Planning Pays Off

Nov. 10-16, 2005
Planning Pays Off
Student Sarah Mancuso tries the long jump during the annual sports day
By David Friedlander/ SUN contributing writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch & Sumitted
Trinity Catholic School enjoys success after careful planning OSWEGO — The 2005/2006 school year began on Sept. 6 with an enrollment of 170 students in pre-k through sixth grade. That number was 15 students greater than originally expected. We also have welcomed approximately 10 new families to our school.

Trinity Catholic School is entering its seventh year as Oswego County’s only Catholic elementary school, since consolidating three schools in 1999. Today Trinity Catholic serves 17 Catholic parishes throughout the Northern Region of the Syracuse Diocese and accepts students from all parts of Oswego County. Trinity Catholic provides academic and spiritual programs from preschool through sixth grade. Beginning with the preschool years, Trinity’s faculty realizes that a warm and positive early childhood experience is the cornerstone to a child’s emotional growth and well being and are committed to providing a warm, caring, and nurturing environment for it’s three and four year old children. Trinity Catholic offers several different half day preschool classes ranging from two to five day experiences designed to meet both the child’s and the family’s needs. While providing a challenging and enriching learning environment, the preschool children are also introduced to prayer and other aspects of the Catholic faith.

One of Trinity Catholic’s strategic goals is to provide an environment in which words, actions and beliefs are modeled around the life of Jesus. All kindergarten through grade six students at Trinity Catholic receive daily instruction in religious education, based upon the Diocesan curriculum. As a result of the school’s Strategic Planning Commission. A new position was established this year that supports the religion curriculum taught by the classroom teacher. This position, Spiritual Activity Coordinator, develops additional hands-on and practical spiritual activities that help the student put into practice on a regular basis the teachings of Jesus. These activities include monthly Mass participation along with a virtue recognition program and volunteering in various community activities such as the local soup kitchen. One of our most recent service projects includes providing support to a Catholic School in Biloxi, Mississippi that was affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Students at Trinity Catholic also excell academically in addition to spiritually. Beginning with morning prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, students are enriched with a consistent spiritual foundation blended with an excellent academic curriculum centered around the NYS learning standards. In addition to following the NYSED curriculum, Trinity Catholic also administers the NYS assessments in fourth grade in the areas of math, English Language Arts, and science while our fifth grade students are assessed in the area of social studies. This past year our fourth grade students achieved an outstanding score of 100% in the New York State Math Assessments. We were the only school in Oswego County to have all of our fourth grade students pass this assessment and achieve a 100% passing rate. In the ELA Assessment our students accomplished a 76% passing rate which was the third highest throughout Oswego County as well as a 6% increase over last year’s score.

In addition to the core curriculum areas, Trinity students are culturally enriched with subjects such as art, vocal music, instrumental music, physical education, and foreign language. We are one of the few elementary schools, if not the only elementary school in Oswego County, to offer students in grades three through six instruction in Spanish and French. The students are learning about the languages and cultures of other countries, thus exposing them at a young age to the world around them. Throughout the day, visitors to Trinity Catholic will not only feel the warmth and enthusiasm within the building, but also hear it as children’s voices and musical instruments resound in preparation for their winter and spring musical concerts. The classrooms and hallways are always decorated with colorful and varied art projects that portray each child’s creativity and individuality.

The physical health and well being of the students are also addressed through our physical education program that not only follows NYS guidelines, but also offers an intramural sports program that promotes a team sport experience, sportsmanship and self esteem. In the spring the Trinity Campus is transformed into an indoor and outdoor sports arena when the school’s Annual Sports Day is held. During this event parents, faculty and staff volunteer their time to conduct a variety of olympic-style athletic events followed by an awards ceremony. All students in kindergarten through sixth grade, along with the faculty, participate. This past Sports Day provided an extra special treat as WTVH 5 Sportscaster Kevin Mahar was a celebrity participant who challenged several sixth grade students to the obstacle course.

Wellness and fitness are also promoted on a daily basis during the course of the school day as the students are provided with ample opportunity for exercise on the schools renovated playground. Thanks to coordinated efforts of parents, faculty and parishes, a new piece of playground equipment donated by St. Mary’s Parish was installed and existing equipment was refurbished by dedicated volunteers.

Technology is still a very important component to the learning process. Trinity Catholic teachers continue to integrate technology into their academic curriculum via usage of interactive websites that tie into classroom text publishers. In addition, each classroom teacher has been provided with the necessary skills to develop individual classroom websites in order to provide information and on-going communication with our families, alumni and the community.

Trinity Catholic School is always seeking new and innovative instructional methods to help their students meet the challenging expectations of today’s world. An example of this is the federally funded Reading First program. With this program, our students have received a tremendous amount of materials and resources towards improving their literacy and reading skills. The faculty has also benefited from this grant by receiving additional in-service training on scientifically research based reading instruction. Over the past two years, our students have made significant progress with the daily instruction and additional resources provided by this grant.

Another result of our Strategic Planning Process was the successful implementation of our First Annual Fund Drive which raised approximately $20,000 that was used to provide scholarships to families, as well as to finance the materials used in renovating the schools playground. One of our more creative fundraising events took place in October and was the most successful event since it began six years ago. This year our Corporate Spelling Bee for adults and the accompanying auction grew to 11 highly competitive teams. The teams who competed consisted of six area businesses and five parishes. For the sixth consecutive year WIXT Channel 9 anchor, Dan Cummings, emceed this event, which proved to be not only a very enjoyable evening, but also the most successful in the event’s six year history.

All of these programs and activities have become an important part of Trinity Catholic’s identity as a result of the school’s overall long range Strategic Planning process which is now entering it’s fourth year. The strategic planning process developed as a result of a dedicated planning committee comprised of faculty, parents and members of the parishes and community. Their mission is to ensure the success and livelihood of Catholic education in Oswego County as well as throughout the Northern Region of the Syracuse Diocese. Based upon all that has taken place during the past several years at Trinity Catholic; this goal is certainly within reach.

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