Welcome Back For 2022

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A new year is a new opportunity for success. 

Last year we asked students what do they want to learn. We didn’t expect most of their answers to be about skills and knowledge they could use after high school. So this summer, we added Culinary Arts, CTE ( Career & Technical Education), Chorus, and Life Skills. Over the summer, we added a full kitchen to our facility to allow students to learn about cooking, baking, and first aid. 

This summer, we also added three new teachers to our staff. Melvin Clark is our STEM and Business Leadership teacher and has a lifelong passion for education and community growth. He’s currently working on finishing his doctorate and in ministry. Dr. Lynne Elsasser is our English and Chorus teacher, passionate about the arts and helping students grow. She’s excited to work with Mr. Poux to incorporate music into our theater productions. Carla Cenname is our new Spanish teacher, she has always wanted to be an educator. She wanted to become the type of teacher she would have needed as a student. Also, after receiving his doctorate in education, our Chairman, Dr. Barto joined the teaching staff for Earth & Environmental, Life Skills, and Health & Physical education.

Were you able to learn anything while in quarantine?

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We asked some of our students to share about anything they learned over our quarantine, their responses made us think about all the things we learned in our time apart from our TrinityPrep family. 



I learned a few lessons over quarantine—one big one is that family is important. Being stuck in the house with my family for 5 months was actually good for our family. We got closer and improved our bonds.  I know that some families saw the opposite happen in their house, but for some reason my family didn’t fight at all over quarantine. So overall, quarantine was great for my family and me.



Over quarantine, I did lots of paintings. One skill I learned was how to make skin tones with acrylic paint, and how I could blend and shade faces with them. I learned that you could form skin tones using the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue, along with the optional black and white. All I had to do to create those skin tones was to mix equal parts of the primary colors together. I would also add small amounts of black and white to the mixtures to create multiple skin tones. I used those to shade faces. Just about every skin tone contains red, yellow, and blue. They are all just combined in different ratios.




One lesson I learned while in quarantine was how to work more independently. Doing school online was an adjustment for me, but I managed to make it work. It was odd not having a teacher and other students around me while I was working. Making sure I am caught up with all of my assignments is always important, but it was more difficult in the online format. Having discipline to complete the assignments was also key. Doing school online taught me valuable lessons, all of which I will use moving forward.


I was glad to come back to school this year because I did not enjoy online school. We did not get to see our friends, teachers, or the staff while home on quarantine. It was hard to work from home with so many distractions. I was glad to come back to school because I could see all of my friends, teachers, and staff. I would not have been able to do a whole school year online so I am thankful to be back.

The Target Strategy

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In continuing with our blogs about writing strategies, here is another approach that might work. The Target Strategy is a strategy that can help a writer at the beginning of the drafting process. It can also help keep a writer focused and organized while working.

Time, Audience, Reason, Goal, Excitement, Tone

Time: Pick a time period, work for that period, and then take a break. Studies have shown that our brains can only focus on one thing for 45 minutes to an hour. Embrace taking breaks as a way to keep you sane while writing.

Audience: Never forget who your audience will be because it can make a world of difference in how you write. If your audience is a teacher or professor, you need to be more formal and scholarly. On the other hand if you are writing to friends or something more informal, you can be more relaxed and use everyday language.

Reason: Make sure that your writing has a clear purpose. Whether you are writing to educate or entertain, it should not be hard for the reader to figure out what you are trying to do.

Goal: Before you start make sure you can define the goal of your writing. And as you write, make sure everything connects to that goal.

Excitement: What about this subject is important to you? If you write about what is exciting for you personally, it can help make your writing be more significant to your audience.

Tone: Always make sure your tone matches with the subject matter. Having a clear tone can express how you feel and how you want readers to feel.

Before You Write

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Sitting down with a blank page when you have to write something can be daunting. When writing, knowing where to start is a big part of the battle. One of the simplest ways to write a good paper is to make sure your thoughts are organized. Here are two easy strategies that can help you get prepared to write a well-structured paper.

Fast write

Take a set amount of time, perhaps 3 minutes, and write as many ideas about the subject as possible. This helps you get out creative thoughts as they come, without worrying about if they make sense for your paper.



Clustering is similar to Mind Mapping (see previous blog post). The difference is that you do it quickly and aren’t focused on the organization of it. Start with your main idea in the center, and create branches as your creative thoughts start to flow.


Making sense of it all

Don’t worry if your page starts to look confusing because the purpose of these strategies is to get all your thoughts to a place where you can see them. Once you have written down all your thoughts on a subject, you can start to group together thoughts by which ones are similar. This way you can create an organized structure which can be used for writing your paper.

Parents & Social Media

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Your child being on social media is pretty much unavoidable. You can try and keep them off major social networking platforms or keep them from having a phone, but one way or another they will find a way to the things they want to see. Here are some tips for dealing with teens and social media.

