Teaching students to love and understand the natural world around them is an important part of becoming a global citizen. Having an appreciation of nature helps students gain empathy. They learn that the world is not their's for the taking but a precious gift that must be cared for and protected. In third grade our students spend several weeks every year learning about the diverse ecosystems that make up Louisiana’s environment, from the coastal plains in the north all the way down to the Mississippi river delta. They not only learn about the plants and animals but the importance of weather, climate, soil, and water and how each one affects all of the different ecosystems. They develop a deeper understanding of how every aspect of the environment is interrelated and that a change in just one part can impact the entire system.
We wove the theme of conservation throughout the entire unit. Students learned about fire suppression, invasive species, deforestation, pollution, and endangered species. It is easier to think about conserving places you have seen in person. Many of our students have experiences with forests and swamps but few of them have been to a marsh or fished in the gulf. We know that in- person experiences and hands-on learning "stick" the best. Since we couldn't bring the kids to the shore, we brought the shore to the kids. I set up an in house field trip by bringing a variety of guest experts to Episcopal to give the kids a taste of the gulf coast. With help from an Episcopal family and LSU I was able to set up six stations for them to visit and explore.
Finally Dr. Chris Greene shared some live crawfish with the students from the LSU Aquaculture Research Station. Students got to hold crawfish, find out about how they are adapted to live in the water and mud, and identify males and females by the size and shape of their swimmerets.
The event was a huge success thanks to our community partners' enthusiastic participation. The students learned so much and were extremely disappointed when the event was over. If you have a career or passion that you would love to share with our students please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @betsy_minton on Twitter.
Elizabeth "Betsy" Minton is the Science, Math and Creativity Instigator at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. She enriches instruction by generating interdisciplinary curriculum, spearheading hands-on, project-based learning and supporting faculty in the application of STEM education standards. In addition, she coaches the middle school robotics team and facilitates the middle school MakerSpace. She has over a decade of elementary classroom experience in general and special education with graduate coursework in literacy, special education, and technology integration. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Bates College and was a 2002 Teach for America Corps Member.
A senior boy calmly walked over, inquiring about my paper. Anxiety flooded through every inch of my body, enveloping every vein, artery, and capillary that it could find. Writing has always been a vulnerable process for me. Even as a young, inexperienced writer my fantasies of castles and princesses were ensured with privacy by my hot pink Princess Arial diary that had a fragile lock on the outside. Now there was no lock, nothing keeping this stranger from grasping at my tangible vulnerability. I reluctantly told him I was struggling with the coherency of the paper and my use of transitions from paragraph to paragraph. He contemplated my comments for a moment then asked if I could read the paper out loud. I quickly obliged out of nervousness. I never shared it with anyone besides a teacher, and here I was reading it in front of a person who was six years older than me. I began to read my paper and stumbled over every grammar mistake with great embarrassment. My heart was pounding a mile per second, as I was pleading to any higher power to end this agony. I saw the last paragraph in sight and quickly felt a wave of relief rush through my body. I quickly spat out each word and sentence so the seemingly never-ending embarrassment could finally end.
After enduring a painful five minutes, I was finally done sharing my writing with a stranger. I immediately felt relieved that the process was over. However, my anxiety quickly resumed as I came to the realization that now it was time to receive the harsh feedback this senior was sure to give. His mouth opened, my chest tightened, and words that just sounded like frivolous noises at the time came out of the abyss any human would call a mouth. Vibrations lingered in my ears as it took me longer than usual to decipher the meaning of them. I realized what he said and was astonished. He commended my skills in writing and enjoyed the creativity I displayed through the protagonist, specifically describing it as an unconventional hero’s tale. My anxiety transformed into a kind of serenity that flushed through my entire body. I had never experienced pride and confidence in my writing before. This senior thought my story explored originality and creativity that he had yet to see, and I should, too. I thanked him for his praise and inquired about the weaknesses in my paper. He pointed out exactly where he thought I needed to be stronger. Together, we worked on those weak spots and made the story stronger and more tangible to my audience.
