Core Curriculum

English / Language Arts
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Course Description

A balanced literacy instructional approach continues in Middle School at Trinity through reading and writing units of study. In English / Language Arts, students are intentionally taught to read, write, solve, and think in authentic genres for real purposes and audiences. In reading, students self-select reading material and investigate reading skills, strategies and genre conventions through individual and shared reading. In writing, students focus on narrative, informational, and argumentative writing and investigate grammar and mechanics in the context of language in order to be able to communicate effectively in the world.
 

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Workshop approach with mini-lessons, independent work time, and debrief time
• Grammar, usage, and mechanics instruction and practice
• Focus on accuracy, fluency, comprehension, craft, and conventions used by successful readers and writers
• Instruction in skills & strategies to build and maintain an independent reading & writing life
• Attention to metacognitive thinking skills, speaking and listening skills
• Regular written assignments and grammar, usage, and mechanics assessments

Outcomes:

• Increased reading and writing appetite, stamina, fluency and comprehension
• Fluency in writing for varied purposes and audiences
• Competence in language structure/grammar, word choice, spelling, syntax, punctuation and capitalization in writing
 

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6th Grade

Units of Study
• Usage, Grammar and Mechanics instruction throughout the year
• The Reading Notebook
• Novel Studies
• Close Reading
• Narrative Writing
• Book Clubs
• Literary Essay
• Reading Nonfiction
• Integrated Informational Writing
 

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7th Grade

Units of Study
• Usage, Grammar and Mechanics instruction throughout the year
• Crafting an Independent Reading Life
• Novel Studies
• The Reading Notebook
• A Deep Study of Character
• Companion Book Writing
• Argumentative Essay
• Literary Essay
• Research Centers and Nonfiction Reading
• Biography Writing
• Nonfiction Book Clubs
 

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8th Grade

Units of Study

• Usage, grammar, and mechanics instruction throughout the year
• The Reading Notebook
• Novel Studies
• Fake Reading and Comprehension Inquiry
• Social Issues book clubs
• Literary Essay
• Podcasting
• Critical Literacy
• Final Reflections 
 


Mathematics
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Course Description

Students are placed in grade level and accelerated courses based on specific performance criteria. Instruction is grounded in a problem-based core curriculum rooted in content and practice standards to foster learning and achievement for all. 
 

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• In-depth coverage of topics with concepts that build upon each other and across grade levels
• Substantive work in important strands of mathematics – rational numbers, geometry, measurement, data, and early algebra – and connections among them
• Ongoing practice and assessment to monitor student growth and understanding
• Problems presented in a real-world context that help children make relevant connections to their own lives
• Emphasis on communication by using discussion strategies that set a tone for rich classroom discourse and written exchange
• Digital tools that supplement the text and support and inform students, teachers and parents
• Online diagnostic program that informs ongoing practice of math skills

Outcomes:

• Mathematical thinking and reasoning: students are able to make sense of math as they develop a deep understanding of core mathematical competencies
• Computational fluency
• Ability to use mathematics in a variety of real world settings
 

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Middle School Math Courses

6th Grade: Math 6, Math 6/7

7th Grade: Math 7, Math 7/8

8th Grade: Math 8, Math 1, Algebra 1, Advanced Algebra, Math 2, Geometry
 


Social Studies
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Course Description

At Trinity the social studies course of study is 6th grade Geography, 7th grade World History and 8th grade United States History. Sixth graders study Geography and Global Issues in which students use geographic tools to understand the world and its complex systems. Through interdisciplinary study, students will gain a much better understanding of the world, and a heightened curiosity about it. Seventh graders study Modern World History where the focus is on 20th century world events. The goal is to widen students’ appreciation of important world events using primary sources. Eighth graders study United States History where the focus is on important American events in the 20th century. The most important goal is to create an enthusiasm for our country's past and increase students’ appreciation of important American historical events through primary sources.
 

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Use of geographical tools to determine where places are located as well as "how" and "why" the world operates the way it does
• Examine and understand primary sources
• Emphasis on current events
• Focus on active and collaborative learning including projects, debates, class discussions and more
• Attention on informational literacy and research skills

Outcomes:

• Competency and ability to read, write and communicate about real places, world events, people, groups, institutions and global issues
• Enhanced public speaking and presentation skills from sharing their learning with large and small group audiences
• Enhanced reading, researching and note-taking skills
• Appreciation for the diverse histories and cultures of the world
 

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6th Grade

Units of Study
• Civic Online Reasoning
• Five Themes of Geography: Create Your Own Island
• Understanding Place and Region
• Federalism and Interconnected Systems
• Globalization and the United Nations
• Model United Nations Simulation
 

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7th Grade

Units of Study
• Reading Like a Historian
• World War I and the Battle of the Somme
• The Interwar Period: An Age of Uncertainty
• Appeasement and World War II
• Containment and The Cold War
• Decolonization
 

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8th Grade

Units of Study
• Presidential Studies
• The Constitution
• The Civil War & the Role of African-American Soldiers
• World War I
• The Great Depression and The New Deal
• World War II
• The Cold War
• The Civil Rights Movement
• The Turbulent 1960s
• Watergate
• The Reagan Era
• The Approaching Millenium
• The 9/11 Attacks: The War on Terror
 


Science
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Course Description

Trinity’s science program creates scientific thinkers who eagerly investigate, research, explore and record information about the world around them. Our hands-on, inquiry-based approach to learning weaves and spirals scientific content in various disciplines and grade levels allowing students to utilize the scientific method to experiment, construct, dissect and create models to prove their hypotheses. Throughout their nine years at TES, students are introduced to such sciences as earth science, physical science, life science, astronomy, physics, chemistry, microbiology, genetics, physiology and the study of our urban environment.
 

