This is my Head of School blog. I use it to reflect on my own learning, my wonderings about education, and questions about how to shape our school, Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill. I also use it to share with the community things I experience at school. It affords me another way to be present with our ever-growing community of learners.
Tonight we completed the third of three Parent Nights at
Trinity.These are one of great rituals
of school life, when parents show up to hear about their students’ classes,
follow their schedules, meet their teachers.
Moving past Parent Night always feels a bit like sailing out
of the harbor—granted, a big harbor.We’ve been sailing now for four weeks, and it’s not like we’re waiting
on Parent Night to get down to work.But
it feels like open seas now: All of our preparations for the year are behind
us, and the horizons of learning opportunities are open before us.
There is also a wind in our sails from good Parent Nights,
and this year’s were particularly good.
Each of the three nights was different, in a uniquely good
Middle School seemed
to be brimming with community.The teamwork and collegiality among the
faculty were evident in the very structure of the evening.They experimented with a new format, having
the parents stay put and bringing the teachers to them.We’ll want to evaluate that—would love to
hear from parents.My sense is that we
had more time for the teachers to talk (not constrained by the typical
seven-minute class), but the logistics were challenging (poor Mr. Needham
having to shuttle his presentations between the gym and the US Library) and
there’s something about sitting in your student’s desk, seeing the posters on
the wall.I was very impressed with the
MS teachers’ universal adoption of Haiku as a Learning Management System, and I
think that will move our MS learning to a new level.The cooperation and collegiality among the MS
faculty was very encouraging.
Upper School was
marked by growth and challenge.There was a great turnout—not typical among
American high school parent events.The
US has grown from 124 to 147, and the parents got a feel for the wonderful,
energetic, crowdedness in the halls and common areas.They also got a first-hand look at our
excellent faculty and the challenge they bring to our students.The teachers were impressive to a person—they
take their craft very seriously, are dedicated and well-trained.The faculty has reached a size that creates a
good sense of team, and they are like iron sharpening iron.The variety of classes and courses is
impressive, and you could feel the good buzz in the commons area as US parents
milled about during their “free” periods.
Lower School was energetic and optimistic.I love to stand
at the door on LS night and see the faces of parents entering the
building.They head straight to the
classrooms, eager to see their students’ work, sit at their desks, read the
bulletin boards, and learn about their schedules.Mrs. Lemke talked about the richness of our
pedagogy, focusing on ideas and things.She showcased one of the field trips that makes our learning so
authentic and rich.Parents had a chance
to sign up for field trips and major class events—and they did!No shortage of energy in that group.And of course it’s gratifying to hear the new
parents say how thankful they are for Trinity and for the good start their
children have had.My favorite
moment?Hearing Mrs. Bohn tell her
parents what she does when students complain about the flavor of jelly on their
peanut butter sandwich.
It’s a joy to work at Trinity.Here’s a shout out to our fine teachers and
our great parents with whom we partner.