A year in review for the MasterKey team

“MasterKey” is a program at Trinity College School connected to admissions, where students represent the School and are a part of the welcoming process of new students. Typically, throughout the year, we would give tours of the School to prospective families, host open houses, class shadows, overnight stays and, overall, help new students connect with the School.

This year, due to the pandemic, the MasterKey members have been working in virtual open houses to bring the spirit of TCS alive through the screen. We have been very successful in our modified way of doing things as TCS is well on its way to being full for next year with a great bunch of new students eager to join in September. To reach out to interested families, the Senior School admissions team has hosted three virtual open houses with over 250 families attending. The admissions team also created new events in January called “Signature Saturdays” that highlighted our boarding and co-curricular programs. There were five such events and other 200+ attendees in total. Click here to learn more about past and upcoming virtual open house events.

TCS also participated in multiple virtual fairs which were hosted by some of our partners in countries around the world. In past years, when in-person, the School would have a table where the staff and students would be available to provide information about our school to those who were interested. In a virtual fair setting, we had Zoom rooms where members of our community such as current students, teachers and parents answered questions and provided information about life at TCS to families who are potentially interested.

Finally, the admissions team has taken advantage of being able to connect more easily and facilitated opportunities to have more one-on-one connections between current students and new students and their families. Many students have been asked to connect via FaceTime or Zoom calls to help welcome our new students for the 2021-2022 school year. The MasterKey students will also be hosting house events in the next three to four weeks as all of the incoming Senior School students have now been assigned to their respective houses.

Although shifting to new platforms was challenging, some of the online aspects were quite successful and the MasterKey team will consider keeping these going forward. While we are keen to have visitors back on campus and in-person, we are excited about how Zoom has allowed families from all over the world to join in an open house. In the past, the visiting families would be predominantly from Canada, with a few students attending from Bermuda, Cayman or Mexico. With the online platform, we saw over 20 countries represented at each event. Having online virtual open house events allows TCS to reach a more diverse and broader group of families.

While the work we all did looked different, the goal remained the same: connecting interested families to the TCS community and helping the student try to “see themselves” in our school family through their identity. Admissions also worked closely with the Task Force to End Anti-Black Racism to increase the population of students of colour and help prospective students in “seeing themselves at TCS.” The most important piece of identity for any person is their name and so from the work on the task force an important initiative will be introduced in the next three to four weeks: NameCoach.

NameCoach is an easy-to-use tool that allows students, faculty and staff to record how their name should be pronounced, identify their personal gender pronouns, as well as hear how others’ names should be pronounced. NameCoach allows users to easily record the correct pronunciation of their name using a computer, tablet, or mobile device. The voice recorded pronunciations will be available to faculty and students, in the courses in Canvas where the instructor has chosen to enable NameCoach, as a resource to learn how to say your name correctly. The School has invested in this platform that will allow for all community members to record their name and create a tag for their email. Admissions will send out a form to each person at TCS to ask them how to pronounce their name and their preferred pronouns. This form will also allow each student to identify the flag that they would select to represent them in Osler Hall.

Overall, it has been a great year for the MasterKey team, and we’re looking forward to our upcoming spring open houses!

- By Simon Spoor, Mackenzie Heid, Karina Lee and Bolu Abiola, MasterKey leaders