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Mission and History

The Mission of Trinity School

The mission of Trinity School is to educate students in transitional kindergarten to grade twelve within the framework of Christian faith and conviction—teaching the classical tools of learning; providing a rich yet unhurried curriculum; and communicating truth, goodness, and beauty. At Trinity School we seek to create a community in which there is delight in learning and an atmosphere that encourages the sort of intellectual, moral, and aesthetic development that is fitting for those who bear the image of God. We want to challenge our students in a way that stimulates their natural curiosity, guiding their discovery toward personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth.

Education is primarily the responsibility and privilege of parents, and Trinity School seeks to enter into a partnership with our parents toward the goal of an excellent education. Our aim is to support families by bringing our special resources to bear to help them attain their educational and spiritual goals. To this end, we encourage each family to be actively involved in their child's life as a Trinity student, and we look forward to working together to develop this community of learning called Trinity School.

“What is special for us regarding the Trinity community is that it is ecumenical. We love interacting with families, teachers, and staff who are from many different backgrounds and who share the common goal of building up one another in Christ.”
Trinity parent

Head of School Chip Denton on Trinity’s Four Pillars

Distinctives of Trinity School

The Framework of Christian Faith and Conviction

Trinity is a Christian School.
We are thoroughgoing in our Christian faith,
But we stand with arms wide open
to the world,
Welcoming all truth as God's truth.
We want to be shaped by our Namesake,
The Trinity of Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit.
And we are grounded in the Permanent Things—
Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Our story at 4011 Pickett Road is part of the Great Story
Whose hero is Jesus Christ.

The Classical Tools of Learning

Trinity is a classical school,

A school that equips students with the proven tools of learning from our great traditions
—the tools of thinking and communication—
To meet the tough challenges of the future
With the wisdom and understanding of those who have
gone before us,
So that the Trinity graduate knows how to learn and enjoys learning for a lifetime.

The Arts of Learning

The Greeks were the first to discover the arts of learning: from the top down, through contemplation and reflection on the First Things; and, in contrast, from the bottom up, through discovery that begins with the particulars and makes meaning out of many things. Trinity School's education honors deductive and inductive learning, helping students to learn how to learn and to enter the great conversation that began long ago and continues with every new generation.

The Tradition of the Liberal Arts

The liberal arts, those metaskills of learning by which we become what we are: human beings free to know and understand their world—these liberal arts were traditionally seven in number, of which the first three were foundational to all the others, the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. All learning depends upon the mastery of these metaskills, and at Trinity School we practice these three at every level of our children's education, until students become masters of the arts of learning.

A Rich Curriculum

A Rich Curriculum

Trinity is a school with a rich curriculum.
We think that children, like all of us, have
a natural appetite for knowledge and understanding.
So our job is to set before them a rich feast of learning:
Living books, myths and stories, nature studies,
masterpieces of music and art.
Nothing gives us more satisfaction
than waking the imagination.


Rich Classroom Experiences, Illustrated

"It's one thing to read about the glorious 'golden' days of Ancient Greece; it's another to live for a week under a simulated system of that civilization. Each fall, Trinity's fifth grade students participate in Polis Projects. They are divided into competing polis groups (the polis was the ancient Greek city-state). For one week they must follow our "Rules of Athenian Democracy," meaning that, for these few days, the boys will be responsible for making all decisions and doing special work assignments (naming each polis, writing and keeping laws, writing paragraphs detailing the jobs they've chosen—potter, actor, politician, etc.), while the girls will be charged with keeping each polis clean (and writing diary accounts of their daily lives). One rule forbids a girl from leaving 'home' without an escort—so the boys have to walk the girls to Art, PE, recess, etc. What a way to explore the roles of men and women in ancient Greece!

"We also have a mock trial in the manner of that early Greek government (using a makeshift water-clock). Most students actually come to enjoy the responsibility (privilege) of taking care of each other; they also learn to work as a team to earn points each day.

"I'm glad that Trinity School celebrates this type of applied learning experience. It is rewarding to see the children connect with information as it springs off the written page, promoting good discussion and thoughtful questions. Speaking of questions...you should see them interact with Socrates when he comes to visit the classroom! But that's another topic."

