It's easy to assume that because classical Christian schools like Trinitas are not publicly-funded, government schools, they must be substantially the same as other private Christian schools of which there are many in our area. This understanding, however, is fundamentally flawed. Since its inception in 1999, Trinitas has maintained a commitment to a classical approach to Christian education which has resulted in the school being accredited by the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS). To aid in understanding the differences between traditional Christian schools and classical Christ-centered schools like Trinitas, consider the following indicators of a classical approach to education.
As Trinitas enters its twenty-third year this fall, there will be a host of new faces on our campus. In addition to over twenty new families, we are welcoming a number of new faculty members to the Trinitas community. We thank God for his blessings on our faculty and are eager to introduce these fine folks to you.
We are continuing our series intended to remind what the goals of classical Christian education are, why those goals are good for the world, and how we pursue the goals of classical Christian education at Trinitas. I began this series with a metaphor about traveling and the questions one might ask oneself while traveling on a particular journey. Continuing that metaphor, now I set out to answer the question how do we get there? This is a big question, and it will take time to unpack even the merest tip of the iceberg.
In case you haven’t noticed, children do things adults don’t; for example, children run. They just run to run, not to go anywhere or for any reason, but just for the sheer pleasure of running. They will also pretend-play with just about any item they find. A stick becomes a Greek sword, a jacket is shaped to make a baby’s blanket, and sofa cushions become a fort.
We began our school year at Trinitas last Thursday with an orientation day. It was delightful to see all of the new and returning students hurrying in with their new binders and books and backpacks, all excited for the year ahead. Seeing how much all of the returning students have grown over the summer break is always bittersweet—exciting because they are slowly but surely becoming grown-up human beings, and sad because we so love to the cling to the cutest, sweetest, youngest version of them. Parents do so love to reminisce about the history of their children. Trinitas teachers love to reminisce about the history of those children too. At a school like Trinitas, we get to watch them grow from four-year-olds to eighteen-year-olds. That’s a lot of history.
About the time we wrap up the school year, my thoughts turn to my garden. My garden provides a quiet place for work and contemplation, and as is my wont, my musings rarely stray far from my life as a teacher. Cultivating in my students a love for learning and a desire to love God and neighbor is a lot like cultivating a garden.
The common notion about teachers at the end of the school year is that they run out of the building screaming like banshees and then retreat to the comfort and ease of lounging beside the pool all summer to recover. I cannot tell you how many parents asked me the last week of school what I plan to do with myself all summer. One parent who knows I live out in the country asked if I ever even go to town during the summer. Another parent who stopped by the school last week was truly dumbfounded to find the parking lot full, the office well staffed, and all the teachers hard at work. “Don’t y’all know it’s summer?” he stammered. Yes, we do.
Sometime around the end of the nineteenth century, American colleges and universities began to use a form of grading students that resembles what most high schools, colleges, and universities still use today: A, B, C, D, and F. The grades are intended to be a way of measuring and reporting a student’s performance on a given assignment or within a given subject over a period of time. They are useful for that task, but far from perfect. At Trinitas we also grade students using a variation of the aforementioned marks.