Trinity Catholic Staff
OSWEGO — Trinity Catholic School is concluding its 10th year as Oswego County’s only Catholic Elementary School, since the consolidation of three schools in 1999. Today Trinity Catholic serves 14 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 realize that a warm and positive early childhood experience is the cornerstone of a child’s emotional growth and well-being and is committed to providing a warm, caring and nurturing environment for its three and four year old children. Trinity Catholic offers several different half day preschool classes ranging from two-day to five-day experiences designed to meet both the child’s and the family’s needs. While provided with a challenging and enriching learning environment, the preschool children are also introduced to prayer and other general 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 on the life of Jesus. All kindergarten through grade six students at Trinity Catholic receive daily instruction in religious education, based upon the diocesan curriculum. The religion curriculum includes monthly Mass participation along with a virtue-recognition program and volunteering in various community activities such as visiting the local nursing homes and serving at the local soup kitchen. Students have also formed an after school service club called “The Kids Can Do Club.” This is a student-led club established to provide community service opportunities where students can put their faith into action as well as promoting their leadership skills. Some of their activities included an Earth Day cleanup project and coordinating a Salvation Army soup kitchen lunch event. Other community service projects include conducting a can drive and a recycling fundraiser in conjunction with Novelis Corporation, a world leader in aluminum rolled products, to support Habitat for Humanity. In addition to promoting the Catholic faith within the community, the school family is always promoting Catholic identity along with establishing strong home-school relationships within the school environment. At the beginning of each school year, students, parents and faculty come together to share a terrific meal while enjoying each other’s company at the annual Harvest Feast Celebration. This year’s event was held in conjunction with the fall open house, which approximately 300 people attended.
Students at Trinity Catholic excel 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 focused on the NYS Learning Standards. In addition to the New York State Education Department curriculum, Trinity Catholic also adheres to the NYS Catholic Schools Interdiocesan curriculum which most often exceeds the minimum NYS learning standards. As part of these standards, Trinity Catholic also administers the NYS assessments in the areas of math, English language arts, science and social studies.
Along with learning the core curriculum areas, Trinity students are culturally enriched with instruction in art, vocal music, instrumental music, physical education and foreign language. Trinity is one of the few elementary schools in Oswego County to offer students in grades three through six instruction in Spanish and French. The students learn about the languages and cultures of other countries.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 a 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 where 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 participate along with faculty and parent volunteers. This year, the preschool students and their parents will also have an opportunity to share in this exciting event.
Wellness and fitness are also promoted on a daily basis as the students are provided with ample opportunity for exercise on the school’s renovated playground.
Technology is still a very important component to the learning process as all students in kindergarten through sixth grade attend classes in the technology lab on a regular basis. Wireless computer technology continues to be used by students in grades four through six as well. 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 families, alumni and the community.
Trinity Catholic School is always seeking new and innovative instructional methods to help students meet the challenging expectations of today’s world. An example of this is the federally-funded Reading First program under No Child Left Behind legislation. Through this program, kindergarten through third grade 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 researched based reading instruction. Over the past six years, our students have made significant progress with the daily instruction and additional resources provided by this grant. The Reading First Program has been recognized by the New York State Department of Education and used as a model by other Reading First Schools. This year will be the final year of federal funding for this program, Trinity Catholic staff submitted a proposal to the Syracuse Diocese under a Program Enhancement Grant from the Bishop’s Heritage Campaign. Trinity Catholic’s proposal was well received and the school was awarded the full amount requested ($49,000) to continue our Reading First program for the 2009-2010 school year. Another success regarding the literacy and reading programs was demonstrated during the third annual county-wide “Battle of the Books” competition. This reading competition involved elementary and middle school students from schools throughout Oswego County. Third through sixth grade students from Trinity Catholic participated.
Even after students graduate from Trinity Catholic, they continue to “make a difference” and play an important role in their community. For example, not to be outdone by his sister Haley, a 2005 Trinity Catholic School alumna, Jacob Annal, a 2006 Trinity alumn, repeated his 2008 championship feat as he spelled his way to the 2009 Scripps Howard Regional Spelling Championship. Jacob will once again represent the City of Oswego at the National Spelling Championships in Washington, D.C. in May. These are just two of the many alumni of Trinity Catholic School who have used their skills, knowledge and faith to succeed as young Catholic adults. It should also be mentioned that four of the top five finishers in this year’s spelling bee were either existing Trinity Catholic students or alums.
The Third Annual Fund Drive continues through the school year and is going strong in an attempt to meet and exceed the goal of $25,000. The money raised from this drive is used to provide scholarships to families along with building improvements and other special projects to benefit the students. Trinity Catholic School is proud of its premier event, the Faith In Education Gala and Auction, which was held on Friday, May 8. As in the previous events, a variety of special items from area churches and Catholic schools were put up for auction. The success of these events is attributed to the enjoyment and charity of the bidders, artists, sponsors and event volunteers. Trinity Catholic School will continue to explore fun events which bring alumni together and establish new connections within its community.
Another creative fund-raising event took place in October and was one of the most successful events since it began ten years ago. This year’s Corporate Adult Spelling Bee and Live Auction Event saw eight highly competitive teams battle for the championship. The teams who competed consisted of area businesses and two parishes. This year, the Fulton Savings Bank team “out spelled” their opponents to capture the championship. For the ninth consecutive year WSYR Channel 9 anchor, Dan Cummings, emceed this event, which proved to be not only a very enjoyable evening but also very successful in terms of community participation, auction donations and fund raising.
All of these programs and activities have become an integral part of Trinity Catholic’s identity and community involvement as a result of the school’s overall long range strategic planning process which is now entering its seventh year. This was developed as a result of a dedicated planning committee comprised of faculty, parents and members of the parishes and general 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 well within reach.