Changes Inspire Growth at Trinity

Changing to accommodate the needs of area families and the challenges of academic excellence, Trinity Lutheran School has seen an approximate 25 percent increase in enrollment over the last five years.
In its 127th year in operation Trinity has more than 180 students in pre-school through grade eight and recently added a day care and after school program. A 4K kindergarten class is also available at Trinity through the Merrill Area Public Schools.
“Our school offers more than people realize,” said Principal Kathy Yahr, “We are changing and growing all the time.”
One of the biggest impacts on the school has been the addition of the Trinity Christian Day Care Center which is open to children ages three to five. The center hours are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday year around.
“When we first started in 2010 we had 14 students,” said day care director Kerri Zamzow. “In 2012 we had 109 attend.”
Children attending the program follow the same lesson plans as the pre-school students with time set aside for rest and play. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided throughout the day.
“We try to make it educational as well,” Zamzow said. “We’ll have memory games or puzzles and have a Bible study and do a lot of craft projects. It’s such a fun day.”
For a third year Trinity is opening its doors for an after school program for all Merrill students in kindergarten through grade six. The program is available from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria and gym for a minimal fee.
“There was a real need for the program with so many parents working today,” said Trinity secretary and program director Robin Grenfell. “The kids come from all over the community.”
The after school sessions currently have 56 students registered with an average of 23 children attending on any given day.
During the sessions students are encouraged to complete homework or help other children with homework assignments. Students also have the opportunity to work on craft projects, play games, read or do other activities.
“It’s a great program,” said assistant Patsy Woller. “We help them get their homework done and that takes a little bit of stress off of mom and dad. It gives the parents more time at home to do family things together.”
As part of the academic program Trinity has incorporated a Peer Tutoring Program in which the 7th and 8th grade students assist younger children with any problems they may have in their classes. Students also have assigned reading partners during the school day.
“Trinity is very family oriented,” Grenfell said. “Everybody looks out for each other here.”
Another significant change at Trinity over the past decade is the role technology has played in the classroom. In addition to a computer lab and the introduction of Smart Boards the school is now looking into the possibility of acquiring lap top computers for the older students.
“Technology is huge,” Yahr said. “I’d say that’s one of the biggest changes we have seen.”

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