Episcopal students in all divisions are thriving in math. Here are just a few recent examples:
What’s the secret to this success?
“It’s a combination of a lot of things” says Upper School math department chair Stephen Anderson. He points to a coordinated approach to math, highly qualified, caring staff and students with a passion for learning.
Episcopal’s coordinated approach to learning math begins in Lower School where young students are introduced to math fundamentals using Singapore Math. Singapore Math is based on the most proven and effective research on instruction and student learning with problem solving at the heart of the framework. The pedagogy of Singapore Math is concrete to pictorial to abstract. This allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught, learning both the “why” and the “how.” Students develop a strong foundation through this philosophy, enabling them to make sense of their work rather than just memorizing and repeating.
This approach to learning helps students transition well to more advanced concepts in Middle School. Anderson says math faculty coordinate with each other to ensure that students are prepared for the learning ahead of them. At Episcopal, math preparation is personalized with a range of options from appropriately challenging math courses to competitive math teams.
The Middle School MathCounts team is a great avenue for motivated, passionate math students to pursue their interests. This year’s team advanced to the state competition for the first time in many years, earning a second place finish. Team members dedicated countless hours to preparing for competitions, which Anderson says is remarkable. “There were 25 Middle School students doing math on Fridays at 3:30 pm,” he says. Anderson congratulates MathCounts coach James Moroney for his part in making this year’s team successful. He says opportunities like MathCounts and Mu Alpha Theta show the math faculty’s commitment to supporting and serving students and not simply “cranking out a grade.”
Episcopal’s formula for math learning makes math enjoyable for students and faculty. In speaking with Anderson about recent student accomplishments, it’s obvious that he is proud of the students and excited to see their math talents develop. There are also long-term benefits to this type of learning. For example, Anderson says qualifying for AIME is not trivial. “These students are definitely helping themselves, especially if they are looking at STEM schools” for college.
Perhaps what’s even more remarkable than students doing math problems on a Friday after school or students taking college level courses is the fact that these students are multi-dimensional. “You don’t have to just be a math kid,” says Anderson. He points out that at Episcopal students can pursue advanced math, while also exploring art, drama and athletics. Anderson says being able to explore a range of interests is simply “the hallmark of the Episcopal experience.”
Congratulations to our recent math achievers!
“There Are Days”
by Paul Taranto and Jamie Wax
Filmed by Michael Roth
Performed by Emily Knight ‘18 on closing night, two years ago this week, of Episcopal’s production of "Evangeline, the Musical"
Art provides tremendous inspiration in good times and in bad times. Episcopal arts department chair Paige Gagliano provides connection and support during this time of distance learning by reminding us of the classic "Evangeline" song "There Are Days." Read more from Paige below.
We’d like to share the song “There Are Days” from Episcopal’s production of "Evangeline, the Musical." This clip is from Episcopal’s closing night of "Evangeline, the Musical," two years ago this week, on the Episcopal stage and features Emily Knight ‘18. The show was composed by our very own Paul Taranto and written by Jamie Wax. We premiered the original musical at Episcopal in 1998 and this show was a source of hope at a difficult time for members of our Episcopal community.
It is our hope that this song once again unites our Episcopal community through hope and promise.
“I was around when the team breathed life into Evangeline, and I was at the first public performance at Episcopal all those years ago, Evangeline in Concert in Greer. This song, to me, is a song of being connected. It is a song not just of love, but of hope and promise.” Bridget Henderson, Lower School Division Head
“The ending lyric is what speaks to me the most ‘help me find a way to live within those precious days.’ Evangeline needs Gabriel to live through her dark times – she needs the ones she loves. She reminds us that in our dark times we need each other, through virtual communication and support. We cannot and will not let this situation separate us. Together we will find a way to live through these days as a community." Charlie Roth, Junior, Episcopal School of Baton Rouge
Can't get enough of Evangeline? Revisit these blog posts to relive all the magic.
Do you have an inspiring Episcopal memory or moment? Share it in the comments below.
Paige Parsons Gagliano began her career at Episcopal teaching and directing from 1993- 2001 and later returned “home” to Episcopal in the fall of 2013. At Episcopal Paige directs all the theatrical productions, teaches theatre as well as theatre and religion and serves as Director of Performing Arts. Paige is a 2006 Forty Under Forty Honoree by the Baton Rouge Business Report. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Education from Louisiana State University. Paige has 29 years experience in teaching and directing professional, community and educational theatre. She has directed over 50 theatrical productions to critical and commercial acclaim for organizations including LSU, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Baton Rouge Little Theatre, Baker Little Theatre and Playmakers of Baton Rouge. She is the past Executive Director at Theatre Baton Rouge, Development Director for The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and Executive Director of Community Fund for the Arts. Paige is actively involved in the community, having served as the Provisional Chair for the Junior League of Baton Rouge, a member of the LSU English Department's The Shakespeare Project, a board member for Playmakers of Baton Rouge and a featured speaker for the Capital Area United Way. She is married to Technical Director and Lighting Designer Louis Gagliano and they have three children.
