Sixth Grade at Trinity
Trinity School’s sixth grade is unique, strategically placed, and designed specifically for our young adolescents. We incorporate Lower School influences with Middle School academic elements and social experiences in a way that both supports and challenges sixth graders as they adjust to the initial stages of adolescence. Sixth grade functions as a hinge, connecting Lower School to Middle School to ensure a smooth transition, and featuring a special space, pace, and curriculum.
Science teacher Adah Spiegel has a special fondness for the sixth graders. “They are so impressionable at this age and are so strong in their faith. By sixth grade, they are stepping out of their concrete thinking and moving towards asking hard questions. We give them a safe place to grow at their pace.”
At the beginning of the year, the teachers work hard to help with the transition from one primary classroom teacher to three different teachers. “We ease them into a middle school environment while they are with us. In the fall we help with notebook management, organization, and responsibility. We make sure they have what they need when they need it,” says Bev Smith-Fendt, Language Arts teacher. During the second semester, the teachers step back and encourage the students to take on more and more responsibility. “As the year goes by, there is a natural progression towards independence. We move to the background and watch our students make that important transition towards middle school,” says Mrs. Smith-Fendt.
The small classes foster close and nurturing relationships between the students and their teachers. “One of the many reasons I love sixth grade at Trinity is the wonderful connection we teachers have with our students. We, as teachers, talk all the time and communicate about each student. We know what is going on in their lives, we’re aware of who they are, and we can step in and help if we see something that needs attention,” says Mrs. Spiegel.
As sixth graders, the students can join afterschool clubs and middle school athletic teams. Mrs. Smith-Fendt says communication is key: “We are close to all of our coaches and specials teachers. We talk to the coaches all the time to learn about their game schedules and to let the coaches know if the students are keeping up with their classwork. We notice if a student has a real interest in art or music so the specials teacher can reach out to that student.”
Math teacher Richie O’Briant is heartened by the unique feeling in sixth grade. “I’m thrilled at their desire to learn and their healthy competition for the best grades. But at the same time they are very good at coaching each other to success. It has been a blessing for me to witness it.”
Robin Lemke, Director of Lower School, observes of Trinity’s sixth grade, “Our sixth grade program prepares students well for the next level. This is an important period of time for these youngsters, and we are pleased that we’ve been able to take the best of both worlds—childhood and adolescence—and create a sixth grade that addresses the emotional and social challenges of our young people as learning and academic expectations continue to move forward. We are thrilled to have sixth grade as the crown for Trinity’s Lower School.”
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