Trinity’s art curriculum follows the pedagogy of Teaching Artistic Behaviors (TAB), a methodology that is student-focused, choice-based, and teacher-facilitated. The learning environment is designed to provide centers or mini art studios complete with instructional information, menus, resources, materials and tools. Students move independently between centers, utilizing materials, tools and resources as needed in their art making, such as painting, clay or printmaking. Centers are arranged to provide students with independent learning opportunities. We value the process of art as children as well as students as artists. It is the responsibility of the art teacher to guide students through the art curriculum in an engaging and thought-provoking way. Edmund Feldman states, “...art is a universally human act,” so its importance is held in high regard. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the art room at Trinity Episcopal School where students are given the opportunity to learn while engaged in the process of creating something new. Although the product is usually fantastic, the process-based learning is where the beauty is!
- Weekly studio art classes where students explore a wide variety of media from clay to wire to pastels, all presented in “mini-art studios” throughout the space
- Open art studio where students can use materials and resources to work on classroom projects
- Intentional integration with core subject learning
- Safe and encouraging environment for students to problem solve while exploring their creativity, artistic voice and individual expression
- Exploration of technology, how it is used and how it has impacted visual art
- Visual arts elective choices allow students to explore specific artistic passions such as photography, painting, architecture, etc.
- Annual school-wide arts festival
- Awareness of different materials and processes to communicate different ideas
- Understanding of the basic elements of art and how they contribute to each work of art
- Readiness to dig deeper and elaborate on particular themes and current issues
- Ability to use art as an historic and cultural indicator
- Understanding that art is not created in a vacuum and works its way into other subjects
- Ability to “think” in a visual manner and to reflect on their work and the work of others
Music Ensembles and Musicals/Plays
Trinity’s performing arts program reflects our commitment to a well-rounded liberal arts education with a focus on each student’s creative expression. Sixth grade students choose from one of two ensembles: choir or band. Seventh and eighth grade students who choose to continue in an ensemble can choose Advanced Band or Advanced Choir. The music program provides many opportunities for individual growth and fosters every child’s innate love of music. Ensembles may perform at chapels, commencement and various venues outside of school. Middle School students may also choose to take the drama elective within their schedule, or participate in the after school winter play or spring musical.
- Access to a comprehensive, balanced and sequential program of music study
- Individual and group performing arts opportunities through weekly chapels, school and community events
- Opportunity to explore music composition
- Professional music and theater experiences
- Annual school-wide arts festival
- Ability to read music through the use of rhythms and melodies
- Competency to bridge musical thought through multicultural music and culture
- Greater self-awareness and confidence with public performance
- Identification and recognition of form, harmony, expression and history in music
- Confidence and competence in critically reviewing performing arts
Healthful Living: Physical Education
We believe that all students should have the opportunity to discover and enjoy lifelong activities and sports. Middle school physical education classes teach lifelong exercise and fitness habits while developing skills for athletics. Life Skills classes cover such subjects as time management, social media and etiquette, sexuality, grief, and how to seek justice and be engaged citizens in the democratic process.
- Introductory training instruction during physical education class highlighting five biomechanical skills (agility, speed, power, endurance, flexibility) necessary for athletic performance
- Extensive warm-up sessions prior to all physical education classes, emphasizing dynamic stretching, full range of motion and proper progression (general to specific)
- Class units designed to parallel and complement seasonal middle school sport schedules and supplement daily athletic practices
- End of trimester assessment of student fitness completion and performance
- Focus on honing skills that will prepare students for high school athletics and lifelong physical activity
- Understanding of the impact of proper nutrition and developing healthy eating habits
- Development of proper biomechanics in all areas of fitness and improvement of motor skills
- Appreciation of the human body and understanding of body functions and care
- Character building through cooperative game play, self-awareness and problem solving
- Preparation and bolstering of skills necessary for lifelong wellness and physical fitness
- Awareness of coping strategies to deal with adolescent issues
Healthful Living: Life Skills
Life skills is designed to promote positive outcomes in regard to the social and emotional health of our middle school students. Life Skills classes cover such subjects as time management, social media and etiquette, sexuality, grief, and how to seek justice and be engaged citizens in the democratic process.
