Mu Alpha Theta has had a busy month. On Saturday, November 9th we hosted our tournament that included 330 students from 21 schools. We had approximately 60 of our club members contribute to the tournament either with preparing materials ahead of time, setting up testing locations, running competitions, or presenting awards. We will be making a $500 contribution to the Food Bank with part of the proceeds from the tournament. Read about the Middle School team's results here.
In addition, on Saturday, November 16th we placed 2nd overall at the Ben Franklin Mu Alpha Theta tournament in New Orleans. Results of that tournament are below.
1st Joie Lee
2nd Lauren McGrath
1st Justin Dynes
2nd Arya Patel
Honorable Mention Gregory Field
1st Algebra 2 Math Bowl – Thomas O’Connor, Akshay Basireddy, Sacha Dernoncourt, and Scott McAdams
1st Pre-Calculus Math Bowl – Eugene Jiang, Joy Lee, and Aadit Narayanan
2nd Calculus Math Bowl – Matthew Bickham, Gregory Field, Ryan Field, and Justin Dynes
2nd Geometry Team – Joie Lee and Ayush Patel
3rd Algebra 2 Team – Analise Hyde, Ella Harper, and Joey Roth
1st Calculus Team – Elaine Gboloo, Adam Reid, and Shuhei Niwano
Joan Moroney began teaching in 2007. She has taught Honors Geometry, Algebra II, and Honors Algebra II at Episcopal and is a co-sponsor of the Mu Alpha Theta math competition team. Before coming to Episcopal in 2014, Joan taught high school credit math courses to gifted students at Glasgow Middle School in Baton Rouge. She has a Bachelor of Science in secondary mathematics education from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in education from Louisiana State University in gifted education.
Students of all ages at Episcopal experience the value of getting involved in serving our community. They have a plethora of service options to choose from and, throughout the year, are typically involved in supporting a good cause. One area that seems to capture their attention, especially during this time of year when the temperatures are dropping, and the holiday season is approaching….is the shortage of food.
This month, students are helping to stop hunger by increasing community awareness of food needs in North Baton Rouge at the Hunger Walk 2019 and by stocking up the Shepherds Market, which serves South Baton Rouge.
Led by current and prospective National Honor Society members, the Shepherd’s Market Thanksgiving Food Drive offers all students an opportunity to experience serving others. Savannah York, the school’s NHS Vice President, shared the value of the program at each division’s assembly stating, that the Shepherd’s Market has helped over 2,700 families in South Baton Rouge, distributing approximately 23,000 pounds of food each month.
“I have participated in the Shepard’s Market Food Pantry Service activities for four years now, and the generosity of Episcopal students never ceases to surprise me," says Savannah. “Several years ago, Episcopal donated 4,600 pounds of food. Last year, less than 2,000 pounds of food were donated. This year I hope we over-achieve and set a new record!”
Theresa Sandifer, Director of the Shepherd’s Market Food Pantry, educated the Upper School during Thursday’s assembly. “One out of every four children go to bed hungry at night in Louisiana,” she said. “Nationally, the hunger rate among children is one out of every five.” When asked what foods were needed, Sandifer stated, “red beans, cereals, pasta of any kind, peanut butter, canned fruit, canned meat, and anything that would help families prepare their Thanksgiving meal.”
Next week, the NHS members will be at the morning carpool available to assist the Lower School students with carrying their food donations. Lower School students can bring breakfast foods, Middle Schoolers can bring lunch foods and Upper School can bring dinner foods. Click here to see the list of high-demand items.
“‘Shepherd’s Market is unique,” says Savannah. “Everyone is welcome to 'shop' from the pantry, choosing the items that best fit the needs and preferences of their family. This service project is one of the best opportunities for Episcopal students to give back to their community and become actively involved in making a difference for those who aren’t always granted the same opportunities that we are so often gifted to enjoy.”
Students will deliver and sort the collected groceries and supplies at the Shepherd’s Market on Saturday, November 23. They will also help clients shop at the Shepherd’s Market on Tuesday, November 26.
