Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Get To Know The Staff - Mr. Poux

 So what I'm thinking is maybe this is the best experience at a job
I've ever had. It just seems that everything ever experienced,
good,bad,ugly- every job in my life has culminated in this wonderful
experience. Intensive training in theater arts with a bit of
Psychology for good measure from Carnegie-Mellon University. Some good
years in New York City, some great years in Atlanta, and a whole new
life here in Charlotte; teaching, working with disadvantaged,
tutoring, even opening a cupcake-froyo shop. 

All of these, all of these dreams fulfilled have led me to the ultimate fulfillment. This experience at Trinity Prep, a gift of absolute charm. Working with these individuals, teaching them various textures of life; some
history,  lots of literature,and being able to share a passion of
mine, drama. Not the drama of life going crazy. That hides in my silly
brain and imagination. But the historic part. Historic and artistic.

The stuff that speaks truth and makes us dream and cry and pledge a
goodness beyond what we can fulfill. The things I teach level the
field, most importantly teach both me and the young men and women
that...well... we are good, we are bad, but Oh, we are complete. I
love watching these students growth experience themselves and Truth
throughout their theater experience. So far away from growing up in
Akron Ohio, being here in beautiful Charlotte, I must admit if I can
reach any other dream in this lifetime, I would request a Super Bowl
for the Cleveland Browns.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Get To Know The Staff - Mrs. Ennis

Hi everyone!  I have been teaching for nearly ten years.  I started teaching back in 2007 but took a few years off from 2013-2017 to pursue a different career.  However, the teaching profession called me home.  I teach because I love helping students unlock their potential through education.  I love when students get new things and are excited about what they can accomplish.

I did not start out on a path to teaching.  As a Biology major, I always leaned toward medicine or research.  In fact, my previous graduate studies were in Microbiology.  It was at East Tennessee State University that I figured out that I was a bit too social to live in the lab.  However, as a graduate teaching assistant, I discovered a love for teaching.  So, I shifted gears and used the lateral entry program to gain a teaching license in North Carolina.

I consider myself a life-long learner.  I am currently finishing up a dual Masters of Public Health/Masters of Business Administration program that will be completed in December of this year.   So, this semester, I am a full-time student, a full-time teacher, and a full-time mom.  I do not have much free time.  However, when I do get it, I love spending time with my son, reading, traveling, baking, and napping.  Yes, napping.  There is a napping contest somewhere in the world with my name on it.

I used to enjoy running, and I completed a half marathon in 2016.  I hope to get back into running after school is finished.  I would like to get back to running 5Ks and 10Ks.  I am not sure if I want to do another half yet.

I am an avid UNC Tar Heels fan.  I spent some of the best years of my life in Chapel Hill.  Chapel Hill will always have a special place in my heart.  I also enjoy watching the Carolina Panthers.

This past summer, I was able to take my son to Disney World for the first time.  That was a fantastic experience, and he loved it!   He was excited about getting on an airplane for the first time, and he is already looking forward to his next trip to anywhere.  Though, he really wants to go out of the country.

I came to Trinity in January of this year, and I absolutely love it here.  I love that I get to teach science to students rather than teaching to a test.  I love that we can explore student interests and make science real for them.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Get To Know The Staff - Mrs. Neal

My fellow readers, you are witnessing (reading) history right here - my first Blog!  When asked to write this, my first thought was, why would anyone want to read the ramblings of a math teacher?  What could I possibly have to say? Who would want to listen/read it?

Well, first let’s get one thing straight, I do numbers, not letters as I tell my students all of the time - thank goodness for spell check.  I will apologize right up front for the lack of eloquent writing, that gene went to my younger sister, but do enjoy writing in a non-formal way.

As I began to contemplate my theme and delivery, I asked myself what I would want to take time out of my crazy busy day to read, something upbeat and maybe a little funny or something serious and dry.  (I opted for the first option if you can’t tell yet).  I’ve always felt that humor makes things flow a little nicer and the day a little brighter.  You must be able to laugh at things in life, and sometimes that means laughing at yourself.

Which brings me to my theme…math and humor.  Now, I know for most of your children, these two words don’t show up in the same sentence.  For most, the words are math and tears,  or math and anger, or math and frustration.  Which is precisely why I add as much humor to my classes as possible.  Developing a report with the students is always my priority which then lends itself to being able to joke with them and make them smile.  In a classroom setting for a subject that for many is intimidating, it is helpful if the teacher is not intimidating too.