The Episcopal writing center offers a variety of unique aspects that commonly go overlooked within our community. For me it is a safe haven. A place where I can escape from the grueling 8 hour school day. I can comfortably lay back on the navy couch and enjoy a nice warm cup of tea while chatting amongst other writing fellows that also seek the writing center’s refuge. For others, the writing center offers a chance for peers to help peers be better writers, to trade tips and tricks and help our writing community grow stronger. I comically look back now at my first writing center experience and marvel at my skittishness in the place that I now find so calming. I guess I thought that all of the people who are a part of the writing center were these big shot writers who were adept in the faculty of writing. But now I look at myself as a person who is a part of the writing center and know that I am far from obtaining expertise in this dexterous skill. I learn things from my clients just like they learn things from me. Writing fellows are here to help make your writing experience better and encourage writing as more of a hobby than a task. I hope more students will choose to seek out the writing center, whether it is to receive help on a paper or to lay back on that couch that gets exceedingly more comfy while enjoying tea or coffee. It has transformed me from that shy, skittish girl mentioned earlier to an outgoing, friendlier person. I hope other people find as much admiration for that place as I do.
We are excited to celebrate members of the Episcopal Class of 2017 as they make their college enrollment decisions!
Speech from Episcopal Senior, Olivia Parker '17.
Bonjour! Je m’appelle Olivia Parker et je suis la presidente du Club de Français. Je suis une élève en Français V et je suis membre de la Société Honoraire de Français. Je suis allée à une école internationale depuis que j’ai cinq ans.
I went back and forth with Monsieur Prévost about whether I should deliver this speech in English or in French. He wanted me to speak to you in French, but I want you to actually understand what I have to say.
Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his native language, that goes to his heart.” Something I pride myself on is the fact that I am trilingual. I’m fluent in French, Spanish, and obviously English. This is because I attended a full-immersion school from kindergarten to seventh grade. There, I learned everything in another language. I learned to do Algebra in French and write a Lab Report in Spanish. My multilingual background has opened more doors for me than I can count. As a child, I was exposed to dozens of cultures other than my own, and it made me a more globally aware, open-minded, and adaptable person.
In today’s world, we are growing more and more connected as citizens of the Earth. It’s no secret that the demand for bilingualism is on the rise and that being bilingual can be a significant career advantage, but did you know that bilingualism has been shown to slow the detrimental effects of Alzheimer’s disease? Bilinguals have also been proven to have better problem-solving skills than monolinguals, but learning and mastering another language isn’t just about being smarter or getting a better job. It’s about being able to understand the world and its people better. Multilingualism connects the human family, and in today’s world, we need it more than ever. Lack of understanding between racial, ethnic and cultural groups is largely due to communication and language problems.
As inductees of the National French Honor Society, you’re already on track to a more complete and globalized education. My message and encouragement to you is to continue to learn a language, whether it be French or not, for the rest of your life. Don’t stop just because you’ve got all of your foreign language credits. Have you ever heard someone say that they regret learning a language? Do your best to study abroad, learn a new language, experience another culture, bring the world together, and bridge the gap between societies. As the Italian director Federico Fellini said, “A different language is a different vision of life.”
On April 11, Episcopal celebrated its annual Mums of Alums luncheon at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Carmouche.
This annual Parents’ Guild event celebrates the special bonds which are created and nurtured during the time families spend as parents at Episcopal. Head of School, Hugh McIntosh, presented welcoming remarks and shared current highlights and future plans for Episcopal.
The “mums” enjoyed a delicious lunch from Gourmet Girls and chatted about their children’s college lives, engagements, weddings, and grandchildren, among other family milestones.
Our sincerest thanks to Trisha Carmouche for hosting such a delightful event.
On Thursday, April 13th, Episcopal Lower School students welcomed their grandparents and special friends to campus for a very special morning.
Grandparents and special friends began their visit with a reception in Webster Refectory, followed by a student-led assembly in the Chapel. Students in Second, Third and Fourth Grade provided the music. The hallways of Lower School were then abuzz with students showing family and friends their classrooms and school work, the library, music room, gymnasium and art room, among other important places around the campus.