In addition to the two mile Hunger Walk to raise money on Sunday, November 10, Episcopal students manned the various activity tables to increase awareness on the hunger needs in the East Baton Rouge (EBR) community.
Senior Megan Nguyen was assigned to the map table and says this, “My task was to have people map their nearby grocery store. They quickly saw their easy access to fresh produce and healthy food options found in supermarkets. I was glad to help raise awareness of the ‘food deserts’ in North Baton Rouge. Food deserts are areas in Baton Rouge where people do not have nearby access to a supermarket or large grocery store and can't easily find fresh produce.”
Sophomore, Shuhei Niwano received a long list of names who had received a free-hot meal served Monday thru Friday at Cadillac Park in the Zion City neighborhood (North Baton Rouge) in 2019. “I helped people write signs to put on their backs for the walk. They could pick a name from the list or write the name of someone they knew that had experienced financial need and lack of food. The sign said 'I walk for __' and the person they were walking for. I -- and everyone that visited my booth -- were very surprised at the number of names that were on the list.”
“My station provided people with the task of designing a full day of meals to feed a family of 4 for only $23. I thought this was going to be easy when I did it, but then I realized how little $23 is. Everyone that visited my table realized the challenge to make healthy and balanced meals with only $23,” said Senior Ryan Field about his experience at the Hunger Walk.
Nancy Reynolds spent 16 years with the IBM Corporation in Dallas as a quality process analyst and service delivery manager. She graduated with her MBA in strategic leadership and her Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. Nancy, a native of Texas, began her career in education after moving to Louisiana and completing the state’s alternate certification program at Louisiana State University. She spent the next five years working at Parkview Baptist School. In 2010, Nancy joined the Episcopal team as Registrar and Website Content Manager. Today, Nancy continues her role as Registrar and also serves as Systems Administrator. As Registrar, she is responsible for scheduling, student enrollments and student records for the three divisions. As Systems Administrator, Nancy ensures the various systems vital to the school’s operations are running effectively e.g., PowerSchool, Canvas, Swiftreach, SchoolAdmin, and DirectorySpot. Nancy has three children. She is an avid social media user which allows her to remain connected with her eleven siblings. Nancy also serves as Fundraiser Chair for the Boys Scouts of America Troop 205.
When Newsweek released its list of the Top 500 STEM High Schools in America last week, one school in the Baton Rouge region was in the top 500 – Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. The school was ranked the number one STEM high school in Baton Rouge. Episcopal also ranks seventh in the state of Louisiana and 448th nationally.
Many people know Episcopal for its rigorous academic offerings, its abundant arts programs, the opportunities provided to compete as part of a sports team or the range of character development and service learning activities. Now the school has earned national recognition for its science, technology, engineering and math offerings. For Episcopal Dean of Academics Dr. Sara Fenske, earning a spot in the top 500 is a testament to the school’s whole child philosophy of education.
STEM Starts Early
Dr. Fenske says Episcopal’s STEM efforts begin well before students enter Upper School. “Our Lower and Middle School efforts feed into what happens in Upper School,” she says. She points to successful programs such as Girls Who Code, Fab Shop and Maker Space. Even the littlest Knights have the opportunity for STEM learning as they work with technology such as Bee Bots, Bloxels and Root robots. “These programs help to make STEM more accessible to students,” says Dr. Fenske. She says the Lower and Middle School offerings make STEM learning fun and attract more students to the field. Hopefully, such experiences will inspire students to continue pursuing their interest in STEM throughout their educational journey.
Personalized Learning Encourages Exploration
Dr. Fenske says Episcopal’s personalized approach to learning also creates a STEM-friendly learning environment. “Students who are ready can accelerate in math and science in Middle School to ensure that they are challenged appropriately,” she says. At the same time, other students who are not yet ready to accelerate in Middle School have a range of challenging courses from which to choose. This allows all students the opportunity to explore a variety of STEM topics and see success in those courses. They then have opportunities to take college-level courses such as AP Calculus BC, AP Physics, AP Environmental Science, and AP Computer Science, as well as a selection of post-AP courses.
