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Innovation Trimester


The Innovation Trimester (I-Tri) is a new program where Loomis students spend a term outside of their regular classes identifying and solving problems in the local Windsor/Greater Hartford area.

Members of the Class of 2019 at Loomis completed the inaugural I-Tri in May of 2019. 

Students practice human-centered design and learn project management techniques and skills.

Student Outcomes


The mission of the Innovation Trimester is to provide the time and space for students to create something meaningful that will have a positive impact on others. Students will develop a sense of agency and empowerment, and realize the positive impact that they can have on the world around them.

The Innovation Trimester supports the mission of the school, which inspires in students a commitment to the best self and the common good. Through Loomis's excellent academic curriculum, students develop their best selves and gain deep knowledge in particular academic and extracurricular areas. The Innovation Trimester gives students the opportunity to expand the breadth of their knowledge and skills, including empathy, required to be a part of an interdisciplinary team that is trying to make a positive difference in the world. This supports their commitment to the common good.


The Innovation Trimester is a capstone experience through which meaning is brought to a student's education beyond the pursuit of academic knowledge. Students will develop passion and purpose through the completion of projects which have an impact on individuals in the local community. Through rich projects, students will develop their creative confidence, initiative, resilience, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, empathy, and communication skills.


Students enrolled in the Innovation Trimester will be enrolled in the following courses:

Communication Studies
This course offers a survey of theory and practice related to one-on-one and small group communications as well as an introduction to the art of public speaking. Throughout the term, students will find themselves in a variety of communications settings, and students will explore the role of communication in the development of self, perceptions, relationships, and meaning while understanding complexities in the communication process, including: listening, nonverbal communication, speech apprehension, ethics, power, and conflict. Additionally, students will regularly design and deliver speeches and presentations to authentic audiences. In addition to utilizing sound research, analysis, organization, and persuasion, students will learn to effectively employ audio visual elements in their speeches.

Rhetoric in Theory and Practice 
Aristotle defines rhetoric as “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.” This course introduces students to rhetorical theory, teaches them to develop critical interpretations of rhetorical devices in print and digital texts, and ultimately challenges them to employ a variety of rhetorical strategies as they craft their own arguments in a variety of modalities and for a variety of audiences. Students will learn to think about language, speech, and argument as powerful forces when addressing political, cultural, and economic issues both locally and globally. This course is designed to help students learn how to identify issues amid conflicting points of view and craft arguments based on various sources of information.

Advanced Humanities Research Skills 
Students will engage in and learn how to perform research related to human-centered problem-based challenges. Students will learn how conduct interviews, collect and analyze interview data, and present their findings to an authentic audience. Students will dive into topics using research to guide their collective projects and solutions. Students’ individual research will be both disciplinary and interdisciplinary and will be shared with the entire cohort to drive the collective projects. 

Social Entrepreneurship
Students will learn and use a design thinking approach to solve problems having a societal benefit. Students will learn project management skills and apply those skills to several long term projects. Students will learn about the history, structure and operation of profit and non-profit organizations and will work closely with local businesses and non-profits on real world challenges.

Quantitative Research and Statistical Analysis
Students will learn how to collect, analyze and present quantitative data to an authentic audience. The course will introduce tools for decision making under uncertainty, including decision theory and statistical models. Students will use study statistical sampling, use simple software for data analysis, and learn to draw inferences from data. In this course, students will go beyond mathematical modeling and be able to transform data into strategic decisions for their projects. Students will learn the fundamentals of business models and marketing as it pertains to real world problems. 

Profile of a Graduate

The following characteristics and skills will be developed and assessed throughout the Innovation Trimester program.

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
    • Identify, define, and solve authentic problems
    • Collect, assess, and analyze relevant information
    • Reflect critically on learning experiences, processes, and solutions
  • Creativity and Innovation
    • Use a wide range of idea creation techniques (brainstorming, divergent & convergent thinking)
    • View failure as an opportunity to learn; understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term cyclical process of small success and frequent mistakes
    • Act on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contribution to the field in which the innovation will occur
  • Initiative and Self-Direction
    • Set goals with tangible and intangible success criteria
    • Utilize time and manage workload efficiently
    • Monitor, define, prioritize, and complete tasks without direct oversight
  • Resilience
    • Persist to accomplish difficult tasks and to overcome academic and personal barriers to meet goals
  • Communication
    • Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written, and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts
    • Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes, and intentions
  • Empathy
    • Demonstrate understanding of others’ perspectives and needs
    • Listen with an open mind to understand others’ situations

Student Journey & Sample Schedule

How will we get there?

