An elementary-only independent school located in Atlanta, serving children ages three through Sixth Grade since 1951.
Learning
Upper Elementary Division

Teaching Committees Drive Vertical Alignment

At Trinity, our faculty members are the driving force of voice, choice, research, and collaboration. As teachers, we have the unique opportunity to be part of a community of learners that grow and lead our school academically, based on research and best practices in education.
 
To that end, representatives from each grade level serve on academic committees focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), Literacy, and Math. Every year, the committees set goals for their learning areas in order to strengthen each program’s vertical alignment and research and discuss best practices, conduct peer observations, and report back to grade-level teams on findings. These committees help facilitate a culture of shared purpose, communication, and reflection on teaching and learning by responding to the needs expressed by all grades and academic programs at Trinity.
 
Our passion to deepen learning experiences for the children in our care drives our teaming and professional learning. Our hearts compel us forward to study, implement, and analyze our practices. How will we learn and grow together while working to serve our young learners? We play. We write. We read. We share. We connect.
 
Today and every day, we are readers, writers, mathematicians, and scientists.
 
The STEAM Committee
By STEAM Committee Co-Chairs: Second Grade Lead Teacher Kathy Bruyn, Pre-K Assistant Teacher Brooke Kelly, Science Teacher Lauren Rose
 
STEAM has become a “buzz word” in the education community over the past several years. It is an educational approach to learning that is integrated, providing students with opportunities for inquiry, critical thinking, and dialogue with others. Research shows that STEAM education inspires innovative thinking and improves the ability of students to become better problem solvers, to more deeply understand concepts, and to work cooperatively in diverse teams. Providing students with opportunities to test and then redesign helps reinforce the idea that it usually takes many attempts before one achieves success. This leads to a higher level of learning.
 
The primary goals for the STEAM Committee this year are to create awareness, encourage teachers to take risks, and to share successes and challenges with others.
 
Our STEAM faculty leaders plan learning challenges for our teachers to create a sense of purposeful play, which you can see on Twitter. Following #TrinitySTEAM on social media offers glimpses into playing and learning together at Trinity. Our faculty can be seen attempting STEAM challenges one afternoon after school, and then, our students can be seen taking on the same challenges over the following week. At Trinity, together we learn, we play, and we share.
 
The Math Committee
By Math Committee Co-Chairs: Second Grade Assistant Teacher Kerry Coote, Math Specialist Becky Holden, Sixth Grade Lead Teacher Kristi Story
 
The Math Committee’s goals include continuing to work on vertical alignment from Early Learners through Sixth Grade; expanding our knowledge of best practices for mathematics teaching; sharing work with each grade level to grow our community as teachers of math; raising the level of teacher confidence in math; and deepening, differentiating, and extending learning for all of our students in the classroom. The math and growth mindset research of Stanford Professor of Mathematics Education Jo Boaler inspires us to develop flexibility in numeracy to deepen understanding, confidence, and competence. Our math faculty leaders teach and lead by example as we implement Number Talks with our young learners to empower them to show what they know in more than one way.
 
We know learners seek relevance, challenges, and opportunities to succeed. Following national best practices, Trinity students are engaged in active learning, confidently sharing their solutions with others in order to add to the learning of all. For example, participating in Number Talks is a daily routine that provides students with ongoing, meaningful practice in computational fluency. When children engage in Number Talks, they look at the relationships between strategies, which allows them to have the opportunity to be flexible, construct arguments, and communicate to reveal their understanding.
 
The Literacy Committee
By Literacy Committee Co-Chairs: Third Grade Lead Teacher Ashley Crow, Learning Specialist Michelle Perry, Sixth Grade Lead Teacher Javonne Stewart
 
The overall goal of the Literacy Committee for this school year is to focus on the architecture of the mini-lesson in Reading and Writing Workshops. Our committee members support the School by inviting colleagues into our classrooms for peer observations. Our goal is to create a community of teachers as learners by receiving and offering constructive feedback on our craft. We strive to strengthen our teaching and learning by going deeper rather than covering more content.
 
Lucy Calkins, Founding Director of the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University, says, “If our teaching is going to be an art, we need to remember that artistry does not come from the sheer quantity of red and yellow paint or from the amount of clay or marble, but from the organizing vision that shapes the use of those materials. It’s not the number of good ideas that will turn our teaching into something significant and beautiful, but the selection, balance, coherence, and design of those ideas” (Calkins 1994, 2001).
 
Over the last few years, the Literacy Committee has assisted in the implementation of Reading and Writing Workshops throughout the entire school. Research suggests that allowing more time for students to read and write is linked to attaining higher order literacy proficiencies. This year, students in Kindergarten through Sixth Grade are using the Units of Study by Lucy Calkins. We are excited to further strengthen the vertical alignment by having common language, routines, and teaching methods. Students will benefit from this development by having a strong foundation on which they can build upon each year.
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4301 Northside Parkway NW, Atlanta, GA 30327
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