There is a balance to providing a variety of courses which appeal to a broad audience of students. When you get this balance right, students are able to excel in numerous areas because of the encouragement and support they receive. This explains why at Episcopal a student can perform with the Upper School select choir, be a member of the swim team and take advanced math and science courses all in the same school year.
ESTAAR and More
“Any mention of Episcopal and STEM must include a mention of the ESTAAR program,” says Dr. Fenske. “We are placing high school students into university labs to do independent research. It doesn’t get more authentically STEM than that.” ESTAAR or Episcopal Students Take Action in Advanced Research began during the 2012/2013 school year. Interested students are partnered with a university professor and have the opportunity for hands-on lab work. Dr. Fenske says ESTAAR students are not necessarily the “math and science” type. They are students who self-select the course because of a love of STEM. In addition to ESTAAR, Episcopal also offers students extracurricular STEM opportunities such as Mu Alpha Theta in Upper School and Math Counts in Middle School. (Last weekend, the Middle School team took third place in the high school tournament! Read more from James Moroney here.) Both competitive math programs attract a range of students from cheerleaders and soloists to athletes and actors. The Episcopal Fab Shop also provides hands-on STEM learning experiences which appeal to a range of students.
Episcopal continues to find ways to support STEM learning. In 2018, school leaders celebrated the opening of the 27,000 square foot Academic Commons, a building that now serves as the hub for Upper School math and science. Work is now underway on the 14,700 square foot Quest Center which will serve as a center for experiential-based learning and exploration for Lower and Middle School students.
The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows nearly 8.6 million STEM jobs, with computer occupations accounting for nearly 45 percent. According to Newsweek, “The STEM skills that only specialists have today will be expected of virtually everyone in the American workforce tomorrow.” It’s good to know that Episcopal is on the forefront of preparing tomorrow’s leaders for these fields of the future, while at the same time providing an array of creative, athletic and spiritual opportunities.
To read more about Episcopal STEM opportunities, click on the links below.
Not Just for Engineers: Four Real World Skills Coding Cultivates
From Bots to Binary Messages: A Look at Computer Science at Episcopal
Budding Scientists: Science Education in Early Childhood
Raising Tomorrow’s Critical Thinkers Today
Why Can’t We Just Send Them Water? Science Lesson Elicits Thoughtful Response
On November 9th, 21 Middle School students competed in our Mu Alpha Theta Tournament at Episcopal. We competed in Division 1 against nearly 200 students from around Louisiana, including Catholic High School and Baton Rouge High School.
Our team finished third in sweepstakes in the entire Division 1, which is incredible considering we only competed with our Middle School students and our high school students didn’t compete at all. Congratulations to our students for a great showing. The results are below.
Nate McLean (5th grader) - Third Place
Harrison Willett - Second Place
Blaise Richard - 3rd place
Luke Stelly - 2nd place
Cameron Augustine - 1st place
Hayden Willett - Honorable Mention
Hayden Singh - Honorable Mention
Joie Lee - 2nd place
Ivy Jiang - Honorable Mention
Joey Roth - Honorable Mention
James Moroney is a versatile teacher having taught English and math in addition to coaching volleyball and soccer. Most recently, he taught sixth grade math, Algebra I Honors and Geometry Honors at Our Lady of Mercy in Baton Rouge. James was named the Our Lady of Mercy Teacher of the Year for the 2015/2016 school year and received the Christian Life Award in 2017. He has served as a MATHCOUNTS team coach, the Junior Beta Club head sponsor and the Youth Legislature co-sponsor. James earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University in English with a concentration in secondary education. He is the author of Challenging Common Core Math Lessons: Grade 6.
According to research from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the higher the level of education, the lower the unemployment rate.” Higher levels of education also mean higher earning potential over a lifetime. As a college preparatory school, 100 percent of Episcopal seniors earn admission into a university, with many attending highly selective institutions. Episcopal students are assisted by three full-time college counselors who help them through the entire college admissions journey. This journey can be intense, and it may have parents and students wondering, is there a secret formula for getting accepted into the right university? College Counseling Director Justin Fenske shares the top five qualities that colleges are looking for in an applicant. Keep in mind that these qualities can change depending on the student and the school.
