While the fall means “Back to School” for many families, some of you are also beginning to think about the next school year as you prepare to take the next step of enrolling your young child in a preschool program. While a child’s age and birthdate are important factors to consider, these are not absolute benchmarks in determining a child’s readiness to begin school. Being prepared for preschool has more to do with where your child is developmentally. Is he/she socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively ready to participate in a daily, structured, educational program with a group of other children? Ask yourself these questions as you consider if your child is fully equipped with the set of skills they need to have a successful preschool experience.
Is your child fairly independent?
Preschool requires children to have certain basic skills. Most schools will require your child to be fully potty-trained when they start school. Also, begin practicing tasks that require fine motor strength, such as zipping and buttoning pants, zipping up backpacks and hanging them on a hook, rolling up a nap mat, pulling a sweater on an off, hand washing, and eating independently using napkins and utensils. Practicing these skills at home will make your child’s start to school less frustrating and help them build fine motor skills that will help them later as they learn to cut and write.
Can your child participate in group activities?
Many activities in preschool require students to sit in a group setting for a period of time. Is your child able to sit and listen to a story? Do they take turns and listen when others are speaking? If your child isn't used to group activities, you can start introducing them yourself. Take him/her to story time at your local library, or sign them up for a recreational activity such as dance or soccer to help your child get used to playing with other children.
Does your child have good communication skills?
In preschool, it is important for your child to be able to communicate their needs to their teachers and peers. At home, you may find it easy to step in and give your child what he/she needs before they even ask. At school, your child will be around adults who may not know your child as well as you do. It is important to have your child practice these critical communication skills before they start school. For example, if your child hands you a milk carton, have them practice asking, “Could you please help me open my milk?” Role play with your child and give them scenarios that they might encounter at school. How would your child handle a situation where another child wasn’t sharing? Often, children with poor communication skills will revert to hitting or grabbing toys from other students. By practicing these conflicts ahead of time, students will be armed with the skills and language necessary to problem-solve with their peers.
Is your child used to keeping a regular schedule?
Preschool programs follow a predictable schedule. There are times set aside for play, eating, and even resting. There's a good reason for this. Children tend to feel most comfortable and in control when the same things happen at the same time each day. Students who do not follow a schedule at home will often have trouble during transitional times between activities at school. Help your child prepare for their school routine by adhering to a schedule at home. Plan meals at determined times and have predictable activities throughout the day. Set a bedtime routine (bath, brush teeth, story time, lights out). Giving your child structure at home will help them adjust to a school schedule.
The best way to decide if your child is ready to begin preschool is to spend time thinking about your child and to talk to other people who know him/her well, such as your partner, your pediatrician, or others who spend a lot of time with your child. While there is no checklist to give a quantitative score of readiness, there are many ways you can work with your child at home to make their transition into school as smooth as possible.
Are you ready to apply?
If you have considered the above questions and determined that your child is prepared to begin the next phase in their educational journey, we are ready to help you navigate the school admissions process. Visit https://www.episcopalbr.org/admission.html to schedule a tour of our campus, view the 2020-2021 application, or get in contact with a member of our Admissions team.
Julie Mendes, a 2001 graduate of Episcopal, returned to teach Pre-K4 at her alma mater in 2012. She received both her undergraduate degree and MEd in elementary education at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. After teaching second grade in a Dual Language program in Texas public schools for three years, Julie moved abroad to teach first grade at a bilingual school in Gracias, Lempira Honduras. Julie enjoys teaching alongside some of her former teachers and seeing what life is like on the other side of the desk.
Greetings from Episcopal. The holiday season is a magical time at Episcopal. The campus is a buzz with Christmas parties, musical concerts and spiritual reflection. Students are busy completing assignments before they embark on a much earned two week break and faculty are working to finish the first semester on a high note.
We know that admission deadlines get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season; we’ve therefore listed a few important Episcopal admission deadlines below. While our offices will be closed December 22nd through January 6th, the online application is available at any time and we look forward to answering any of your questions when we return on January 7th.
May your home be filled with joy, love and peace during this holiday season.
course selection and college applications. More than one fourth of our 3rd through 12th graders are featured in one of two annual theater performances each year. The list goes on.
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Aristotle
Other parents want more qualitative measures of success. While these can be a bit harder to quantify, the school’s commitment to instilling strong moral values in each student is probably top of the list. This is accomplished by staying true to Episcopal’s mission and ministry of preparing students for lives of purpose. This starts in Lower School with daily morning meetings celebrating faith and community and deepens in Middle and Upper School as students learn to make connections between academics, spiritual life and service, and the world around them.