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Introduction to the scientific method which requires students to form a hypothesis to prove or disprove
• Reinforcement of the scientific method through research, documentation and communication
• Utilization of scientific tools
• Two fully equipped K-8 science labs
• Hands-on learning approach to reinforce scientific principles
• Microscopic investigation to understand organisms in their environment
• Construction of scientific models
• Experience with the outdoor classroom (vegetable garden, hummingbird/butterfly garden, marshland, etc.) to discover the uniqueness in these habitats
• Dissection of preserved species

Outcomes:

• Greater understanding of our environment and the role of science in everyday life
• Measurement and calculation abilities
• Enhanced critical thinking skills
• Confidence in natural curiosity and ability to investigate and analyze data to prove/ disprove hypothesis
• Ability to observe, write and design as they interact with their environment
• Development of ethics and empathy for others
 

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6th Grade

Units of Study
• Metric System
• Scientific Method
• Weather & Climate
• Parts of a Cell: Animal and Plant
• Evolution and Classification
• Animal and Plant Biology
• Ecology
 

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7th Grade

Units of Study
• Metric System
• Scientific Method
• Atoms, Elements, Molecules, Periodic Table, Bonding
• Balancing Equations
• Rocks and Minerals
• Earth Landforms
• Solar System
 

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8th Grade

Units of Study
• Scientific Writing
• Cells, Viruses, and Bacteria
• Human Organ Systems
• Genetics
• Disease, Nutrition, Growth and Development
• Dissections: Eye, Heart, Lung, Chicken Wing, Brain, Full Fetal Pig
• Physics:  Motion, Force, Machines, Energy and Work
• Waves: Heat, Sound, Light
• Year-long Area of Expertise Project
 


World Language
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Course Description

Middle School students chose between Latin and Spanish, completing level 1 of the language, a high school course, by the end of their eighth grade year.

Middle School Spanish:
Spanish students develop reading, listening, writing and speaking skills through the study of grammar and vocabulary units built around themes. Spanish I students journey through the Spanish speaking world as they study different traditions, holidays and celebrations. As they build their vocabulary and grammar, students begin to converse and write in Spanish about a variety of themes such as family, school, sports, food, shopping, parties, household chores and daily routines through the creation of skits and digital presentations.

Middle School Latin:
Latin studetns learn that this "dead" language is still very much alive in modern civilization. Students travel back in time to learn Latin in historical context and connect what they learn to their own language(s) and culture. Students explore the Roman world beyond the language, focusing on art, architecture, archaeology, mythology, government, food and engineering. This is accomplished via project-based learning. Students explore modern allusions to the Classical world and identify areas in which modern cultures have been influenced. This program improves reading and comprehension skills by teaching students to use prior knowledge, illustrations and English connections to Latin vocabulary to aid them in understanding Latin passages. Students read Latin primary sources to hear from the Romans in their own voices. This course also includes spoken Latin to help students acquire and retain vocabulary and grammar. All Latin students build English vocabulary skills through word derivation activities.
 

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Spanish: Units of Study

Grade 6: 
• Conversational expressions
• Common vocabulary and expressions
• Spanish alphabet
• Latin American geography
• Formal and informal introductions
• Feelings
• Calendar, weather and time
• Numbers
• Personal and familial information
• Spanish symbols
• Adjectives

Grade 7: 
• Vocabulary review
• Leisure activities
• Food and restaurant communication
• Places and events
• Likes and dislikes
• Family
• Numbers
• Culture and tradition

Grade 8: 
• Conversational expressions
• Common adjectives and expressions
• Clothes and accessories 
• Colors
• People, locations and careers
• Basic responsibilites
• Body parts and health
• Parts of the house
• Past and future tenses 
 

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Exposure to another language and culture and comparison to the student’s own language and culture
• Oral language development with a focus on listening and speaking skills
• Introduction/incorporation of reading and writing skills as extensions of oral language skills
• Communication through basic words, short memorized phrases within a context and the combination of words and phrases to exchange information about everyday topics

Outcomes:

• Oral, written and aural language acquisition
• Awareness and understanding of cultures outside the student’s own
• Greater understanding of the structure and meaning of student’s native language
• Knowledge of the formal grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary of the target language
 