1. Academic Success
When it comes to taking that next step in the educational journey, being able to show that you’ve done well in your high school courses is important. A strong transcript showing academic success and growth is a good indicator to a college admissions officer that the student understands the subject matter and is ready for more advanced college-level course work.
2. Challenging Courses
Students should also be mindful of the courses they choose. Fenske advises students to take courses that show a preference for challenging subject matter while also allowing them to be academically successful. He says students should not simply enroll in a higher-level course to pad their transcript.
3. Extracurricular Passion
You have the right grades in all the right courses, now what? Fenske says colleges want to see a commitment to an extracurricular activity. However, this does not mean the student should participate in every activity offered. Fenske says a deep involvement in a few activities is meaningful on an application. He says students can explore numerous possibilities while still in Middle School and by the time they are a sophomore or junior in Upper School they can devote more time to activities they particularly enjoy. Being able to show a progression in involvement over the years is also a plus. For example, a student may start out helping backstage in a theater production and eventually mature to be a leader in the theater department.
4. Required Test Scores
Yes, testing is certainly still a factor in college admissions. Luckily, Episcopal has a robust testing preparation program. Counselors help students understand the types of test questions, how to study and how to efficiently manage the allotted test time. There are even test boot camps that simulate the testing environment. Students take practice tests and have the opportunity to discuss errors with teachers before taking the actual exam. This sort of test prep is garnering impressive results. Students are earning National Merit recognition for their performance on the PSAT. Student scores are also translating into college admissions and scholarship dollars.
5. Tell Your Story
Fenske says students need to tell their story in their college application, and that story needs to make them stand out among the crowd of other applicants. He advises students to do something interesting that garners recognition beyond school. For example, thousands of students attend a sports or theater camp each year. A unique story would be to create your own camp or serve as a leader at an existing camp. Fenske has also helped students tell the story of juggling a full-time job or extensive personal obligations while maintaining a strong GPA and a commitment to school life. A unique story goes a long way in helping a student garner the attention to earn admission.
The college admissions journey can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. Episcopal’s college counseling program is serving students well, with 100 percent of seniors earning acceptance into college, including many highly selective institutions. Fenske says ultimately the counselors want to help students find the best match based on their individual goals and projected career path. Finding that right fit and moving on to the next step in life is extremely rewarding for students, families and even the counselors who have assisted along the way. As the Class of 2020 begins to announce their college decisions it will be exciting to see where the journey takes them. Look for college announcements coming soon and please join us in congratulating these students on completing this important milestone.
Meet the Episcopal College Counselors
Have questions for our College Counselors? Leave a comment or ask a question below.
Sometimes all you need to provide healing is a pen, a pad and an old guitar. Episcopal band director Doug Gay and his team at BR Music Studios are offering their version of healing and support to Louisiana veterans through free Veterans Songwriting Collective workshops.
Doug and his team began this journey two years ago when they were approached by the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development to create a program specifically for veterans. BR Music Studios already had programs in place for preschool musicians and individuals with adaptive needs and Doug says they were eager to work with veterans as well. “We say yes and then we figure it out,” he says. The group did figure it out by adapting an existing program to fit the needs of veterans. One need that Doug and his team identified quickly among the veterans was the need to be heard. These men and women have stories that many don’t understand and it’s comforting for them to be in a place where their story is not only heard, but also appreciated.
During the pilot programs, which were offered in Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Alexandria and Shreveport, participants spent considerable time simply talking about what they had experienced. In fact, Doug says the sessions all ran much longer than initially planned and going forward he plans to allow more time for discussion. After participants shared their stories, the music educators helped them put their thoughts into lyrics. You might think it would be hard to narrow down so many experiences into one song, but Doug says it always comes together. “It’s magic,” he says with the excitement of someone who has dedicated his life to helping others discover their musical talents.
"I want the audience to get the same goosebumps I get."