“If you don’t understand the past, you’re not going to get the future.” Isabella Ruiz grew up frequently hearing this advice from her grandmother Nilda Maria Aguirre. Now as a sophomore Isabella is a history enthusiast. For the second year in a row, she qualified for the National History Day state competition. This year’s project holds a special meaning for her as she worked with classmates Zykia Howard and Barrow Alexander to document her grandmother’s immigration to the United States from Cuba.
“My grandmother is one of the most inspiring women I know,” says Isabella. Isabella had never watched a documentary before her Upper School history teacher Vincent Hoang encouraged her to transform a classroom assignment into a documentary inspired by her grandmother’s journey. Being open to new projects and full of excitement, Isabella dove right into the effort and thus, “The Expense of Freedom” documentary was born. Early on her classmates volunteered to help and the three students traveled to Hammond to interview Nilda. The trio poured over documents, photographs and treasures that Nilda had kept since arriving in America in 1961. They also sat down to film her as she shared what it was like to leave her homeland at the age of five with one suitcase and her favorite doll.
Isabella and her team ended up with 45 minutes of raw footage. There was the story of young Nilda defending her doll from airport security and the tale of Nilda’s father nearly being pulled from the airplane. Nilda described what it felt like to be in a new country without her extended family and the people she knew. There is also a deep sense of gratitude for the freedom that Nilda and her parents gained. Nilda has always told Isabella that the family didn’t come to America for wealth, but for a better life and the opportunity to embrace the American dream. Part of that dream included education. Nilda is a passionate advocate for education. Isabella says her grandmother often reminds her that education is something that no one can take from you and that while materials may disappear your education sticks with you.
“The Expense of Freedom” documentary is something that will stick with Isabella and her partners Zykia and Barrow for some time. Isabella says it was nice to share the experience with her classmates as the two knew little of the Cuban immigrant experience prior to this. “The experience gave great insight into the struggles of the Cuban people in that era,” says Zykia. “Working on the project gave me a greater appreciation of the things immigrants have to endure to gain the opportunities provided in the United States. By researching information, I’ve learned many new things.”
Projects such as “The Expense of Freedom” documentary are a great example of the hands-on learning and in-depth exploration that occurs at Episcopal. “I am so proud of the excellent work our students did during this project,” says history teacher Hoang. “As one of their many advisors, National History Day embodies the learning process and what we strive to accomplish here at Episcopal. From brainstorming to producing a viable product, the students are able to learn and grow from the entire process. This year was an exceptional year as students produced a wide variety of works - from documentaries to in-depth papers; the breaking boundaries theme provided a vehicle for them to push their creativity to the fullest.”
For Isabella and her family, “The Expense of Freedom” documentary is much more than an assignment. The experience has provided them a meaningful way to preserve the powerful story of a young girl and her family embarking on a journey to freedom. To watch “The Expense of Freedom” click here.
Congratulations to all of the Episcopal Upper School students who recently participated in the History Day event at the West Baton Rouge Museum.
Senior Research Paper
1st place - Muskaan Mahes
2nd place - Tanya Mencer
3rd place - Emily Lynch
4th place - Zoe Marceaux
Senior Individual Documentary
1st place - Fox Garon
Senior Group Documentary
1st place - Isabella Ruiz, Zykia Howard, and Barrow Alexander
1st place - Carter McLean
2nd place - Muskaan Mahes
Semifinalists - Fox Garon, Emily Lynch, Zoe Marceaux
Additional participants: Ruby Friloux and Ellie Williams
Transitioning to online learning can present some challenges for everyone. What will be critical early on is setting up a routine, and making adjustments as needed. Coordinate with peers and adults you trust to get ideas for what is working for them.
Strategies to consider:
Apps That Act Like Math and Science Tutors for Homework Help
Free Educational Apps, Games, and Websites
Top Time-Management Apps
As mentioned above, having a daily schedule will be extremely helpful. Remember, that your school day always includes recess/break, lunch, and often P. E. Here is a sample schedule below that can be a guide:
Our counseling team is here to support you during these times. Please email your division counselor, or Robin Talamo (LSS Coordinator) if we can be of assistance.
