive. Being in Europe with stick shift in hand, I mumble to myself, “It is not the destination, but the journey.” As I sat in the passenger seat, I repeated that to myself, “It is not the destination, but the journey.” In that moment, I think how synonymous this is with the formative years of elementary education. This is the case with your children in every experience with its many twists and turns and scary views that are both terrifying and beautiful all at the same time. Once I focus on the journey, trust takes over me as I sit back in the passenger seat and begin to really enjoy the experience and exquisiteness of the Azores.

We, as adults, must trust the driver and trust that they are guiding their passenger on an incredible journey with adventure and beauty, albeit the teacher, your parents, or friend. Children need to explore and take risks to make lasting memories. Along the way, we all must stop and look at the GPS to ensure we are heading in the right direction; however, we must respect the process and this journey where the learning and pit stops are really the true education. The failures and how one recovers is the preparation of one's life and the true meaning of living life.

Please join me this evening at 6:00 PM in the church for our parent orientation (adults only). You will hear about our COVID protocols and how much better off we are than at this time last year. We will continue to lift protocols that make sense and that are safe for all. We are moving forward with parents back on campus and we will do our best to get back to life as we knew it before COVID. We are going to hold off on dismissal at glass doors.

Parent Orientation Schedule:

6:00 pm Church: All parents masked and in the church

6:30 pm Rotation 1: Middle School in MAC, Beginning School to stay in Church, Lower School in classrooms

7:15 pm Rotation 2: Lower School

 * Masks must be worn throughout the evening when indoors

 With warm regards,

 Mark Ravelli, Head of School

 

Monday Message 8-9-2021

Dear Trinity families,

Where did the summer go? We are very excited about this school year, as we have made massive gains from where we were a year ago. Parents will be allowed back on campus, parents will not have to wear a mask during drop-off or pick-up in the car, we will utilize the walkup glass doors for drop-off and pick-up, we will not be offering remote learning, nor will we need to quarantine an entire class of students because of a COVID exposure, and we will be able to be outside without masks! When indoors on campus, we will ask everyone to mask, whether vaccinated or not, as we will continue to follow the CDC guidelines. Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools | CDC. Also, please see The Episcopal Diocese of Texas guidelines and information HERE.

Please plan to join us for Parent Orientation, Monday, August 16th at 6 pm in the Trinity Episcopal Church santuary. We ask that while you are indoors on campus, we follow CDC guidelines and wear a mask. If you are a new family or a Trinity Ambassador family, we will have an Ambassador Reception at 5 pm an hour before the Parent Orientation on the garth, where masks will not be required outdoors.

Other housekeeping:

1. Adjust your routines: to ensure all children are prepared for the start of school. i.e. bedtime, eating, medication etc.

2. Parents’ Safeguarding God's Children class on Saturday, August 21st at 9:00 am in Eaton Hall. Anyone who plans to be on campus (volunteer, chaperone, drive for field trips, lunch monitor, etc.) more than 6 hours this year needs to attend Safeguarding God's Children (SGC). People are not added to the class until they complete all the steps: interview, application, and background check. You can contact Mrs. Rachel Brown at rbrown@tesgalv.org who will help you determine whether you need certification in Safeguarding God’s Children (SGC).

3. Extended Day Director: Mrs. Debbie Rushing is planning some great structured activities and students will no longer need to stay in smaller cohorts! Extended Day ends at 5:30 pm and if you do not pick your child up, all children are sent to Extended Day. Information on this will be in your green folders at Parent Orientation.

I am surrounded with many opinions on the matter of COVID and it can divide us or bring us closer together as a school community. While I do not have all the answers, I do ask that you trust in me as I am doing what is best to navigate COVID. Please know that I am listening to every parent and taking into consideration ALL of your view points. Hopefully, the mask wearing is short-lived and we can all get on with some normalcy. We will have many mask breaks and I am confident your child’s teacher will not let masks get in the way of a spectacular school year. My number one priority is keeping students and faculty/staff safe, while continuing in-person instruction. 

*The Administration met today for parents to have a clearer direction of what our protocols will be. You will receive this information prior to Parent Orientation.