Doug says it is powerful to hear the stories of the Veterans Songwriting Collective participants. As you speak to him about the project, the sense of awe and respect he has for the veterans involved is immediately apparent. For Doug and his team, the Veterans Songwriting Collective project is truly a way to support and recognize veterans. He is honored to share this experience with them and humbled by the part BR Music Studios is playing. “We’re just teaching how to write a song,” he says. But clearly, there is much more.
For workshop participant Army Specialist Chad Chenevert, who is married to Episcopal Director of Technology, Michelle Chenevert, the experience was particularly meaningful. At the workshop, SPC Chenevert reflected on what inspired him to serve and the importance of his grandfather’s military hat for his entire family. “My grandfather was my hero, and since the first picture I saw of him in uniform…I only hoped I could grow to be like him,” says Chenevert. “He marched me around his house in Alexandria calling out cadence while I tried to keep that big hat on my young head straight and proud.” Once SPC Chenevert became a man big enough to wear that hat, he followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and joined the Louisiana Army National Guard at only 17 years old. “I turned 18 in the gas chamber at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO and have tried to serve my country in anyway I can, even after my honorable discharge,” he says.
As stories such as SPC Chenevert’s are told during the workshops, there is a sense of understanding among the attendees. Participants can relate to one another and the challenges they have all faced. Veterans Songwriting Collective sessions are filled with laughter, tears and the comfort that comes from being with those who understand. While the goal is for veterans to come together to write a song about shared experiences, the journey and bonding that occurs are the true takeaways.
Thanks to the expertise of Doug and his team, these shared stories are transformed into meaningful songs. Doug and his workshop co-creator, Sarah Burke, have partnered with Nashville Star finalist and Army Specialist David St. Romain, to voice the songs and a team of BR Music Studios musicians supply the rhythms. There truly is a magic in the experience as men and women who once felt their story was unheard, now have the opportunity to hear their story in song.
Specialist Chenevert says the Veterans Songwriting Collective experience was incredible and he is confident it can help other veterans who are struggling with their challenges. This sentiment around music therapy is gaining traction. Music therapy has existed since the early 1800s with the first university music therapy courses introduced in the 1940s. Now, the National Endowment for the Arts is working with the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs to help members of the military deal with issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. According to Creative Forces, which is a National Endowment for the Arts initiative that works with military personnel, music therapy can help “optimize feelings of safety and reduce perceptions of threat during emotional risk-taking.” The organization also points out that music therapy “contributes to improvements in social integration, quality of life, and overall motivation in the recovery process.”
After seeing the value of the initial pilot sessions, the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Lt. Governor's office have begun the process of approving two additional workshops in the spring of 2020. Doug and his team are especially interested in bringing the events to smaller, more rural areas so that more veterans can easily access them. In the meantime, songs such as those inspired by SPC Chenevert’s own experience will serve as a reminder of those who serve and the sacrifices they make. “My grandmother absolutely cherishes it, as it was her husband who wore the hat,” says Chenevert. “We are very appreciative for the talents of Doug Gay, David St. Romain, and all the others who volunteered their time to organize the event,” says Chenevert’s wife, Michelle. “Our family was moved to tears as we listened to the song created called ‘PawPaw’s Hat.’”
To SPC Chenevert, his grandfather and so many others, we say thank you for your commitment and service. Click here to listen to "Paw Paw's Hat."
Happy Veterans Day!
The Knights football team will host a first round playoff game this Friday, November 15th at 7 pm! The team finished the regular season with an 8 and 2 record after a win over Port Allen last Friday.
Congratulations to the Middle School boys cross country team! The team won their division at the St. Michael's Cross Country meet. The varsity boys and girls teams were runners up. Senior James Christian was the first place finisher in the varsity race. Next up - the state meet in Natchitoches on Monday, November 18th.
Friday night the Episcopal home crowd had one last regular season opportunity to cheer on senior members of the football team, as well as the cheerleaders, dance ensemble dancers, and drum corps musicians. Senior Knight at Episcopal is a special time for these students and their families as they celebrate the last regular season home game in an athletic career that may have lasted one season or numerous years. Students also had the opportunity to attend the Squires Club's Friday Knight Live.
