Like other great schools, Trinity promises to offer a balanced educational program for body and mind, heart and soul; incorporating the arts, athletics, and community service: “We are called to challenge the minds, fire the imaginations, and train the bodies of the young people who have been entrusted to us; to enlarge their spiritual lives; and to increase their capacity for mutual and self-respect.” Like other schools devoted to the liberal arts, we seek to give our students “the tools of rigorous and passionate intellectual inquiry and self-expression.” And, like many other schools in New York City and beyond, we care passionately about the ethical as well as intellectual development of our students, seeking to develop enlightened and engaged citizens: “We must lead them to distinguish between right and wrong and then do what is right so they can be persuasive and courageous citizens.”
What, then, is distinctive about our mission? Perhaps most notably, our mission uniquely elaborates how extensively a Trinity education is connected to the exceptional city in which we live: “We will engage the larger communities of city, nation, and world of which we are a part. We will serve our neighbors. We will live fully in our city—exploring its byways and playing over its terrain. We will learn its history and traditions, and what it can teach us of the arts and sciences. We will embody and celebrate its diversity.” From Lower School field trips to Upper School Community Time speakers, and our transformational Community Circle partnerships in our neighborhood, the school seeks not only to make best use of the extraordinary educational resources surrounding the school, but also to serve as a good neighbor
From our enriching relationship with the city springs the school’s distinctively strong commitment to diversity: “We will embody and celebrate its diversity.” Deeply committed to creating a inclusive community of learners and teachers, Trinity enjoys a student body that reflects the ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, gender, familial, and religious diversity of the city it calls home. Trinity’s commitment to build a truly inclusive community is woven into the fabric of our mission and reaches into every corner of school life as we seek to enlarge every student’s “capacity for mutual and self-respect”: “In our commitment to diversity, we must show our students how to be colleagues and friends so they can act out of respect and love.” I know of no other school that explicitly articulates its mission as an act of love and conceives of excellence primarily as a collective achievement built upon mutual care.
While Trinity, like many schools, envisions its mission as “preparatory,” we aspire to be much more than just a college preparatory school: “We intend to prepare students to learn confidently for the rest of their lives and to give generously and joyfully to others.” Talk of college is deliberately excluded from our understanding of excellence, for we believe that a narrow focus on college, with its attendant preoccupation with perfectionistic resume building, will diminish rather than nourish our students’ growth. We seek to direct our students’ attention to a broader, richer understanding of human excellence, expressed in the classical tradition (and in our school motto) as “virtute.”
As signaled by the mission’s repeated use of the language of vocation and calling to describe our work here, the pursuit of excellence at Trinity is perhaps better conceived as a spiritual process, in which students develop over time an increasingly capacious understanding of their unique role as giving, thinking citizens in a larger world in need of their talents and care: “We must ask our students what they believe in so they can know themselves in the world.” In part, we accomplish this through service-learning and chapel programs that call students not only to grow into their best selves, but also to reach out beyond themselves to address needs and realities greater than themselves. By encouraging students to make connections between learning in our classrooms and life beyond Trinity, by integrating learning and giving, we seek to offer students a sense of perspective, to enable them, while here, to begin the life-long process of discerning their responsibilities to others. The School believes that such perspective is essential to students’ own sense of balance, health, and fulfillment; fostering such perspective is one of the essential ways in which we strive to “keep our students safe and well.”
While our mission statement serves as a wonderful window into our educational aspirations, the best way to get a sense of the place is to meet our students and teachers. Unsurprisingly, our mission statement begins by directing your attention to them and to the remarkable relationships they build inside as well as beyond our classrooms: “The conversation between student and teacher is the heart of our school; all that we do must be born of and nourish that relationship.” We welcome you to the centuries-old and ever-new humane conversation that is Trinity School.
Head of School