Sincerely,

Mark Ravelli, Head of School

Monday Message 5-24-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

As the academic year winds to a close, Trinity wants to make certain children continue to move forward with their learning whilst enjoying their well-deserved summer of fun in the sun. A reflection of how best to conclude the school year offers one of the most prized possessions on our island in our beloved Rosenberg Library. This summer, perhaps more than any other, requires us to respond to life with flexibility and rigor within the same breath, because the pandemic has demonstrated to all of us that our children have grit and determination to accomplish anything when asked to rise to the occasion.

 

The Rosenberg Library will offer a reading club for children with opportunities to earn a trophy while participating in activities this summer. There will be an abundance of Page Turner Adventures (storytelling, comedy shows, recipes, guest author visits, and virtual field trips) in a Zoom format every day at 2:30 pm M-F, June 7 – July 30. Sign-up is weekly with a library staff member designated as that week’s “library camp counselor.” Participants will get a craft bag full of materials to accompany the Page Turner Adventures while supplies last. Alternatively, students can watch programs at the families’ leisure via the summer reading app, Beanstack.

 

Please see attached for more information!

 

With Warm Regards,

 

Mark Ravelli

Head of School

Monday Message 5-17-2021

Dear Trinity Families,

Trinity Episcopal School is a most distinguished school, dually accredited by two prestigious accrediting bodies: SAES (Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools) and ISAS (Independent Schools Association of the Southwest). Trinity hosted its last SAES accreditation visit in 2014, in which the school received many commendations as well as recommendations. Most of these recommended targets have been met or surpassed, and our increased enrollment numbers and record-breaking Annual Fund revenue reflect these achievements. In acknowledgment of the school’s increasing growth, I have seized on an opportunity to meet the one outstanding recommendation by the SAES accrediting team: to separate the Office of Advancement into two offices, managing admission and development independently. I am excited to introduce Rachel Brown as the new Director of Admission, and Shannan Pfiefer as the new Director of Development. Please learn more about these two phenomenal team players by reading their bios:

Rachel Brown is a proud ambassador of Trinity Episcopal School, with a strong passion for providing a nurturing and enriching educational experience for all children. She brings twenty-three years of experience as an employee of Trinity Episcopal School to her new role as the Director of Admission. During the past school year, Rachel worked closely with the Advancement office, the BOT Health, Safety, and Facilities Committee, and BOT Communications Committee, to ensure students' safety and well-being returning to campus during the pandemic. Over her tenure at Trinity Episcopal School, Mrs. Brown has played a role at each of our three campuses in various capacities, including creating a robust summer program, developing a sustainable garden at the Beginning School, and assisting with the traditional family programs loved by families and students alike. Rachel is the proud Godmother of TES Alpha Omega student Matthew Leyva. The valuable specialized leadership skills she has gained during her professional career in education are unparalleled assets that she will bring to her new role at Trinity Episcopal School!

Shannan Pfeifer is thrilled and deeply honored to take on the position of Trinity’s Director of Development. She has spent the last two years working under Chloe Knauer in the Advancement & Admission Office, learning the ropes and strengthening her love of Trinity Episcopal School. She is also a parent of a TES first grader (Heidi) and a PK4 student (Townes). Mrs. Pfeifer is a proud graduate of Baylor University and has spent her career in non-profit management and marketing. She has previously served as the Director of Development for a United Way agency in San Antonio, served on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and specializes in events, graphic design, and communications. Mrs. Pfeifer moved to Galveston almost four years ago and loves everything about the close-knit community and island life. Outside of school, she is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, leads the membership & development committee on the board of Galveston Historical Foundation, and serves on the board of the Silk Stocking Historic District. Mrs. Pfeifer is happily married to Theron, a graduate of Texas A&M Galveston, who works in the local maritime industry. She is passionate about art & design, gardening, historic preservation, live music, travel, and reading. Mrs. Pfeifer looks forward to an exciting new chapter at Trinity - Go Chargers!

I often remark how teachers make up the heartbeat of our school. Great teachers need great support, and the new roles within our administrative team will strengthen our commitment to nurture and educate your children in the Episcopal tradition. There are other important faculty and staffing changes for the 2021-22 school year, which I will share with you in my annual back-to-school newsletter in August. Until then, join me in congratulating Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Pfeifer!

Only 9 more days left!

Warmly,

Mark Ravelli

Head of School

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