To learn more about what it's like to be an Episcopal athlete click here. Seniors Sara Be, James Christian and Nick Johannesson share their thoughts on athletics and academics.
Episcopal student athletes of all ages have already had a great fall. Lower School students enjoyed an exciting flag football season. Fifth graders teamed up with sixth graders to play on the navy or gold flag football teams. Lower School students will also have the opportunity to compete in volleyball, which takes place in the spring.
This fall, the Middle School Knights competed in cross country, swimming, football and softball with tremendous results. The Middle School boys and girls cross country teams each won the Episcopal Round Table Run with four girls in the top 10 and three in the top five, and six boys in the top 15 and four in the top 10. At the West Feliciana Relays, the Middle School boys broke the course record by 1:04 and recently they earned the metro championship title for their performance at Highland Road Park. The Middle School swim team earned a title of their own as they won the city championships and were named Division 2 champions. There were numerous individual and relay champions, including Lucy Cramer, Ella Kate Johnston, Faith Johnston, Jack McConnell, Olivia Melancon, Ryann Richard, Rylee Simoneaux and Charlie Williams. In the opening meet, Middle School swimmer Olivia Melancon was an individual double winner. Three swimmers won their events – Olivia Melancon, Faith Johnston and Matt VanDeMaele. Rylee Simoneaux, Baylen Sims, Ryann Richard, Ella Stephens and Charlie Williams also placed in the top five in their individual events. The Middle School football team is well on their way to playing on Friday nights with an enthusiastic and engaged home crowd. The squad had a great season with big wins including a dominating victory over Dunham. The softball girls fielded a sixth grade team and a combined seventh/ eighth grade team this season. The teams fought hard all season with exciting contests against Dunham, Parkview, UHigh and Central. It will be exciting to see how these Middle School athletes continue to grow as they transition to Upper School sports.
Senior members of the Knights football team can be proud of the 8 and 2 season they put together. The squad won their Homecoming contest against Catholic High of Pointe Coupee and there have been numerous high scoring games in which the Knights simply ran away with the game. Junior Ryan Armwood’s name has been called throughout the season for scoring touchdowns for the Knights. Two Knights, RB Ryan Armwood and QB Dylan Mehrotra, were nominated for WBRZ Player of the Week honors. The first round of high school football playoffs gets underway this Friday, November 15th with the Knights hosting the game.
In what has become a tradition, the Knights cross country team is prepared for a trip to the state championship meet on November 18th in Natchitoches. Look for senior captain James Christian to make a big impact at the meet. James was recently the top boys runner at the St. Michael's meet. He also placed 5th in the Metro Meet and the Catholic High Invitational. Over the course of his senior year, he has put up personal bests and arrived at the line among the top six finishers at each event. However, James is much more than just a great athlete. Coach Dupe says James truly is a leader, staying after practice or meets to help pack up and really pitching in wherever he is needed.
The varsity swimmers will make their way west for the state swim meet on November 20th and 21st. Both the boys and girls teams finished in third place in the recent Capital City Swim League City Meet. At that meet, sophomores Eugene Jiang and Alexa Ryon Bennett earned individual wins and the 200 medley relay team of Ben Naquin, Evan Jurkovic, Nick Johannessen and Eugene Jiang broke a 16 year old Episcopal record by one-hundredth of a second.
The volleyball Knights made it to the first round of the playoffs! They faced Thomas Jefferson High School in the bi-district round earlier this week. The team put together an exciting season with big district wins against Capitol and Northeast and a fourth place finish in the Northeast tournament in September. They finished the regular season against Parkview Baptist for the Cox Game of the Week.
We hope you will support your Knights whether they are in Lower, Middle or Upper School. Mark your calendars now for upcoming winter sports dates. Go Knights!
This was the best day ever!
Such an exclamation is frequently heard in the kindergarten classrooms in Frazer Hall. Kindergarten students still have the enthusiasm and willingness to get messy and explore the world through play, while also reaching critical academic milestones. In many ways kindergarten is the sweet spot of Lower School. Here, students are developing skills that will forever change the way they interact with the world, such as reading, writing and adding. At the same time, Episcopal kindergarteners still have the opportunity to play and have fun while learning.
