Our second daughter just graduated from Trinity this year (2015). After being involved with the school for the past 8 years, I can honestly say there is nothing we regret in our choice to invest in the classical education "in the Christian tradition".
The school is co-ed, but we really appreciate that boys and girls are educated separately. This allows all to fully explore and experience literature, math and science without concern for how they are perceived by the opposite gender, while at the same time allowing opportunities for the students learn to interact with each other in a respectful, appropriate manner.
The small class size enables teachers to really get to know what makes a student "tick". Our daughters graduated high school having learned the art of critical thinking, the ability to discuss ideas, and to synthesize differing ideas to develop their own world view. The teachers have challenged our girls to excellence academically and personally, resulting in their acceptance into highly selective colleges with merit scholarships offered.
Because Trinity still considers the arts an integral part of education, we watched our girls flourish in vocal and instrumental music, drama and art. Having highly qualified educators teaching students how to make music, act and create art allowed our children to excel in areas they never would have tried in a large public school, thus allowing them to receive a well-rounded education that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Trinity School at River Ridge is truly a community of learners, supported by a community of families committed to providing not only a quality education, but also developing a quality of character in each student to prepare them for service to the world.
Most of the teachers at the school are not "licensed" through the public education system and I find that a great benefit to my children. The teachers they have had are passionate about the subject matter they study, not all the latest pedagogical methods or testing systems. My children have fallen in love with mathematics, science, poetry, music and art all because they have teachers who are dedicated to and love these things first and foremost. The love of learning on the faculty is infectious, and, like most of the important things in life, a love of learning is caught not taught. Thank you to all the Trinity School faculty who have helped my kids fall in love with learning, fall in love, in fact, with life.
There is a real sense of community among the students, fostered by the teachers and the environment they create. As they become a part of a community of learners, rather than rolling eyes, making snide remarks, or disrespecting their classmates, students learn how to extend respect, agree and disagree with charity, and develop relationships that are strong enough to endure.
Student are held accountable to a high standard. There are no locks on the lockers in the school because students are expected to respect each others persons and property. This creates a real sense of personal authority and responsibility in students by the time they graduate.
We chose this school because our student was advanced academically & this school seemed to have the academic rigor we were seeking. We were thrilled art & music were required, emphasizing a well-rounded education.As the first year went on, we were dismayed that students were freely & frequently given detentions for very minor infractions (forgetting a book/pencil, having to use the bathroom&late to class).One former student later told us she was frequently reprimanded for blowing her nose/sneezing when she had severe allergies.Art wasn't the creative experience we envisioned, but emphasized perfection over learning--erasing& repeating over&over until the instructor was satisfied.Similarly with music, the instructor would become angry if mistakes were made, leading to students having anxiety about making more mistakes.At the "recital", she even stopped students performing to berate them in front of the packed audience&made them restart (happened with several groups/individuals).I was shocked& asked a friend whose children have been in band at another classical school if she had encountered such things, & she said "NEVER" & she was shocked by what I had told her.This school does have single-gender classrooms, which we thought would be beneficial & we agreed that students shouldn't have displays of affection in the common coed areas, but we were very surprised to find out that even taking with girls/laughing with girls at lunch was met with detention.This was extremely disappointing because both my spouse& myself had each experienced wonderful, totally platonic opposite gender friendships in school.We found communication with the teachers to be very frustrating.Either they didn't return calls/emails or if they did, they were vague about addressing our concerns or were downright rude/condescending. Only 2 of my student's 6 teachers would I classify as being excellent.Also of note,many of the teachers do not have a degree in teaching or for some,even in the subject that they are teaching.We liked that the school was non-denominational, but we really didn't realize that it is affiliated with People of Praise group, in which most students & even instructors are members. So this school might be what some parents&students are looking for, but if your student is a creative,sensitive individual who is prone to perfectionism, you might want to take another look.
We have 2 kids at Trinity, a boy and a girl. Our son has been there since eigth grade and he is currently a Senior. Our daughter is going into 8th grade. Where to start? We LOVE it here. First of all, our only two concerns in coming in were a) People of Praise and b) small size. After 5 yrs here I can state unequivically that the folks who are members of the POP are some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet (I am divorced and we go to an Episcopal church) and have never, ever tried to convert us, lecture us or involve us beyond a general invite to attend their summer camp (which we declined.) The small size has not been an issue, rather it has been a blessing. Our son has been able to be a jock (3 varsity sports), a brain (blew away his PSAT, SAT and ACT) and was in theater and choir. At Trinity, your kid doesn't get typecast, they get to do it all. Our daughter was the only one of her grade school "group" who had a positive Jr High experience. While other mothers were calling me with horror stories of mean girls, anorexia, make-up and fights in their daughters 7th grade, my daughter was LOVING her school experience. And their art departmet is AMAZING.
We currently have one child at Trinity School with several more on the way and can attest that this is an amazing education. The school has a clear philosophy, clear goals, and a clear mission that they accomplish to a very high degree. Our son, for instance, showed little or no interest in art and music before attending Trinity. Among other things, he now plays recorder, listens to classical music, and uses his colored pencils in his free time! His teachers in every subject area have done an excellent job challenging and engaging him as a unique learner. He looks forward to school. He enjoys his classmates. And he has come alive intellectually in this environment. In addition to the education itself, we have especially appreciated the wholesome environment, the communication from teachers about what our son is learning, and the de-emphasis on grades and numbers. Students do receive grades at the end of the term, but the emphasis in evalation is upon a two page written assessment of the student for every class and a conversation between the parents and the student's teachers. Trinity School is everything that genuine education ought to be and a hidden gem in the Twin Cities.
We homeschooled our four children through sixth grade and then sought out alternatives to best prepare them for college and beyond. We were impressed by the poise, confidence, and articulation of Trinity students and the graduates we met. They engaged adults in thoughtful conversation well beyond their years. We wanted that educational experience for our children and we were willing to drive 21 miles each direction for the opportunity. Trinity School at River Ridge has exceeded our expectations.
We have had children in this school since 2001 and love it! Three have graduated, two were National Merit Finalists. Currently, we have one child at the school and another to come. Originally, we chose this school for the academics. We found not only quality academics, but a safe and respectful culture with a responsive administration. Students learn college level math, science, Latin, philosophy, literature, history, and develop an appreciation of the arts. Many teachers have Masters/PhDs in their respective subjects. Socratic discussions lead to deeper understanding and create a community of learners. Monthly class parties to create a positive social environment. Students are separated by gender in their classes to support learning. The school supports boy/girl friendships, but discourages dating to minimize drama. This school is sponsored by an ecumenical Christian organization, People of Praise that is a community of people that live a Christian life outside of church. Some of the students and teachers are a part of this group. Even though our family is not a member of this group, we feel that this organization contributed to the positive culture of the school.
Trinity produces fine thinkers and noble human beings. I have 2 children attending the school now. Of our 3 Trinity graduates, all have excelled in college (one as a National Merit Scholar). Trinity is academically rigorous; using seminar format, it explores the great thinkers of the Western tradition, and such concepts as the dignity of the human person, and just and effective ways to run a society. Core curriculum includes state-of-the art math/science/ computer programming; humanities (history,literature, political science, philosophy, theology); Latin (4 years), a modern language; music and studio art. Students acquire a sense of wonder at and responsibility for the world around them. The Christian world view is taken seriously, in an ecumenical setting. And the faculty . . . marvelous. Experts in their disciplines, and warmly dedicated to the students. After educating 5 children at Trinity, I'm convinced it is the best option for secondary education in the Twin Cities.