March 18, 2019
Dear Families and Friends of Trinity,
Making learning powerful and engaging students to a point where they are motivated to master a concept is an art most teachers work on daily. For some, this takes years and years of practice, and for others, it is a natural talent. The art of teaching manifests in many shapes and sizes, and a teacher’s personality is woven into each lesson with precision and thoughtful guidance.
Research suggests that teachers begin to develop their expertise in initiating and managing a classroom with a small number of objectives and an assessment to ensure mastery of an objective. For some, this can take six or seven years before it comes naturally. The teacher’s manual that accompanies a commercial reading series is filled with low-level, literal questions – Trinity teachers plan each lesson ensuring they can take our children to the next level with teacher-managed discussions in which they work to involve all the students. Our teachers continually expand outside the box to make each lesson relatable, relevant and real; bringing that basic level of mastery to a higher level. They build on a child’s prior knowledge. They discuss with their colleagues about creativity and taking risks within their classroom to ensure they are inspiring and engaging all students.
At Trinity, you will not see a teacher in front of a classroom lecturing; instead, you will see differentiated instruction. Cooperative grouping, teacher-directed and self-directed opportunities to practice give children the opportunity to master an objective. I watch structured chaos begin to take shape as all members of the classroom are inspired to give it a go. Picture a class of 18 with 9 pairs having whisper talk about a topic and watching a lightbulb appear over a child’s head. For our teachers, this is the tangible reward that cannot be put into words. This happens daily and, in some classes, up to a dozen times as students are exposed to the four core classes of Reading, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies alongside Spanish, Music, Religion, Art and Physical Education.
An independent school has an opportunity and obligation to engage students to have peer to peer discussion while providing modeling to demonstrate appropriate ways to disagree. Love, respect, compassion, integrity, and perseverance are words that are important to our curriculum; and together parents and teachers are making a difference.
In addition to an exceptional classroom experience, we offer resources beyond the classroom that provide an extension to the learning begun within. Our Homework Lab, Tutoring, and Learning Lab work in tandem with the classroom teacher to further reinforce and individualize concepts to the learning needs of the student. These resources are an important aspect of Trinity, some of which are made possible in part thanks to former faculty. To that end, I am pleased to invite you to Morning Chapel on Thursday, March 21st. Please join us as we dedicate the Michelle Jewell Funston Learning Lab, in special recognition of a masterful teacher who truly exemplified what it means to make learning personal and special for each student.
With Warm Regards,
Mark Ravelli / Head of School
Trinity Episcopal School
720 Tremont Street Galveston, TX 77550