– Trinity's fifth grade teachers

An Unhurried Curriculum

Trinity is a school with an unhurried curriculum.
We pursue depth and understanding over coverage,
And we recognize that learning takes time,
Lots of time,
Different kinds of time,
The right time.
Sometimes we need to slow down to learn well.
And we know that the desire for too much can ruin the blessing of enough.

A Leisurely Pursuit of the Life of the Mind

Trinity can break and re-make the educational mold by being a school that not only trains the intelligence but also stimulates, respects, and enjoys the intellect. It is relatively easy to fashion a school into a place that stretches and stimulates intelligence. One can move a long way in that direction simply by ordering from a catalogue. But to build a school that is devoted to the intellect--that is a much taller order. It means, first and foremost, the gathering of people--teachers, parents, friends--who themselves embody this teeming fascination with the life of the mind.

Excellence through Moderation

Excellence or perfection comes to us humans only through moderation. This idea, like so many good ideas in a fallen world, is counter-intuitive and bears a little explanation. To say that a school strives to be excellent is to raise a critical question: “What is the best that you can be?” Our answer: To be happy, first in God, and then with others and finally with one’s self. And for the attainment of such happiness, there is but one road, the way of virtue. The pursuit of God through faith, hope, and love; the good life with others through prudence, justice, courage, and temperance; and the blessed happiness with ourselves that comes from knowledge, wisdom, art, wit, and the like. Now for the living of such a life, one principle is key: The happy Yes comes only through the painful No.

How do we know this? First, and most importantly, we have our Lord’s example, who “learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:18). Thus also did he counsel us, his disciples: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell” (Mark 9:43). Like so much of Jesus’ teaching, this great truth was not new, but simply the fresh wind of the Spirit filling the old sails of the sayings of the wise: “Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:6).

Communicating Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

Truth, goodness, and beauty are the great transcendents of the classical tradition. The intellectual, moral, and aesthetic experiences are avenues by which human beings have moved outside the self and have come to know spiritual realities. At Trinity, these great transcendents are interpreted through a specifically Christian vision: We believe their source and medium is the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In pursuing these transcendents, we urge one another on to a fuller vision of God in Christ.

  • Trinity School welcomes all truth as God's truth. This perspective promotes unfettered inquiry in which all subjects may be studied and all questions asked. At the same time, Trinity seeks to understand and adopt God's interpretation of every aspect of life, integrating all subjects in a unified perspective that is thoroughly Christian and consistent with the Scriptures.

  • Trinity seeks to provide an education in goodness, one that develops the conscience and teaches virtuous habits. Most importantly, we hope to plant and tend the seed of faith in Jesus Christ, without which true goodness is impossible, and to help shape that faith into deep spirituality and Christian character. By encouraging such habits as fairness, humility, truthfulness, self-control, perseverance, courage, and compassion, Trinity prepares students for benevolent engagement with the culture at large. Such moral education is accomplished through precept and praise, through examples from history and literature, and through the living example of parents, teachers, and school leaders, by the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our students.

  • Trinity also nurtures an appreciation for reflections of God's glory and beauty in nature, in the arts, in culture, and in human relationships. We believe that both aesthetic discernment and imaginative expression are important aspects of education. Trinity exposes students to sublime expressions of beauty, cultivates the imagination, and strives to develop in every student an ability to re-express God's beauty in creative ways.

Trinity is blessed to have faculty members who on a daily basis strive to communicate and to model the truth, goodness, and beauty that flow from God and can be seen in his world.

Christianity is at the heart of who we are. The Christian education we offer is not superficially religious, a mere overlay of Bible courses, prayer, and chapel services upon an otherwise secular curriculum. Through prayer and through the study and memorization of Scripture, through the Christian witness of teachers and staff, inside and outside of the classroom, Trinity students can come to love God and to grow in their knowledge of him. Believing that all truth is God's truth, we teach students to use the classical tools of learning in their study of both secular and Christian thought in the arts, literature, and science. In so doing, we foster students' growth both in knowledge and in discernment of what is true, beautiful, and good, and encourage them to develop a lifelong love of learning. Through such means as community service, public speaking, debate, and exposure to non-Christian viewpoints, Trinity seeks to train students to participate in and transform the society in which they live.