Robin Talamo, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who has been practicing for over twenty years. She has served as the Episcopal Learning Support Services Coordinator since 2012. With the assistance of the other counselors, she guides the three divisions with support for students with various learning differences. She leads such groups as Parents U-Knighted, the OYES program, and other important campus support activities.
Episcopal second graders completed their study of continents and countries with a travel agency expo in the Greer Center. During the event, students shared everything they learned with family and friends.
Throughout the project-based learning unit, students “visited” places from England to Antarctica. They learned traditional African dance steps and flamenco and salsa twirls. Using virtual reality goggles, they even dove right into the Great Barrier Reef. All of this without leaving Woodland Ridge Boulevard!
Currently, many of us are using our imagination and creativity to travel and explore. Share how you and your students are exploring in the comment section below.
Here is a look at Lower School fun in the great outdoors. Happy spring break!
Good Luck in PreK-4
PreK-4 students tried their luck at finding four leaf clovers in the garden. Others made a wish on a dandelion.
It's a Zoo Out There!
Kindergarten students and their families enjoyed a beautiful spring day at the Baton Rouge Zoo.
First graders took a nature walk to nearby Forest Park. The young explorers identified animals that live in the park and wrote down their observations upon their return to school.
The Cycle Begins Again
Third graders teamed up with Upper School environmental science students to plant cypress seeds for the LSU Coastal Roots project. Next school year, the budding trees will be taken to a wetland area for planting.
“This building comes from love. Love of the experience people have had at Episcopal over 50 years.” That was the statement from Episcopal Head of School Hugh McIntosh at the Field House ribbon cutting. McIntosh was joined by the Episcopal student body, alumni, athletic supporters and donors in the historic occasion that marked the opening of the first new athletic facility on campus since the ‘80s.
In May of 2018, members of the Episcopal community gathered for the groundbreaking of this new facility which boasts more than 22,000 square feet of space for weight training, cardio training, individual sport locker rooms, coaching offices and collaboration spaces, conference rooms, classrooms, a concession stand and a sports medicine space. Since the summer of ’18, the community has watched in excitement and anticipation as the building progressed.
Ribbon cutting day had a pep rally feel, complete with the Episcopal cheerleaders, dance ensemble and members of the school’s drum corps. Cross country state champion James Christian '20 represented current Episcopal athletes on the stage. He was joined by Adele Broussard ’19 and Van Hiles ’93, who represented alumni athletes. PreK-4 student Isaiah Ricard was also on hand to represent the future of Episcopal athletics.
That future is certainly bright. Field House Lead Donor Todd Graves ’90 congratulated McIntosh on the “bold, challenging and fantastic vision” he had to make the Field House, the Academic Commons and Chapel renovations a reality. Field House Lead Donor Gwen Graves ’88 reminded the Episcopal community that the Field House is for everyone and is a great representation of Episcopal’s whole child philosophy. The two were also pleased that the facility will provide coaching staff the space they need to continue making a difference in the lives of students.
The Episcopal coaching staff, led by Athletic Director Randy Richard, were all smiles as the ribbon was cut. The building will allow them to encourage a focus on health and wellness among Episcopal students of all ages. As Reverend Skully Knight said in his introduction and blessing, the Field House truly is for everyone in every division.
The Field House ribbon cutting does not mark the end of the Spirit • Mind • Body effort at Episcopal. Numerous opportunities to be a part of the campaign remain and can be found here. Episcopal has certainly come a long way since the time 50+ years ago when ten families had a vision for a new, independent school option in Baton Rouge. It will be exciting to see where the next 50 years take us.
Thank you to everyone who made the Field House possible, including members of our Field House Giving Circles. A special thank you to Episcopal Director of Operations John Kojis, Cangelosi Ward General Contractors and Grace Hebert Curtis Architects.
The Mardi Gras break was anything but a break for many Episcopal athletes. Catch up with the latest Knights winter sports action.
Indoor Track and Field
The Knights indoor track and field teams were impressive at the recent state meet. The boys squad won their fifth consecutive state championship with multiple podium finishes. In addition, the girls finished third with sophomore Francie Oliver winning the triple jump and numerous podium finishes.
