As the Trinity-Pawling School welcomed students back earlier this month, the institution is set to continue its tradition of excellence that has existed for more than 110 years. The school will continue to offer the Language through Enrichment, Analysis, and Development (LEAD) Program, Executive Skills Program, and the multi-discipline Practicum for Civic Leadership. This year, athletics at Trinity-Pawling will continue to make use of PlaySight technology, and the school will be offering boarding for 8th grade students for the first time.
At Trinity-Pawling, the Center for Learning Achievement is a cornerstone of the academic experience. “It’s a program that we have had for over forty years, but it continues to evolve,” says Director of Admissions JP Burlington, ‘95. “The LEAD program was the first aspect of this. Then we added the English Mastery program for international students, followed by the Executive Skills program.” The LEAD program makes use of small class sizes and open-door teaching policies to identify each student’s individual needs. The English Mastery Program is a two-year program that focuses on reading comprehension, analytical abilities, and written work for international students. The Executive Skills Program is a college preparatory course that allows teachers to identify an individual student’s specific needs and provide strategies to help with organization and problem solving. “If we can teach them these skills now, it will benefit them during their time here and into college,” adds Burlington. “Each year this program gets better.”
In preparing students for future success, Trinity-Pawling also employs project-based learning in the form of the Practicum for Civic Leadership. Conceived by Director of College Placement Slade Mead and Headmaster William Taylor, the Practicum is split into three programs. Winter Term Projects combine two different academic subjects and give students numerous options when they are ultimately tasked to create a product to demonstrate their knowledge. The Global Collaborative Challenge is undertaken by juniors, culminating in a 12-minute thesis defense presentation to faculty members. In their final year, students are tasked with the Senior Independent Project, where they are paired with a mentor to create original content to be shared with a panel of faculty and fellow students. Previous Senior Independent Projects have included short films, graphic novels, and the development of an athletic fitness app. “These all revolve around work outside of the classroom,” Burlington says. “This is active learning – being able to get up from their desks and move around the campus is so important. It also lets the boys discover their creativity and talents.”
A recent example of a Senior Independent Project was provided by Dennis Ilmela, ’17. Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, he came to Trinity-Pawling in the 10th grade. Mentored by Slade Mead, Ilmela took on a project that expanded far beyond the school’s campus. “I created a petition to allow the ACT to be taken in the State of New York in February,” he said. “As of now, that isn’t possible because of an Admissions Testing Law. I was able to talk with a few state government members on how to draft a petition and Mr. Mead served as my mentor for the project. The amount of knowledge that I gained was unimaginable.” The petition was ultimately sent to the Senate Education Committee. A bill was introduced, passing in the Senate and the Assembly, and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature. “I put Dennis in touch with the New York Association of College Counselors,” says Mead. “We devised a petition drive and delivered signatures to the legislature from fellow high school kids asking that the law be changed. It was great seeing Dennis step in and make a change that impacts every high school student in New York.”
Athletically, Trinity-Pawling will continue to make use of PlaySight technology, which was installed when the School’s 20,000-square-foot Smith Field House was opened last year. PlaySight uses a series of cameras to provide athletes, coaches, and spectators with an array of viewing options. Currently being used at the school’s ice arena, basketball courts, squash courts, and outdoor turf field, the technology records practices and games, allowing coaches a variety of angles and instant replay options to correct mistakes and improve strategy. “PlaySight supports our coaching style and gives us a higher quality experience,” explains Varsity hockey coach Robert Ferraris, ‘93. Under Coach Ferraris, Trinity-Pawling won the Founder’s League Championship last season. “This is an authentic sports experience with video to back up what we’re teaching,” he adds. “It also raises accountability and work ethics for the athletes.” In addition to coaches being able to use instant replay during practice and games, athletes also have access to the footage on their personal devices, and relatives now have the ability to watch sporting events remotely. Furthermore, coaches now have an abundance of practice and game footage to provide for scouts and college coaches.
Finally, the newest development at Trinity-Pawling is the availability of boarding at the school for 8th grade students. Roughly half of the 8th grade class will be boarding on campus this year, including international students from Hong Kong and Korea. They will mix with 8th grade day students for classes, sports, and activities and will be housed in the 8th grade dorm. “It’s a great opportunity,” concludes JP Burlington. “We can now offer a five-year experience instead of just four.”
To learn more about the Trinity-Pawling School, visit TrinityPawling.org online.