Parents rely on this type of information to establish Episcopal’s credibility and value. And while achievement-based statistics are certainly important, we believe experiences play an equal, if not greater, role in measuring “the best.” Deeper than knowing Episcopal will provide their child a firm and lasting academic foundation, parents want to know we will tend to their child’s heart and mind. They want their child to be known, to be challenged, to be celebrated and to be encouraged.
How then should you, as a parent, measure the success and impact of our mission and ministry? By experience, of course! Experience Episcopal’s joy; come delight in our campus and get a general sense of the happiness your child will feel at Episcopal. Read through our blog and see the school come to life through photos and stories of the creative ways we learn and grow. It is our stories that bring our statistics to life and illustrate what makes us the best.
Narrowing the list of schools you are interested in applying to for your child can be an overwhelming task. Once you have completed your research, contacted each school’s Admission Office and completed the campus tour, you are faced with the next task: completing each school’s admission application process. Not to worry - here at Episcopal, admission staff members are only a phone call or email away and stand ready to walk alongside you throughout the application process.
Each year prospective parents ask a myriad of questions related to their child’s consideration for admission. Primarily questions relate to their child’s school visit to the school: what can we expect and what should we do to prepare our child? Regardless of the age or grade of your child, there is a shared purpose of his or her admission visit: this on-campus experience is intended to help us get to better know your child while giving you and your child the opportunity to get to know us better.
Below you will find specific details related to the Episcopal campus visit along with general admission visit tips. To help your child prepare for his or her time on campus, we invite you to share as much - or as little - of the information as you see fit. You know your child best, so follow your parental instinct as you help prepare your child for the visit.
A few general tips for your child's school admission visit:
What can your child expect during his or her Episcopal admission visit? See below our summary of the applicant visit process for prospective students:
PreK-3, PreK-4 and Kindergarten Screenings
1st through 5th Grade Screenings
Admission Testing Grades 6-12
Shadow Day Grades 6-12
To learn more about the Episcopal admissions process, contact a member of our Admission Team.
Whether you have been a member of the Episcopal community for generations or your family has just begun the education journey here, you likely already know the benefits of an Episcopal education: small class sizes, a commitment to academics, arts, athletics and service, and a vibrant, inviting community.
Pick up a magazine or newspaper and you will likely see an ad for a school open house or tour now that fall admission season is underway. Episcopal is once again launching the Test Drive Tuesday events to share the spirit and passion of the community with families and students considering the school. However, Test Drive Tuesday is not your average open house. The events are intentionally kept small so that they can be personalized to the interests of those in attendance. Test Drive Tuesday is a two-hour event that offers families a tour of campus, which is conducted in tandem with admission team members and Episcopal students. After the tour, families have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss details with key faculty and staff.
Admission Director Elena McPeak says Test Drive Tuesday feedback has been quite positive. One reason for the program’s success is the involvement of Episcopal students. Student Ambassadors are present to provide honest, unscripted testimonials regarding their school experience. McPeak says the ambassadors truly get to the heart of why Episcopal is a great place to learn, grow and achieve.
In addition to providing Test Drive tours, Student Ambassadors and Middle School Peer Leaders also conduct shadow days for prospective students. It can be intimidating to explore a new school and a shadow day goes a long way toward making the entire process more manageable. “Students who shadow at Episcopal fall in love with the school and the community,” says McPeak. “There is nothing quite like experiencing firsthand what it is like to be a student here. Visitors are always impressed and excited to discover the opportunities for learning and growth available on our campus.”
Think back to what made you and your family fall in love with Episcopal. Whether it was the personalized learning path, the opportunity to compete on the field and perform in the theater or feeling the support and care of an entire community, there was something that made you feel at home on Woodland Ridge. McPeak and her team hope that you will share that passion with others and invite them to a Test Drive Tuesday or encourage them to consider the Episcopal experience.
The 2019-2020 application is now live on episcopalbr.org. Test Drive Tuesday events are also underway. To learn more about both, click here.
A Year in Reflection
Eli Haymon, Student Council President
"Ever since I was a freshman, I knew I wanted to be president. I remember watching Charles Cooper from all the way up in the back row with the rest of Mrs. Sofranko’s advisory and telling myself “I want to be up there one day, making stuff happen.”
And now, a year after that dream had finally been realized, I cannot imagine a better group of people to have the privilege of leading.