I am, unfortunately, experiencing this first hand with my own child’s math teacher who when we met last week to discuss his difficulties in her class, looked like she has eaten a lemon before our arrival.  (I know, a math teacher’s child is having trouble in math - we can talk about that later) The thought that he has to walk into this classroom every day, into a subject that he actually used to like, just breaks my heart!  She is killing this subject for more than just him, I’m sure.

So, it has always been my pledge to make math fun and meeting with this teacher last week made that drive even stronger. I knew from a very early age I wanted to be a math teacher, and my passion for the subject is something I have always wanted to share.  To transform a student from a math-hater to a math-lover is always my goal.  So, how do I accomplish this?

For some of your children, math comes easy to them, so I have very little work to do “on them.”  For those children who would rather have a root canal than sit in a math class, I have my work cut out for me.  Those are the children who have my heart - the root canal kids!   Know that this is a process for those students and there is usually some negative aspect of math that I have to undo.  Finding humor in some of the smallest ways - usually a movie quote “you’re killing me Smalls,” can bring a smile to their face and hopefully less anxiety in a subject that has historically been a root canal situation for them.  Oh, to never have a root canal again - that is my goal for them!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Get To Know The Staff - Julianna Barto

As a kid, school wasn't something I had a lot of interest in; I was more preoccupied with my friends, animals, and sports. We spent a lot of my childhood moving around North Carolina, England, and Illinois. I was very social, but reading aloud and group work always made me nervous. I learned quickly that if I was quiet and stayed under the radar teachers never really noticed areas where I was behind my peers. It wasn't till we moved to Bristol, England and I was sent to a private school that teachers started to notice I needed help with reading and math. It was because of their support I learned where I needed to focus my educational energy, and they gave my parents tools to help me at home.

When we came back to the U.S., I still struggled in school, having been thrown from a personalized private school back to the large suburban Chicago public schools. Moving from one country to another was extremely difficult, in math I was far behind my peers, in vocabulary and science I was far ahead. Moving again two weeks before my sophomore year of high school didn't make things better. Being at yet another big high school, my family and I quickly learned we were the only people who seemed to care about the state of my education. I had to learn to motivate myself to get work done to the fullest of my abilities, which prepared me for college.

It wasn't till college that education started to interest me, and I was able to take classes about multiple interests. I think being on my own for the first time, and wanting to get good grades for the first time in my education forced me to get creative about studying and learning. I had teachers who, like our TrinityPrep teachers, genuinely care about the success of students and the overall enrichment of their lives. I learned how to budget my time between school, my sorority, and my part-time job bartending.

After college, I was feeling adventurous, so I moved to the north side of Chicago where I had everything from office jobs to working retail, which was indeed a humbling experience. Around the time I was considering moving back to the Charlotte area, my father Harry Barto was beginning to learn about TrinityPrep.

After starting at TrinityPrep in 2017, I finally started to understand why people go into education. I certainly never pictured myself working at a high school, let alone enjoy it so much. Every day is a new experience, and I'm able to learn so much about education, business, and kids.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Get To Know The TrinityPrep Staff - Harry Barto

Learn about the people that are dedicated to the education of TrinityPrep students.

My most memorable experience with TrinityPrep was Graduation 2017. Doug invited Laurie and me to get a sense of TrinityPrep. I will have to say both Laurie and I were so impressed with the deep connection between the teachers and graduates. We felt a real sense that TrinityPrep was genuinely doing good by helping the students succeed. We were hooked and happily joined the TrinityPrep team.

I grew up on the tiny island, Saipan, in the 1960's and 1970's. My father was Chief Engineer on a ship, and our family moved several times between the islands. He is an American, and my mother is a Chamorro native with Japanese heritage. Our family of eight kids grew up speaking English at home and Chamorro everywhere else. Our schools were typical of what one would see in a third world country.

I was an odd kid who loved to read even to the point of reading almost every one of the Encyclopedia Brittanica books we had at home. The nuns in my Catholic school decided to have me jump a grade in my early years, and I went from being one of the smartest kids in my class to the smallest kid in the class. My classmates were all two years older than me and at least a head taller. Later in high school, I moved between islands and struggled to do well. Other kids were getting scholarships to the United States, and I was getting and I was getting nowhere.