The students will go through several design cycles using a human-centered design process. The early projects will be facilitated by the faculty and the later projects will grant students more independence in their work.

As seen in the schedule below, students will have time to learn and practice techniques required for their projects, such as interviewing, agile/scrum frameworks, data analysis, and public speaking.

The last and largest challenge in the program will allow students the opportunity to use their skills to find and define the question/problem worth solving.

Sample Schedule

This is the weekly schedule for the Innovation Trimester.




Below you will find the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Innovation Trimester. If you don't see the answer to your question here, please send an email to either Mrs. Solomon or Mr. MacClintic.

Who is eligible for the I-Tri?

Loomis students who are graduating in the spring of 2020. The student must be in good standing with the school and have a schedule such that all graduation requirements except the last term of English will be fulfilled prior to the Spring term of 2020.

Where will the I-Tri take place?

The "home base" of the I-Tri will be in the Pearse Hub for Innovation, situated on the ground floor of the newly renovated Campus Center building. However, the students in the program will use a variety of locations for their learning which will be determined by the activity they are doing at any given time.

Why should students participate in the I-Tri?

Students participating in the I-Tri will make a difference in people's lives by solving problems that matter. Students will take what they’ve learned at Loomis and beyond and put it into action.

Can students still participate in interscholastic athletics while in the I-Tri?

Yes! See our schedule page for more details on that.

How will the I-Tri appear on students' transcript?

It will appear as a term spent off-campus (ex: Mountain School, SEGL Leadership Program, etc.). There will be "courses" that students are enrolled in which will be individually evaluated, though the time in the program is not broken up into class times.

What happens to students' full-year classes?

The final grades for those classes will be determined at the end of the winter term. There would be no obligation to complete work for those classes during the spring term while students are in the I-Tri.

What about AP Exams . . .

Students would be able to sign up to take AP exams. This might require more work on the part of the student to independently finish preparation for the exams during the spring term. The student would have the support of the I-Tri faculty in this endeavor.

Do students need to be on campus every evening?

No. However, a student’s schedule might be determined by the nature of the project and will require some evening commitments.

How do students apply?

Great question! Students who wish to participate in the I-Tri in the Spring of 2020 need to complete the application process by April 26. There will be an interview process as well.

Online Application Form

Signature Page


Is this program only for “A” students?

This program is not just for students at the top of their classes academically. If a student is interested and motivated, we want them!

Who is teaching/running this program?

Jen Solomon and Tim Helfrich are currently leading the 2019 I-Tri. There will be at least two Loomis Chaffee faculty members working with the students full-time. Additional members of the community might join us as the projects require.

How can parents get involved?

Once the program gets going, the project might require experts in various fields and other unique resources that parents can provide.

What about graduation requirements?

Students will receive credits for the term, including English. Other graduation requirements must be fulfilled (Art, PPR, etc.) prior to starting this program.

How will students spend their days?

The days will be spent in a traditional classroom in the Pearse Hub for Innovation as well as in the field. There will be time spent outside of the classroom researching, interviewing, observing, and getting feedback to aid students in their design process. There will be time spent in the classroom collaborating, designing, and prototyping. As the term progresses, the students might have more flexibility with their daily schedules, with regular check-ins from adults and other faculty members. A schedule is below: 

How does the I-Tri intersect with the rest of the Loomis community and its routines?

Here are some sample programs at Loomis Chaffee that might intersect with a student's time in the I-Tri, and our solutions to these.

Work job

Students will fulfill their work job requirement in the Pearse Hub for Innovation.


Students will keep their advisor for the entire year. During the program, if there are required advisor meetings, students in the I-Tri will attend those meetings.

Convocations, Class Meetings, Family Style Dinner, Clubs

Students will participate in required community events such as convocations, class meetings, and family style dinner. Students can participate in clubs as long as the meeting times do not conflict with the requirements of their I-Tri schedule.


Boarding students who are RAs will remain in their position during the spring term.

Can seniors enrolled in the I-Tri participate in a senior project?

Unfortunately, no. Given the time constraints of the I-Tri and its own culminating projects, seniors in the I-Tri cannot participate in a senior project at the end of spring term. 


Members of the Class of 2020 wishing to be considered for participation in the I-Tri in the Spring term of the 2019-20 school need to submit their application and required signature page no later than Friday, April 26, 2019. 

Application Form 

Signature Page