Recently, students in Sara Henderson’s classroom began putting books in their book box. The excitement for such an occasion is obvious in the wide grins on students’ faces. Students, teachers and parents have every reason to be excited about what is happening in Frazer Hall. Students may begin the school year only knowing letter sounds or recognizing the letters of their name, but by May they are reading. Kindergarten provides a tremendous transformation for these little Knights and it’s something Henderson is delighted to be a part of even after 17 years of teaching.
Kindergarten students are five or six years old. They are still filled with the wonder of exploration and discovery. They are eager to learn and eager to share what they have learned. Henderson and her fellow teachers, Maria Campbell and Erin Dufour, recognize this and intentionally make learning fun. “We try hard to balance between academics and play,” says Henderson. A sight word hunt, learning stations or pumpkin game day are examples of that balance. Students are having a great time on these adventures while also learning new skills.
"Let them be little."
Henderson says it’s important to remember that kindergarten students are still trying to make sense of their world. They may become overwhelmed with busy schedules and “big kid” expectations that are placed upon them. Allowing kindergarteners to be little and learn in age-appropriate ways helps them develop a love of learning that will serve as a solid foundation for their educational journey. For example, playing something as simple as Uno can be a great learning opportunity for kindergarten students. The classic card game helps them think strategically while also helping them with color recognition and fine motor skills. The same thing happens when they play with Legos, paint or make up performances in the puppet center.
Kindergarten is also a time when students are learning how to work with each other. Henderson says social/emotional learning is a big component of kindergarten learning. One example of this is the All About Me project in which students participate at the beginning of each year. Students share information about themselves and truly get to know each other. This helps them build a community and develop friendships with their classmates. Henderson says they use the responsive classroom approach to boost that sense of community throughout the year. Episcopal kindergarteners also have the opportunity to be a part of the larger school community. Each year, students are partnered with a senior as part of the senior buddies program. Senior students participate in special events with the kindergarteners, such as a Halloween party or the annual kite fly. The senior buddies program is one of Episcopal’s most beloved traditions with alumni remembering their buddy even after graduation.
Fundations, project-based learning, responsive classroom.
The kindergarten team is using best practices to help these little Knights reach their academic goals. The best part is that the teachers are staying true to the students’ age and tailoring the lessons in a way that resonates with five and six year olds. Whether students are making sets of ten using pumpkin seeds or visiting the band room to learn about sound, they are developing a true love for learning. Ultimately, the kindergarten adventures set the students up for continued success as they transition to first grade and beyond. They will be well prepared for adventures such as the first grade triathlon, the third grade vocabulary parade and the fifth grade global marketplace. These little adventurers are tomorrow’s leaders and we look forward to seeing where they go.
Are you looking for the right early childhood learning opportunity for your little adventurer? Episcopal is now enrolling for the 2020/2021 school year. Join us for a Lower School mini open house event on November 19th or December 3rd from 8:30 am to 10:30 am to learn more about the Episcopal experience. You can also contact our admission office at 755-2684, firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.episcopalbr.org/admission.html for more information or to set up a campus tour.
What does it mean to be an Episcopal athlete? We asked Episcopal senior athletes to share more about their experience.
“Athletes at Episcopal must learn to have mental stamina, being able to truly balance academics with sports, pushing themselves in multiple areas of their lives to be the best they can be, sometimes exhausting but always fulfilling,” says swimmer Sara Be.
“The thing I most enjoy about being an Episcopal athlete is the community that comes from being on a team,” says swimmer Nick Johannessen. “It has always been good to know that I had friends across all grades due to the friendships I made through the swim team.”
“The aspect that I enjoy most about being an Episcopal athlete is the comradery that comes from being a part of a team,” says runner James Christian. “Every day, the team creates an atmosphere that is different than any other. You are surrounded by people who go through many of the same difficulties as you. When you are around these people, you can relax and just be free with others who understand if you are having a tough time.”