Francie Oliver - triple jump state champion
Paris Auzenne – 2nd place in the 400-meter run
4x400 meter relay – 2nd place, including Paris Auzenne, Tanya Mencer, Chloe Carmouche and Francie Oliver
2A State Champions
4X800 meter relay – 1st place, including Tucker Harrell, Logan LeBlanc, Gautam Mahes and Joe Patterson
4x200 meter relay - 5th place
Senior James Christian - 2nd in the 1600-meter run, 3rd in the 800-meter run and 4th in the 3200-meter run
Senior Joe Patterson - 4th place in the 800-meter run
Ethan Hook and Dryden Duggins - 2nd and 5th respectively in the 60-meter hurdles
Alex Hollier - 7th in the 3200-meter run
4x400 relay – 3rd place, including Thomas D’Armond, Austin Sybrandt, Ethan Hook and Joe Patterson
Oliver Jack - 3rd in the boys shot put
Dylan Mehrotra - 6th in the boys triple jump and tied for 4th in the high jump
Clayton Braud - 7th in the boys triple jump and 10th in the boys long jump
Congratulations to the girls soccer team who advanced to the state semifinal match and finished the season as the district champs. The team was the third seed going into the playoffs, earning them a first round bye then racking up home match wins versus Menard and Catholic New Iberia.
After earning a district title and entering the playoffs as the top ranked team, the Episcopal boys team rushed through the first rounds of the state playoffs, outscoring opponents 8-3. The team made it to the state championship game in Hammond and finished as the state runner-up. Congratulations on a great season!
The girls basketball squad had a successful season, advancing to the semifinal round before losing a tough game on the road. The team finished the season as the 8-2A district champs. They were also named the 94.1 High School Team of the Week. In addition, sophomore Izzy Besselman was named a Louisiana Girls Rankings Player of the Week for her performance against Catholic of New Iberia where she put up 29 points and made 10 rebounds and three blocks. Congratulations, Izzy!
The boys basketball team earned a big regional round playoff win against Northlake Christian on Friday. The team now prepares for the quarterfinal round of the playoffs against Lafayette Christian in Lafayette Tuesday night. The winner moves on to the semifinal round for the opportunity to continue toward a state title. The boys have had a great season so far. Senior DJ Morgan was selected to the 2020 All-Star Basketball team and Coach Chris Beckman was selected as a member of the coaching staff for the 2020 All-Star Basketball game.
The Knights wrestling team had an exciting season, competing at the metro tournament and the state wrestling tournament.
Speaking with Episcopal’s own Micheal Posey makes you yearn to live your dreams to learn new languages and experience the world. He makes linguistics sound adventurous, and like a secret portal to new cultures and ways of life. He can communicate to varying degrees in nine languages. Ni hao. Buenos dias. Hellorr!
He’s a passport-stamping world traveler, a would-be scuba diver and has completed a FULL-marathon. But did you know he was once on a TV game show or that he owned an egg roll restaurant inspired by his mother’s recipes?
It’s really no surprise to those who know him that Micheal is an avid learner and traveler. He says his mom tells him he was always adventurous. There are stories of a young Micheal running up and down the aisles of an airplane. As a child he also proudly accepted a set of wings from a co-pilot. As an adult, he has challenged himself to visit all Spanish-speaking countries. So far, he has traveled to approximately 18. He’s challenged himself to visit all 50 states. He’s already checked 46 off of his list. He’s hiked the ancient city of Machu Picchu in Peru. He’s perfectly balanced an egg on its end on the equator in Ecuador. He’s stood before the Eiffel Tower in wonder. “Once you see Paris, it’s hard to go back,” he says.
Like any explorer, Micheal knows that travel requires flexibility and quick reactions. He has certainly experienced his share of comical mishaps. He has been content and relaxed on a flight only to have that shattered as the flight crew announces the descent into a completely different airport. Rerouted flight? Emergency landing? No, Micheal had simply boarded the wrong plane and traveled to the wrong destination! However, he took it in stride and the mistake simply meant an unexpected night in an unplanned location. When learning to scuba dive in Mexico, his tank ran out of oxygen. This born communicator and language aficionado struggled with not having words to express his need for air. He didn’t panic, and he was able to tap into the dive instructor’s tank and eventually surface safely.
Micheal’s openness to adventure has also made it possible for unexpected rewards. Thinking quickly once earned him a trip to Hawaii and San Francisco after appearing on the TV show “Let’s Make a Deal.” Imagine Micheal dressed in a physician costume with his friend by his side dressed as a nurse. To his shock and surprise, Micheal was singled out from the audience to answer a question about the proximity of two destinations. He answered correctly and both trips were his!
In addition to being a traveler, Micheal is also a foodie. In fact, he was a restaurateur at one point in his life. Inspired by their mother’s cooking, Micheal and his brother opened an egg roll shop in Richmond, Virginia. Mae Khan Egg Rolls featured unique creations such as the TexMex or Philly cheesesteak egg roll. Micheal’s love of food is a perfect complement to his love of travel. As he logs the miles, he is always open to trying local delicacies, whether it’s snails in France, alpaca in Peru, corn fungus in Mexico or even crickets and grasshoppers. “An open mind means an open palette,” he says.