We are grateful to everyone who attended and played a role in making Grandparents and Special Friends’ Day so memorable. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.
Dear Episcopal School of Baton Rouge Community Members,
Last night in the Lewis Memorial Chapel of the Good Shepherd, two things became clear to me:
Mr. Carter Smith, Episcopal’s Director of Choral Activities, conducted our Select Choir (with orchestra accompaniment) in the “Seven Last Words,” a recent composition by Dr. Michael John Trotta, a former student at LSU. The work features seven groups of words from Scripture involved in the Passion of Christ: “Father, Forgive Them” and “My God, Why Have You Abandoned Me?” are among the better-known examples. The four solos were each beautiful. As all The Select Choir voices unified in a moment of crescendo, the presence of the Holy Spirit and Divine inspiration suffused the Chapel. Only the purest truth can unite individuals in such concert and inspire the artistry I witnessed last night.
Contemplating, during that concert, the great and indescribable love God has for us, this verse from the Book of John came to mind. It reminds me, in Jesus’ own words, that this is the least I can do in response to the gifts of love from God:
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. John 13:34.”
Best wishes for a meaningful end to Holy Week and a safe, enjoyable break.
Hugh M. McIntosh
Attending a college fair is an important step in the college search process for many reasons: making connections with college representatives, discovering a new institution, no expensive, long-distance travel. There are other, less obvious, benefits as well: college fairs provide a wonderful opportunity to seek advice about not only a particular institution, but also to learn about actions that can be taken now to better prepare for college.
At Episcopal, our College Counseling program offers many wonderful opportunities for students to have a thorough and positive college search experience – and our annual college fair held on the Episcopal campus is just one of those opportunities. For this event, Episcopal is pleased to collaborate with local high schools and community-based organizations to attract an exciting and diverse group of students present at the fair. At last month’s fair, nearly 50 institutions from across the country were on our campus to meet with students.
Adding a multi-dimensional layer to our annual event, we were pleased to add case studies prior to the fair portion of the afternoon. During case studies, junior students and parents reviewed and discussed applications for three mock candidates who applied for admission to a mock university. The objective, under the guidance of one of the attending college representatives, was to select which of the three candidates to admit, deny, and waitlist. This exercise provided great insights and understandings about the application review process from the college perspective and will help juniors write their own dynamic and impressive applications this coming fall.
At Episcopal, our College Counseling program offers many wonderful opportunities for students to have a thorough and positive college search experience
We are confident every student who attended benefitted from meeting with the representatives from these colleges in the informal atmosphere of our college fair. It was a great afternoon and we, along with our partners, look forward to the 2018 College Fair!
We are excited to celebrate members of the Episcopal Class of 2017 as they make their college enrollment decisions!
“Hi, Welcome to the Gap!” You might have heard that phrase walking into to a Gap store but I want to call your attention to a different kind of Gap, the tuition gap. Please allow me to introduce The eFund. This fund closes the “gap” between what it costs to educate a student and the tuition per student. EVERY year, The eFund silently welcomes EVERY student in the form of tuition. Never heard of The eFund? Well you are in luck, and that is why I am here.
As we draw closer to the end of the year, there are only 29 days of school left and The eFund is currently at 85% of its goal. Why is this important? I am glad you asked. We need your help to ensure that tuition stays affordable. Every year friends, parents, grandparents, alumni and even neighbors donate to The eFund. These donations, large or small, lower tuition for Episcopal students. The eFund lowered or “gapped” tuition by over $1,801 per student this year. Without the gift of The eFund, Episcopal tuition would be higher.
Unlike tuition, all donations to The eFund are fully tax deductible. If you would like more information on The eFund please click here or contact Katie Thompson, Director of Annual Giving and Stewardship, at 225-755-2741. Please consider donating today. You can make your gift online be clicking here or by sending in a check. Easy, right?
LS Parent, Kris Hutchinson