- Navigating friendships
- Social Media awareness
- Identity exploration
- Puberty and our changing bodies
- Awareness of online safety measures and the impact of social media on the human brain and behavior
- Awareness of one’s self and others
- Development of healthy habits
During the sixth grade academic year the class addresses the challenges and conflicts that often arise with the transition to middle school. The class explores social etiquette, interpersonal and family dynamics, and the role of social media in our lives. Life Skills also explores the physical changes that students at this age experience, in a safe, respectful environment. We discuss puberty, hygiene, body awareness and nutrition.
Units of Study
- Personal Identity
- Navigating Friendships
- Social Media Awareness
All 7th graders will participate in a Life Skills class designed to help develop and promote the social and emotional health of all students. The three main themes of Life Skills are developing personal skills, growing healthy minds and bodies and strengthening our community. Over the course of the year students will be taught communication and conflict resolution skills. In addition we will address the topics of substance abuse and inclusive communities.
Units of Study
- Community and Personal Skills
- Healthy Minds and Bodies
- Strengthening Our Community
Faith Studies classes, an integral part of Trinity’s overall curriculum, ask our students to be reflective servants, thoughtful stewards and critical thinkers. The School’s chaplains work in concert with faculty to integrate faith coursework and service to the community into other subjects. This complements and reflects our belief that all of life has a spiritual dimension. We embrace the religious diversity that exists within our community and affirm our willingness to listen to, honor and learn from those whose perceptions of God’s mystery differ from our own. Students participate in a worship experience three times a week: Greet the Week on Mondays, a division-level chapel on Wednesdays, and a community chapel every Friday morning where the entire school gathers together. Guest preachers and presenters who represent a variety of religious traditions and expressions are part of the chapel experience. We are guided by the “Book of Common Prayer” for our worship format and the Revised Common Lectionary and other resources for daily worship.
- Grade or division-level chapels that are developmentally geared toward the specific group and are chaplain- and student-led to allow time for prayer and worship where we observe the cherished rituals of the Episcopal Church including its tradition of reason, openness and acceptance
- Biblical stories from both the Hebrew (Old Testament) and New Testament scriptures
- Songs of faith
- Opportunities to make connections with other world religions and heritage celebrations
- Exploration of theological concepts
- Time for students to practice meditation/prayer and to apply their understanding and experience of God to their own lives
- Knowledge of “the stories of God” as revealed by the scriptures
- Connection of Biblical lessons to students’ own stories
- Thoughtful reflection on what it means to be a child of God
- Fluency in prayer, both privately and publicly
6th Grade: Hebrew Scriptures
Sixth Grade students will study the Hebrew Scriptures as they connect to the essential questions of our Faith Studies curriculum and affirm the Trinity Episcopal School Honor Code: Why am I here? What are my gifts and talents and how do they align with my morals and values? Who is my local and global neighbor? How do we process the sacred, mystery, and ambiguity of life? How does Genesis affirm the relationship between humanity and ecology. Students will study the Torah, the creation stories, the patriarchs and matriarchs, and then follow the Israelites through slavery and into the Promised Land. Students will also study the history of the judges and the kings and the words of the prophets and ask how their call for justice is relevant today. Students will read the stories of the biblical text and connect to their current context and cultural reality today. Students will also utilize this sacred time to debrief about their service learning experience.