“Learning takes me from adventure to adventure,” says Micheal. “I know a little about a lot of things.” One of Micheal’s favorite topics to explore is language. As he learns terms and phrases, he often tries to determine how the same meaning would be expressed in another language. For example, he notices that the nuisance of referring to a simple chair in either a male or female form has meaning in some languages. He ponders the implications of languages such as Vietnamese being devoid of subjunctives. He also enjoys learning the latest teenage expressions and their unexpected meanings. Being an Upper School teacher allows him to stay current and in touch with student references. “I can relate to students through it,” he says. “It keeps me young. I like to share a lot, but I learn from my students.” Micheal loves teaching. He encourages an open and relaxed classroom environment in which ideas are shared and thoughts converge. “I’m not trying to teach you what you can find through a quick Google search,” he says. “We’re here to learn and we’ll do it in a friendly environment that provokes thought and we’ll see where it goes.”
With all of this, Micheal still finds ample time for professional development. He has attended three National Endowment of the Humanities Institutes and was awarded a teaching grant from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. He has even explored cybersecurity and earned a Google Educator Certification (Level 2). He serves as the long-time editor of PRIMA, a newsletter distributed by the American Classical League and has leadership roles with state and national classical and foreign language teachers’ organizations.
If there was an Indiana Jones of philology, Micheal Posey would be it, even if he doesn’t think of himself that way. “I’m usually boring,” he says with a grin. “My superpower is teaching.” What better way for students to learn a new language than from someone who finds language so alive and inspiring? Micheal’s global treks allow him to fully experience the world and bring those lessons back to the classroom. We are glad he is sharing his superpower with us.
The program description on LSU’s website reads, “Wanted: GIRLS who are problem solvers, explorers and hidden gem seekers.” Episcopal Lower School students Lila Awad, Lilianna Latour and Julia Whitney answered the call. The trio recently spent a day at the LSU Museum of Natural Science with girls from across the area and some of LSU’s leading women scientists. From the smiles on their faces as they discuss the experience, it is apparent that the day made an impression on these future scientists.
The two fourth graders and one fifth grader love science. In fact, they are already hoping to have successful science careers of their own. Lila dreams of being a science teacher, Lilianna plans to be a neurologist and Julia wants to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. After spending a day among female mathematicians, zoologists and biochemists, the girls are inspired to make their dreams come true. “I got to see how women scientists make a difference,” says Lilianna. She says it was a great opportunity because it made participants see how important science is to exploring the world.
In the meantime, the students simply had fun with science during this special day. Lila reported that her favorite part of the visit was seeing the “biggest frog.” Talk of the giant amphibian sparked a conversation among the students about the organs and skeleton of the frog. The students’ eyes and faces light up as they talk about touching the taxidermy sloth and river otter. In addition to the animals, there was also the rocket launch. This was Lilianna’s favorite part of the day, especially when her rocket traveled 35 ½ feet.
The students unanimously report that they would participate in the museum day again if given the chance. The 32 museum day participants were chosen based on an essay application in which they had to write about the question they would like to answer as a scientist or mathematician. Julia hopes everyone will apply next application period. All three agree that writing an essay was certainly worth having the experience.
The science teachers also hope that more students will be inspired to apply next year. “This is a great opportunity for girls to get hands-on science experience outside of the classroom,” says fourth grade teacher Ros Won. “In our fourth grade classes we explore topics such as electricity and landforms, but when students can participate in science programs off-campus, they can see how the things we learn at Episcopal can be applied in the real world.”
Fifth grade teacher Nicole Engstrom sees experiences like this as an extension of the classroom. “One of our roles as teachers is to give space and encourage our students to take risks, explore, reflect and find their passion(s),” she says. “The best way to do that is by exposing our students to as many opportunities as possible without limits- breaking stereotypes. It's our job to empower all students to find what best fits them.”
Both teachers appreciate the resources available through LSU and the opportunities the university offers to a range of students. They are also looking forward to using the new QUEST Center next year to offer hands-on experiences for students right here on Episcopal’s campus.
Whether it is a day at the museum or an in-depth project-based learning experience, Episcopal students are exploring their world in preparation for their futures. Students are encouraged to think beyond the ordinary and strive for their goals whatever they may be. Their futures certainly are bright!
Was there a moment or experience that inspired your current career choice? Share your story below in the comments section.