Academics are important for all three of these athletes. “Coach reminds us that academics are more important than athletics,” says James. “Coach Dupe teaches us every year of what he believes to be the priorities in life: First is God, second is Family, third is school/work, fourth is sports/extracurricular activities and last is social. To him, academics should be above cross country. This is what helps me juggle the two. I realize I need to prioritize school.”
Academics are equally important for Sara and Nick who are National Merit Semifinalists. Nick says while it is challenging to juggle the rigorous academic program at Episcopal while competing, it’s not impossible. “I learned to be more efficient with my time and listen to my body,” he says. “I also made sure to use my study halls and office hours to their maximum potential, meeting with teachers, and doing homework during these times. Staying ahead on homework helps minimize some of the stress caused by the time crunch of practice and schoolwork.”
Episcopal truly does provide students the opportunity to explore a diverse array of interests. “Being an athlete at Episcopal is not a label, it does not limit any individual,” says Sara. “The swim team has three students participating in drum corps, attending morning swim practice and nighttime football games on Fridays. The football team this year includes three boys who race to select choir after practice on Mondays. This diversity of talent and character within the athletics department is priceless; sports teams gather a spectrum of types of students, forming seemingly unlikely connections and relationships that end up possessing enormous value.”
Students gain a range of important life skills from their participation in sports. “From my athletic experiences, I have learned the values of competition, leadership, teamwork, and hard work,” says Nick. “From competition with teammates in practice to actual swim meets, competitiveness is a crucial component of swimming. Teammates are always pushing each other to improve and be better at practice. Swim meets are the chance for all that hard work to shine, where you can prove to yourself and others what all that hard work has done.”
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Coach Dupe. “This is a quote that we hear every year, and it represents one of the most important lessons I have learned from my Cross-Country experience,” says James. “It is always important to be willing to put in the hard work. No matter how good you might be at something, it is hard work and dedication that will get you the farthest in life.”
Team is Everything.
Putting together a successful team and a championship season, truly is a team effort. “As a member of relays, races made of teams of four, I have also learned the value of teamwork,” says Nick. “A relay would not work with only three people. It takes everyone on the relay to make it work. Relays are my favorite races to swim because there are other people to celebrate your team's success. It takes the hard work of all four swimmers for a relay to be successful, and it is a fantastic feeling when it works.”
“Being on a team also brings you closer to people you might not have ever known,” says James. “Those people can become some of your closest friends.”
Sara points out that even those who are not officially on the team contribute to success in meaningful ways. “To be invested and engaged with Episcopal athletics doesn’t necessarily mean enrollment in a sports team,” she says. “Positive energy radiates through the stands when students of all grades gather together to cheer on the football team. In this nature, students build networks of support, elevating the school spirit and overall quality of life at Episcopal through athletics. In other words, sports at Episcopal facilitate mutual support from students, people lifting each other up when they need it the most.”
Congratulations to all of the Episcopal athletes who are accomplishing great things in the classroom and in competition. Go Knights!
Teachers and students in all three divisions got into the Halloween spirit this year. Here’s a look at some of the fun.
Pumpkins with Pops
The smell of freshly carved pumpkins filled the Greer Center as first graders and their pops took part in the Pumpkins with Pops event. This annual tradition has become a favorite among families with dads using saws, knives and stencils to carve a variety of unique and clever designs. Students also had the opportunity to learn more about their pumpkins at the measuring and weighing stations.
How do you make a science lesson on the engineering process a little spookier and more exciting? Turn off the lights! Sixth grade teacher Stacy Hill challenged students to build a pumpkin pillar with only 20 notecards, scotch tape and scissors. The classroom was only lit with black lights and the pumpkins were painted with glow in the dark paint.
Trick or Treat!
Prek-4 students got an early start on their Halloween festivities with a little trick-or-treating in Upper School. Many of the teachers joined in the fun with costumes of their own.
Are you afraid of heights? How about snakes? Episcopal eighth graders enjoyed their retreat to Mo Ranch this week. Students participated in a range of team building and leadership activities including a ropes course and a canoe trip. There was also a chance to spend time in nature and to get up close with a few creatures. A panda and a few Care Bears were even spotted in the crowd.