Trinity Episcopal School

Founded: 2000
Grades served: K-8
Total enrollment: 416

In just eight years, Trinity Episcopal School has quadrupled its student enrollment. The school opened in 2000 with 102 students in grades K-5 and moved into its current center city location in 2003. Now more than 400 students attend the nationally accredited K-8 school, where classrooms have views of the uptown skyline. The small school typically admits fourty-four kindergarten students each year.

Trinity Episcopal's commitment to racial, socioeconomic, and academic diversity sets it apart, says Linda Ibsen, director of admission and financial aid. "We want our population to look like a slice of Charlotte," she says.

The school's First Ward location is convenient for many of the parents, who work uptown at Bank of America and Wachovia. Trinity Episcopal uses uptown as its campus, Ibsen says, taking daily walks to ImaginOn and visiting Discovery Place and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. "We are able to take advantage of all that uptown offers," she says.

The campus garden also serves as a classroom. Kindergarteners, for example, grow vegetables, then count and weigh them as part of their math program before donating the vegetables to local hunger coalitions. At Trinity Episcopal, each grade partners with a local organization, such as Urban Ministry Center, for a community service project.

The rigorous school, which has an Episcopal focus, hopes to create lifelong learners, Ibsen says. "We value the joy in learning," she says. "The way we teach really enhances and keeps that joy going."

About half of graduates go to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg high school, while the other half go to a private or boarding school. Trinity Episcopal's first graduates are now college freshmen.

"When our kids leave us, they go to the high school of their choice willing to take risks to try out for the team or for the drama production," Ibsen says.

By The Numbers

Average class size:
K-3: 22
4-5: 24
6-8: 18

Student-teacher ratio:
K-3: 11:1
4-5: 12:1
6-8: 18:1

Average years of teacher experience: 10

Percentage of teachers with advanced degrees in their field: 43

Tuition costs (2008-2009)
K-5: $12,800
6-8: $13,950

Percentage of applicants accepted: 47%

Percentage of students receiving financial aid: 18%

Categories: Feature