Get Informed

Learn about the popular social media platforms and how they work. Understanding the way they work will help you know more when you hear your child talk about what they are doing online. Read reviews in your app store or look for videos on Youtube from credible sources that can help explain different sites.

Talk to them about it

Don’t be afraid to ask your kid about their social media–what they are on, how platforms work, and who they use it to talk to. Sometimes kids tend to forget that social media can be like a watering hole in the desert. You can surround yourself with your friends and family, but there is nothing to stop predators from joining you if you aren’t careful. Remind them of the danger of speaking to strangers online, and how public the internet is.

Trust that you have raised a good kid

Social media can be a way to give kids a little taste of freedom while they still live at home. If you know your kid has good common sense, have faith in them to make good choices.

Get on and add your kids

As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to have a Myspace (man, that makes me sound old) if I didn’t add my parents. If you are nervous about what your kid is doing on social media, make them add you so you can keep track. This is a good idea, especially if you are struggling to trust them.

Mel’s tips for the summer

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Dear Trinity Families, …and I capitalize​ Families​ because tops, yep, tops is what you all are:

Obviously, a bit unofficial and casual as I touch base, Let’s all be unofficially relaxed these weeks. You all (Mid-Atlantic version of y’all) did a great job this year, and I look forward to next.

BUT not too fast/quick/speedy here:

Students; Read AT LEAST two books. As the wonderful writer James Michener stated:

If you don’t wear glasses by age 30, consider your life wasted. So read. Do yourself the honor. Reading on the beach or in the mountains or at the pool is wonderful. If you doubt my words, try it. If you don’t find it wonderful, I’ll give you a lollipop when you return.

How about a bit of service work? Just do 5 hours. Call an organization (Humane Society, Children’s Hospital Ward, Assisted Living, Food Bank), and document how you feel afterward. Show me the documentation, and you know the outcome; lollipop!

Now, in honor of your folks, cook (or prepare) a meal every week. It MUST include cleaning up afterward and must include a dessert and salad.

Have a great one. Laugh, pray, hug, laugh some more. Be kind. Enjoy. Don’t burn, stay healthy, be impeccable with your words, don’t take things so personally, assume nothing, and always give it all you’ve got. (Plagiarism at its finest) And ​DO NOT,​ go a single day without telling your people how much you love them. If you do this every day, I’ll give you a lollipop.

It’s a bit late but grow something outside. A plant, flower, green pepper plant, etc. It’s good for the soul if you have one, and great if you need one.

See if you can go ONE FULL DAY without your electronic device. Few of you have the power or strength or self discipline or integrity or heart to do it. In fact if you can do it I’ll give you a …

Just text or email me at the end of that day and…

It’s inappropriate to say I love you to you individually, but frankly I’m too old to worry about that nonsense, so I will openly state that… ya’ll are okay.

Be well. Be very well. Xx-


Organized Chaos: Mind Mapping

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If your child is a creative learner, then you know organization is a struggle for them. As a student I always got the same feedback on my paper; my ideas were good, but my writing was all over the place and lacked structure. Even while writing this blog, I struggle to make sure my writing isn’t going off in five different directions.

During my senior year I learned something that helped me be able to fake organization for papers, mind mapping. Don’t get me wrong, I had used mind mapping before, but it was in very structured worksheets in the fifth grade. The focus of mind mapping is to help get ideas out of a students’ head and onto the page, so it doesn’t need to be extremely organized, just easy for the reader to understand.

The Main Idea: The topic, main idea, or subject should be in the middle of the page and bold enough to draw your eye.

Branches: The branches are used to start your ideas about the topic, don’t worry if they seem like they don’t make sense. The sole purpose of branches is to get ideas out of your head and onto the paper.

Twigs: The twigs are under each branch where you list the details or information that support your branches.

Doodle: Feel free to doodle related to the topic to help the message sink in.

Group: Once you finish writing branches and twigs full of ideas, start grouping branches together. As you begin grouping branches, think of how you need to structure your paper.

The Cornell Note Taking System

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A common struggle students have is taking good notes in class. This method was created by Cordell Hoek while teaching at Cornell University in the 1940’s, but it still a popular way to help students organize information. This system works by dividing the page into three sections notes, cues, and summary.

  1.  Record

In the notes column, write down the important information like dates, keywords, facts, and ideas from your reading or lecture.

  1. Questions

Use this section to write down your questions, questions you think will be on test and quizzes, record relationships, and establish continuity. This section is focused on critical thinking and making connections to the greater meaning behind facts.

  1. Recite

Cover the note section of the page and see if you can answer a few of the questions from the cue section. This will help you to know what concepts you need to review before quizzes and tests.

  1. Reflect

Ask yourself things like; ‘what is the importance of this?’ or ‘how can I apply this?’ and ‘what effect can this have?’.

  1. Review

After class or reading, use the summary section to summarize the notes section and think how what you have learned connects to information from previous lessons or what you have learned in the past.