Despite all the challenges and despair 2020 has brought to the world, Trinity Christian Academy (TCA) in Addison has been working harder than ever to remain a bright spot for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the school adjusted to a new teaching and learning environment, they also remained committed to cultivating an authentic and transformational student experience in order to hold true to TCA’s culture and values that have become so important to students and their families for over 50 years.
For starters, TCA has made sure the school is a safe place for students to learn with increased sanitation measures. They have identified four levels of health and safety, which they will rotate between based on guidelines or recommendations set forth by the CDC, Dallas County Health Department, Texas Education Agency, University Interscholastic League, Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical and health experts. These range physical distancing and wearing face coverings to alternating school days to enforcing at-home learning. Of course, parents also have the option to keep their kids at home for learning this school year, too.
In addition to the health and safety aspects, TCA has also implemented other things to encourage students during this time. Last fall, the school opened a brand-new pre-Kindergarten building for its youngest students. This 10,000-square-foot center includes five additional classrooms varying in size, along with a beautiful, bright common area space. Each new classroom offers ample storage, including built-in cabinetry and separate storage closets for each teacher. Also, the sinks found in each classroom are properly scaled to size for students and teachers, along with single-student restrooms between each classroom and a larger, multi-use restroom. Additionally, TCA faculty will have a teacher workroom complete with a washer and dryer along with a multi-use break room.
TCA also wanted to make sure the senior students got to keep their traditions alive and celebrate seniors while following COVID-19 precautions. At the beginning of the school year, parents of TCA seniors still celebrate their kids by decorating their cars for the first day. Additionally, the tradition of Lower School students “adopting” seniors is still going strong, even though they can’t meet in person to socialize. Instead, they’ve adjusted to Zoom calls to make memories digitally. In the fall, TCA seniors celebrated a victorious Homecoming game, although only the senior students and team parents were allowed in the socially distanced stadium. Finally, students participated in the pep rally ahead of “Senior Night.” According to a press release by TCA, “Although the culmination of their final year of high school looks a little different, the senior class of 2021 continues to adapt and make memories that will last a lifetime, even if they are socially distant or digital.”
Of course, TCA students are still working harder than ever this year. In November, seniors Sarah Gerard and Connor Graham qualified for National Merit Recognition as National Indigenous Scholar and National Hispanic Scholar, respectively. Last year, 1.5 million students in more than 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the preliminary SAT in fall 2019. The students were judged on a variety of information, including a personal essay, letters of recommendation, participation in school activities, leadership abilities, their academic record, and their PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test scores. More than 16,000 commended students throughout the nation were recognized for their exceptional academic promise and an invitation was extended to the students who scored in the top 2.5 percent of PSAT/NMSQT test-takers who identify as African American, Hispanic American, Latinx or Indigenous.
TCA is one of the largest, single-campus, pre-K-12th grade schools in the country, which serves more than 1,400 students on a debt-free, 40+ acre campus. Graduates of this fully accredited school are accepted to a wide variety of colleges and universities, including the most prestigious institutions in the nation. The school is founded on the purpose of “education and developing the whole person for the glory of God.”