Doctrinal Commitments

Trinity School is a Christian school, dedicated to a vision of education that is rooted in the Triune God. As an independent school, without institutional ties to any church or denomination, we remain committed to what C.S. Lewis called “mere Christianity”: “no insipid inter-denominational transparency, but something positive, self-consistent, and inexhaustible.” We hold to those truths that have united Christians through the ages, across the boundaries of time, place, race, denomination, and tradition:

  • The only true God, the almighty Creator of all things, existing eternally in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—full of love and glory.
  • The unique divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness, and authority of the Bible.
  • The value and dignity of all people: created in God’s image to live in love and holiness, but alienated from God and each other because of our sin and guilt, and justly subject to God’s wrath.
  • Jesus Christ, fully human and fully divine, who lived as a perfect example, who assumed the judgment due sinners by dying in our place, and who was bodily raised from the dead and ascended as Savior and Lord.
  • Justification by God’s grace to all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
  • The indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all believers a new life and new calling to obedient service.
  • The unity of all believers in Jesus Christ, manifest in worshiping and witnessing churches making disciples throughout the world.
  • The victorious reign and future personal return of Jesus Christ, who will judge all people with justice and mercy, giving over the unrepentant to eternal condemnation but receiving the redeemed into eternal life.

Additional Readings

The Framework of Christian Faith and Conviction

A School That Changes Lives?”, Chip Denton
The Race that Three Girls Won”, Chip Denton
Where is the CHRISTIAN in Christian Education?”, Chip Denton
The Gift of Non Nobis”, Chip Denton
What My Children Won't Learn in School”, Thomas Howard

The Classical Tools of Learning

A Liberal Education?” Chip Denton
A Steep Good” Chip Denton
An Education of Classical Proportions” Chip Denton
Classical AND Christian” Chip Denton
The Education of Abraham Lincoln” Chip Denton
The Lost Tools of Learning” Dorthy Sayers
Only Connect” William Cronon
The Purpose of Education” Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Rich Curriculum

Owning an Education,” Chip Denton
“Charlotte Mason with a British Accent,” Chip Denton
“On Textbooks and Living Books,” Chip Denton
“Playing Around at Trinity,” Chip Denton
A Summary of Charlotte Mason's Pedagogy


An Unhurried Curriculum

How Challenging?” Chip Denton
Boundary Lines in Pleasant Places,Chip Denton
Excellence through Moderation: In Which the Headmaster Attempts to Explain a Puzzling “Word in the Mission Statement,Chip Denton
Engaging the Mind in Unhurried Excellence,Warren Gould
Playing Around at Trinity,Chip Denton
Snow Days,Chip Denton
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening,Robert Frost
An Apology to the Graduates,Anna Quindlen
Slowing Down,Billy Collins

Communicating Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

The Philosophy of Charlotte Mason at Trinity School
(available from the Trinity School office)

Andreola, Karen. 1998. A Charlotte Mason Companion. Union, ME: Charlotte Mason Research & Supply.Augustine. On Christian Doctrine.
Blamires, Harry. 1963. The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? Ann Arbor: Servant Books.
Gaebelein, Frank E. 1968. The Pattern of God's Truth: Integration of Faith and Learning. Chicago, IL: Moody Press.
Macauley, Susan Schaeffer. 1984. For the Children's Sake. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Mason, Charlotte. 1925. The Original Homeschooling Series, vols. 1–6. Reprinted 1989. Union, ME: Charlotte Mason Research & Supply.
Mason, Charlotte. "Concerning Children as Persons." London, England: Parents' National Educational Union.
Sayers, Dorothy. 1947. "The Lost Tools of Learning." Originally published in The Hibbert Journal. London: Methuen & Co., Ltd.
Veith, Gene Edward, Jr., and Andrew Kern. 1997. Classical Education: Towards the Revival of American Schooling. Washington, DC: Capital Research Center.
Wilson, Douglas. 1991. Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Expanded Mission Statement

“Trinity’s strength is in its people. The staff and teachers are passionate about
fostering an environment that is full of learning, love, and respect. They celebrate each child’s individual strengths,
instilling a deep sense of confidence in them.”
Trinity parent