This past week I've been reflecting on the last nine months, and I just want to say how proud I am of us and how far we've come in this short time together.
I'll quote the Episcopal mission statement - “Episcopal nurtures and develops the whole child -- spiritually, intellectually, morally, physically and artistically…”
Looking out at all of you now, I see a room full of remarkable individuals who are testimonies of that mission. We have some truly outstanding characters among us who will change the world one day soon.
And though our individuality makes us strong, I think one of the defining characteristics of this place, and the one thing that makes me proudest to be a Knight, is the community that we strive to build here each and every day.
This year I have seen what a group of people can do when its members share an unconditional love for each other.
When we have 200 strong driving to New Orleans on a Tuesday night for a soccer game- that's community. When we spend a whole day listening to and interacting with our thesis students, sharing new ideas with each other- that's community. When we drop everything we’re doing to go rip out a stranger’s floorboards because they had four feet of water and hadn't slept in three days- that's a community that I want to be a part of." - Eli Haymon
What Eli captured, for me, is the essence of “life at Episcopal.” Our students wholeheartedly embrace and challenge one another. They engage in research through programs like project based learning in PreK-4 and Honors Thesis in Upper School. They help lead Chapel through our Student Vestry and they seek opportunities to serve their community. They work alongside their peers on our courts and fields and they take center stage in musical and dance performances. Each aspect of our mission is important, and our students are the stories that bring the Episcopal mission to life. Yes, this is a community I want to be part of.
Statistics and Stories: Measuring “The Best”
Cars. Healthcare. Cities. Sports teams. Doctors. Electronics. Vacation destinations. Schools. We live in a culture that wants “the best.” While Webster tells us to be best is to “excelling all others,” it invites two subjective and rather personal questions: what is “best” to you, and to what are you making the comparison?
While hosting a coffee for prospective families last month, one parent said, “I know Episcopal has a reputation for being the best school in Baton Rouge, but what makes it the best?” Specifically, she wanted numbers to support this label of superiority. It’s a question I enjoy answering – certainly there are many statistics available to affirm our reputation: 100% of our graduates are college-bound. Our average student to faculty ratio is 13:1. We offer 21 AP courses. Our Athletic Program boasts 112 state championship titles across 14 sports. 77% of our faculty hold advanced degrees. More than one fourth of our 3rd through 12th graders are featured in one of two annual theater performances each year. Our average ACT score is 27. The list goes on.
But in considering how we stack up against the competition, our tape measure stretches far beyond Baton Rouge. While we certainly strive to be among Baton Rouge’s best in education, what truly determines our success is how well-prepared our students are for life beyond Episcopal. Each year our graduating seniors go on to compete for college placement against millions of other college-bound students worldwide. Our goal is to make each Episcopal graduate competitive among his or her peers. Our College Counseling staff begin working with students as early as 8th grade to initiate our thoughtful approach to college preparedness. Each year they continue to raise the bar, welcoming more and more college recruiters to campus and connecting Episcopal students to schools and scholarships across the country.
Parents rely on this type of information to establish Episcopal’s credibility and value. And while achievement-based statistics are certainly important, we believe experiences play an equal if not greater role in measuring “the best.” Deeper than knowing Episcopal will provide their child a firm and lasting academic foundation, parents want to know we will tend to their child’s heart and mind. They want their child to be known, to be challenged, to be celebrated and to be encouraged. It is our stories that bring our statistics to life.
How then should you as a parent measure the success and impact of our mission and ministry? By experience, of course! Arguably, there are few environments that provide more joy than schools. I find delight each day in walking our campus and receiving hugs and high-fives from our youngest to our oldest students. But beyond the general sense of happiness you will feel at Episcopal, I believe you will be moved by the teaching and learning you witness here. Join us. Tour campus. Meet our students and faculty. We look forward to answering your questions and sharing our stories as you determine if we are the best school for your child.
The Admission Office will be hosting Open House events in November and campus tours weekly. For more information on experiencing Episcopal, visit our website.
Amanda joined the Episcopal team in 2014 as the Director of Enrollment. Prior to relocating back home to Baton Rouge, she served as Director of Admission at St. Mark’s Episcopal School in Houston, Texas. Amanda earned a BA in Mass Communication from LSU where she later spent five years working to support the University’s scholarship and recruitment efforts. As the Director of Enrollment, Amanda leads all facets of enrollment management including prospective family communication, admission and retention efforts.