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Latin: Units of Study

Grade 6: 
• Latin in historical and geographic context
• Vocabulary acquisition
• Conversation
• Basic sentence composition
• Nominative and accusative cases
• Roman family structure
• Roman dress and clothing
• Ancient writing implements
• Numbers
• Ancient Greek deities and the nature of myth
• Body parts, animals and adjectives
• Heroes
• Domestic architecture

Grade 7: 
• Vocabulary review
• From mythology to legend
• Present tense verbs
• Practice makes imperfect
• Noun case endings
• From legend to history
• Archaeology and historical analysis

Grade 8: 
• Vocabulary and storyline review
• Practice makes perfect
• The future is bright
• The perfect active verb system
• Translating colloquial english vs. formal english
• Case endings
• Roman travel
• Roman government
• Cultural assimilation and Romanization
• Roman engineering
• Roman entertainment
• Scientific Latin
• Who's who in Ancient Rome?

 

Enrichments

Visual Arts
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Course Description

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!

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• 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

Outcomes:

• 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
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Course Description

Trinity’s music ensembles 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 Choir or Advanced Band.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 take part in a muscial or play which have included Fiddler on the Roof, Bye, Bye, Birdie and Into the Woods.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• 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 experiences
• Annual school-wide arts festival

Outcomes:

• 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 musical performances


Healthful Living: Physical Education
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Course Description

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.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:
• 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

Outcomes:
• 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


Healthful Living: Life Skills
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Course Description

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.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• Navigating friendships
• Social media awareness
• Identity exploration
• Puberty and our changing bodies

Outcomes:

• 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

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Life Skills Grade 6

Life skills is designed to promote positive outcomes in regard to the social and emotional health of our sixth grade students. The class focuses on personal identity, values and how our sense of self is shared with the community. 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
• Puberty

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Life Skills Grade 7

All seventh 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
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Features & Outcomes

Features:

• 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 and Greek scriptures
• Songs of faith
• Opportunities to make connections with other world religions
• Exploration of theological concepts
• Time for students to practice meditation/prayer and to apply their understanding and experience of God to their own lives

Outcomes

• 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

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Course Description

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 and a community chapel every Friday morning where the entire school gathers. Guest preachers and presenters who represent a variety of religious traditions and expressions are part of the chapel experience. We follow the "Book of Common Prayer" for our worship format and the Episcopal Lectionary for daily worship. 

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Grade 6: 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.

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Grade 7: Christian Narratives

This course provides an understanding of Christian morality by analyzing the New Testament, historical and fictional 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.

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Grade 8: World Religions

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.  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. They will also explore how the religious beliefs of the world contribute to the human experience.


Social Issues Seminar
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Course Description

The 8th Grade Seminar Course is designed to equip TES students with the tools to identify an area or issue of social change, study it using action research, create a plan for advocacy, and then implement that plan during a trip to Washington, D.C. in May. The course is grounded in Stanford University's Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning curriculum with units on communication, leadership, and research and action.

Units:

Communication 
Leadership
Research and Action on a social issue
Lobbying and advocating for a social issue

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

  • High school transition/timeline and interview techniques

  • 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 

  • Research and Action: issues and assets in communities, selecting and researching a social issue

  • Lobby and advocate for a social issue on Capitol Hill

Outcomes:

  • Development of communication skills, public speaking, and persuasive argument

  • Understanding of a social issue of personal interest on local, state, and national/systemic levels

  • Creating an advocacy plan 

  • Competency with collegial discussions and decision making


Koinonia (Advisory)
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Program Description

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.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

  • 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

Outcomes:

  • 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


Service Learning
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Program Description

One of the most beloved stories of Christian scriptures is the parable of the Good Samaritan in which Jesus answers the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Trinity students consider and respond to this question as they engage in service learning projects throughout the year. More than community service, service learning is a methodology used to enrich our curriculum while instilling an ethic of servant leadership in the hearts of our students. Lower school and middle school students partner with local, state, national or international programs to address real-world issues that relate to their classroom studies. Trinity students address and seek to meet real community needs. Trinity scholars are becoming good citizens of the world as they answer the call to love their neighbors.

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Features & Outcomes

Features:

  • Year-long partnerships create the possibility of relationships that transform charity into mutual service among neighbors

  • Intentional grade-level partnerships which enable students to explore a breadth of common social problems

  • Faith-based service that spirals from charity to justice, from helping to advocacy

  • Experiential education in matters of diversity, teamwork, communication skills and advocacy

Outcomes:

  • Thoughtful reflection on what it means to be a child of God

  • An acute consciousness of the biblical demand for love and justice in various communal settings – family, friendship, school, church, neighborhood, city, state, nation and world

  • Knowledge, values and skills to recognize and impact social problems within our community

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Grade Level Partnerships

6th Grade:
Friendship Trays, Charlotte Community ToolBank and 8th Street Garden

7th Grade:
Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, La Escuelita Preschool, Shamrock Gardens Elementary School and Windsor Park Elementary School

8th Grade:
Crisis Assistance Ministry, Hope Haven and Lily Pad Haven