7th Grade: Christian Narratives
Seventh Grade students will study for an understanding of Christian morality by analyzing the New Testament and historical literature. Although theological themes will occupy much of our attention, the course does not attempt a theological appropriation of Scripture. Rather, the importance of the New Testament and other early Christian documents as ancient literature and as sources for historical study will be emphasized as a means of understanding moral philosophy. This class is not a course for conversion to a particular faith tradition or even perspective. It is, however, a course designed to equip students with the tools for understanding a set of texts and their unified philosophy. During this course we will focus on The Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, in addition to the life and works of Paul the Apostle. Students will also utilize this time to debrief about their service learning experience.
8th Grade: World Religions
Eighth Grade students will explore and expand their understanding of their neighbor as they study the major religions of the world and their perspectives on the social justice issues of the day. In this World Religions Class they begin their study exploring the cultures and customs of Hinduism and Buddhism. We ask the essential question: If my neighbor practices a different religion than me, what questions would I ask to better understand and support their faith practices? Then we study the three faiths of Abraham in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The three monotheistic religions enable them to better compare and contrast similarities and differences with Hinduism and Buddhism. The students will also be equipped and challenged to consider how they will become contributing members of society who can articulate their own religious and moral values and in addition articulate the religious and moral values of those different from themselves.
Social Issues Seminar
The 8th Grade Seminar Course is framed around Trinity’s Embracing Diversity essential questions, which call on each community member to engage critically and empathetically in the world around them. In this course, students explore the questions of “Who am I?,” “Who are you?,” “Who are we together?,” and “What are we called to do?” In pursuit of answers, students develop critical skills in active listening, civil discourse, personal leadership, community advocacy, and change-making. In the spring,TES students identify an area or issue of social change, study it using action research, create a plan for advocacy, and then implement that plan during an advocacy trip to Washington, D.C., in May. This interdisciplinary course is fully integrated with the 8th grade service-learning project, which calls on students to reflect on and investigate issues in the local community and to serve as stewards of their neighborhood.
- Communication: active listening, interviewing skills, active listening, decision-making, and an introduction to public speaking.
- Leadership: definition, styles, and qualities of leadership, youth as leaders
- Social Issues Research and Action: issues and assets in communities, selecting and researching a social issue
- Lobby and advocate for a social issue on Capitol Hill
- Development of communication skills, public speaking, and persuasive argument
- Understanding of personal strengths and areas for growth, as well as one’s place and position in a community
- Understanding of a social issue of personal interest on local, state, and national/systemic levels
- Comprehension of the U.S. federal system and the avenues for civic engagement within that system
- Creating an advocacy plan
- Competency in civil discourse, collegial discussions and decision making
A strong school community enhances students’ success. In Middle School, each sixth- through eighth-grader belongs to a Koinonia with 10-12 other middle school students and one adult leader. Koinonia is a Greek word for “fellowship” or “communion” often appearing in the New Testament in reference to the disciples of the early church who gathered in small groups to tend to the social/emotional needs of one another and build community. Koinonia groups gather every morning for check-in and twice a week for activities that include team building challenge games, tasks that help develop group identity, lessons around diversity, belonging and identity, intramural sports, games and challenges between Koinonias and discussions specific to the needs of our middle school community. This structure ensures that each student has at least one adult in the school community s/he knows well and who can be trusted to know the student well. That adult becomes a coach and advocate for the student in all realms of his/her life at Trinity and a liaison for the parents. The Koinonia lives into its name as members get to know one another and learn to accept, affirm and support one another. In this safe environment students can risk discovering and defining themselves.
- Small, adult-led groups
- Groups are coed and comprised of 6th, 7th, & 8th graders
- Focused time for community building, cooperation and leadership development skills
- Opportunities to live out the Trinity Way and Trinity Honor Code
- Safe environment where students can take risks in discovering and defining who they are and who they aim to be
- Establish relationships with other students and faculty who provide care, acceptance, affirmation and support
- Heightened awareness of what it means to be a good friend and a leader
- Increase self-awareness and confidence
- Exposure to and awareness of similarities and differences in the Trinity community, the Charlotte community and beyond
- Enhanced social awareness
- Development of social skills