It was clear to me that I was not mature enough emotionally and academically for college. Neither of my parents graduated from High School, so they were in no position to help. I joined the Army and learned the value of teamwork, hard work, and discipline. I was stationed in Oklahoma, Korea, and finally in Ft. Bragg, NC. I attended many small colleges and focused on building my basic skills in Math and English. The Army was very supportive, and because of a shoulder injury requiring surgery my last year of duty, my commander allowed me to attend Fayetteville State University on weekends and later Methodist University full-time.

The professors at FSU and Methodist University(Methodist College at the time) were so helpful and encouraging. They remind me of the excellent teachers we have at TrinityPrep, and encouraged me to pursue my passions. I transferred to NC State University and graduated two years later with a BA in Chemistry and a minor in Economics. In addition, I was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Army and completed my Officer Basic Course. I spent four years on active duty as an enlisted man and after college 12 years in the North Carolina National Guard as an officer.

Life in the corporate world was an exciting combination of challenging positions and lifelong learning. I worked for the same company for 25 years going from engineer to manager to CEO and was fortunate to attend Northwestern University's business school fifteen years after starting my career. After retiring from business, I started a doctoral program in Adult and Community College Education at NCSU.

Today my pride and joy are Laurie, Julianna, Reagan, and Tyler along with three dogs and three cats. We enjoy doing physical activities outdoors, reading, and getting to know and helping TrinityPrep.

Sometimes I am asked what has worked for me in life and my career? It comes down to be positive, work hard, be fair, ask for help, learn from life, dream, and have a plan. A friend says it very nicely...."It's not where you start but where you end up that counts."

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mel's tips for the summer

Dear Trinity Families, ...and I capitalize​ Families​ because tops, yep, tops is what you all are:

Obviously, a bit unofficial and casual as I touch base, Let’s all be unofficially relaxed these weeks. You all (Mid-Atlantic version of y’all) did a great job this year, and I look forward to next.

BUT not too fast/quick/speedy here:
Students; Read AT LEAST two books. As the wonderful writer James Michener stated:
If you don’t wear glasses by age 30, consider your life wasted. So read. Do yourself the honor. Reading on the beach or in the mountains or at the pool is wonderful. If you doubt my words, try it. If you don’t find it wonderful, I’ll give you a lollipop when you return.

How about a bit of service work? Just do 5 hours. Call an organization (Humane Society, Children’s Hospital Ward, Assisted Living, Food Bank), and document how you feel afterward. Show me the documentation, and you know the outcome; lollipop!

Now, in honor of your folks, cook (or prepare) a meal every week. It MUST include cleaning up afterward and must include a dessert and salad.

Have a great one. Laugh, pray, hug, laugh some more. Be kind. Enjoy. Don’t burn, stay healthy, be impeccable with your words, don’t take things so personally, assume nothing, and always give it all you’ve got. (Plagiarism at its finest) And ​DO NOT,​ go a single day without telling your people how much you love them. If you do this every day, I’ll give you a lollipop.

It’s a bit late but grow something outside. A plant, flower, green pepper plant, etc. It’s good for the soul if you have one, and great if you need one.

See if you can go ONE FULL DAY without your electronic device. Few of you have the power or strength or self discipline or integrity or heart to do it. In fact if you can do it I’ll give you a ...
Just text or email me at the end of that day and...

It’s inappropriate to say I love you to you individually, but frankly I’m too old to worry about that nonsense, so I will openly state that... ya’ll are okay.

Be well. Be very well. Xx-

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Organized Chaos: Mind Mapping

If your child is a creative learner, then you know organization is a struggle for them. As a student I always got the same feedback on my paper; my ideas were good, but my writing was all over the place and lacked structure. Even while writing this blog, I struggle to make sure my writing isn't going off in five different directions.

During my senior year I learned something that helped me be able to fake organization for papers, mind mapping. Don't get me wrong, I had used mind mapping before, but it was in very structured worksheets in the fifth grade. The focus of mind mapping is to help get ideas out of a students' head and onto the page, so it doesn't need to be extremely organized, just easy for the reader to understand.

The Main Idea: The topic, main idea, or subject should be in the middle of the page and bold enough to draw your eye.

Branches: The branches are used to start your ideas about the topic, don't worry if they seem like they don't make sense. The sole purpose of branches is to get ideas out of your head and onto the paper.

Twigs: The twigs are under each branch where you list the details or information that support your branches.

Doodle: Feel free to doodle related to the topic to help the message sink in.

Group: Once you finish writing branches and twigs full of ideas, start grouping branches together. As you begin grouping branches, think of how you need to structure your paper.  

Get To Know The Staff - Mr. Poux