Learning Support Program at Trinity

Matt Allio
Dear Trinity Families,
As part of Trinity 2026, our strategic plan, we looked closely at the Program and People components of Trinity School.
Our initiatives included determining how to enhance teaching further and learning at Trinity - for all students - through increased support. Specifically and included in Trinity 2026:
Hire a Learning Support Coordinator for students who need additional support.
Continue and further the school's commitment to differentiated instruction and student engagement through enhanced use of ongoing assessments and teacher training.
Ensure we are reaching each child so that they are 
developing academically, physically, socially, and emotionally.
Expand opportunities for students to demonstrate learning in different ways.
One of the ways we took on the initiatives in Trinity 2026 was to hire a Learning Support Coordinator at Trinity. To that end, we hired Jill Smithey to start 2022 - 2023 in that role. Given that this is the position's first year, it's time to update you on the significant progress in our Learning Support initiatives.  
Taken directly from the job description, Jill will work closely with teachers, parents, and administrators to support students in preschool through Grade 5, especially those with learning differences. The Learning Support Coordinator will collaborate with and assist teachers in implementing effective research-based strategies, observing and pushing into the classrooms to assist with differentiation and implementing accommodations. The bulk of Jill's work will be on the Upper Campus and will not solely support students who learn differently - she will also add experience to our vital efforts to differentiate teaching and learning across the grade level.  
In speaking with Jill, six months into the position, I asked her the following questions:
So how are you spending your days, Jill? What are your days like so far?
My favorite thing about this job is that every day looks a little different. I typically start most mornings in the classrooms. This is when most of the core curriculum is happening, so it is the ideal time for me to make observations, work with individual students, or work with small groups. I also spend much time on the playground. This allows me to observe friendships and social behaviors and helps bridge relationships between individual students in a class and across grade levels. When necessary, I participate in grade-level meetings to discuss how I can support students and discuss accommodations that might be needed and ways to differentiate the curriculum. I also enjoy looking for resources related to SEL to complement the teaching and learning in the program. I love being in the classrooms and will continue to spend a significant portion of my day observing and prompting conversations among the faculty.

What's feeling most productive to you?
I feel good about being someone the teachers and parents can depend on as a resource. Being another set of eyes and ears for the teachers provides another perspective. I also treasure my relationships with the kids. I have developed a lovely rapport with each class by being in the classroom regularly. They have been very receptive to working with me and feel comfortable stopping by my office when they need to talk or in a quiet space to complete their work. 
Of course, becoming fluent in the academic program at Trinity has felt productive. As I've gotten to know the program, I can look at each child's learning profile and help determine the tools they may need in the classroom to enhance their learning.
What do you see as the most significant growth areas for the Learning Support Program?
There is wonderful children's literature written about learning differences, so I can see getting into the classrooms and creating lessons around these stories. We know that kids learn differently, and bringing this awareness front and center will help all students develop an understanding of their peers in the classroom.  
How's it been working with the faculty? This is a new position for them, too.
I greatly appreciate the welcome from all the teachers - Lead Teachers and Specialists - and the feedback they provide. Sometimes a new person can be challenging for a faculty. However, at Trinity, this highly collaborative faculty has been open to resources and dialogue around teaching and learning - and it's gratifying to be welcomed and appreciated in such a caring way!
We're grateful to have Jill, the expertise she brings, and the relationships she's building on our campuses, and we look forward to the continued growth of the Learning Support Program.
Matt Allio
Head of School