Imagine what the world will be like in the year 2033. Imagine the technology that will be available to us. Imagine how we will interact with each other. Imagine the new discoveries that will be made by today’s young people. 2033 may seem far away, but it is actually the year that our current PreK-4 students will graduate from Upper School.
This year’s Lower School theme is Imagine. For Lower School Division Head Bridget Henderson, this simple, seven letter word has tremendous potential. “Imagine what is possible for our students if we give them fertile ground to grow,” she says. Henderson says the ability to think critically, collaborate and problem solve will be important capabilities for these students as they become adults. Simply put, they must be prepared to imagine new possibilities and imagine solutions to new problems. “The future of education is trying to inspire children and teach them how to not set limits on what they can think,” says Henderson.
Imagine is a fitting theme for a school with such a strong focus on project-based learning. The projects are student driven and student focused. “Project-based learning is not scripted,” says Henderson. “No two projects are ever the same.” Such learning experiences encourage students to explore their world and imagine more. This type of learning fosters the innovative spirit that will be needed for students entering an increasingly more technologically connected and advanced world.
Henderson says Imagine is an empowering message for students of all ages. The idea communicates support and encouragement. “If we can get the students to imagine, then we know that anything is possible,” says Henderson. At Episcopal you can find students imagining everywhere from Lower School art rooms to coding discussions in Middle School and design studio classes in Upper School. Henderson and her team are also excited to imagine the possibilities with the new Episcopal Quest Center.
Nicole says the idea came to her as the team reflected on past themes, which all shared a common thread of peace, unity and kindness. She says as the session continued someone suggested they think of songs. “Of course, the music and religion teachers were able to think of tunes right away,” she says. But for this science teacher, one song kept coming to mind – “Imagine” by John Lennon. Nicole says the song has always represented peace for her and still gives her chills each time she hears it played. Like Henderson, the word Imagine means so much to Engstrom. “Imagine kindness everywhere, imagine what could happen if you send that letter, imagine how world leaders would respond, imagine your impact, imagine the possibilities, just imagine,” she says. Engstrom says it was an honor to be invited to the theme-planning discussion. “It was a team effort,” she says. “I just said a word.”
That one word was confirmed when Lower School Religion Teacher Laura Portwood read: “God has more in store for you than you can ever imagine.”
The 2019/2020 school year is sure to be a memorable and important year for the Episcopal community. It is likely to be better than we can imagine.
Can you imagine what life will be like in 2033? Share your thoughts below.
Splashing into Summer with PreK-3
PreK-3 students enjoyed a splash day to celebrate the end of the school year.
Going on a Bear Hunt in PreK-4
PreK-4 went on a bear hunt! Students searched for grizzlies on the Coach Duplechin Trail after reading "We're Going on a Bear Hunt." For lunch they enjoyed a picnic with their furry friends.
Field Day Fun in Kindergarten
Lower School Field Day was a huge success! The event featured water balloons, bubbles, yard games and even a giant water slide. What a great way to wrap up the school year!
Animal Encounters in First Grade
Episcopal first graders know a lot about animals. After participating in a six-week study of the different animals that inhabit a swamp, the students shared what they learned with their fellow Lower School students. Their presentations featured a range of swampy creatures, including snakes, frogs and even bears. Other highlights of the animal lesson included visiting the swamp, learning more about fifth grade teacher Eric DiMari’s animals and observing animals from the Barnhill Animal Preserve.
Author Chat in Second Grade
Second grade students had the opportunity to speak with Annie Barrows, the author of the Ivy + Bean series. Barrows answered student questions and shared what inspires her stories and characters. The Ivy + Bean series makes a great addition to a student’s summer reading list.
Third Grade Pen Pals
Third grade students are brushing up on their cursive skills by writing letters to residents at St. James Place. Read more about the project here.
Fun and Games in Fourth Grade
Fourth graders challenged their families to a variety of arcade games that the students actually made themselves. This annual event is always exciting and this year was no exception. Students created everything from air hockey and ping pong to flight of the dragon and dizzy duck.
Making a Difference in Fifth Grade
After a successful world expo event, the fifth grade students generated funds to support the Capital Area United Way, Heifer International and the Pulsera Project. Recently, students presented their donation to United Way Corporate Relationship Manager Ashley McDermott.
Imagine a handwritten birthday card from your grandmother with the neat, devoted cursive writing that only grandma can create. Now imagine a birthday card written in the scrawling, proud script of your young child who just learned to connect letters. Handwriting can elicit such emotion and feeling among readers. Now Episcopal third graders are bringing back the art of letter writing. This spring, students participated in a pen pal project with St. James Place residents. Not only are they making meaningful connections, but they are also brushing up on cursive writing.
“My hopes and dreams for this year are to feel more confident in Math and to do well writing in cursive.” Molly
“My hopes and dreams for this year are to do well on Rocket Math and to work hard on my cursive writing.” Wynston
Each August, the third grade teachers have students set goals for themselves. Teacher Lauren Bilskie says every year students express interest and excitement about learning and perfecting cursive writing. “Learning cursive is sort of a rite of passage for our students,” says Bilskie. She says students are eager to learn the way each letter connects and it’s always an exciting day when they learn to link the letters of their own name with curves and loops.
Once students have the method down, Bilskie says they need practice with cursive writing and reading. Finding opportunities to practice cursive can be a challenge with students more accustomed to keyboards and touch screen devices. Fortunately, a national news story highlighting a pen pal program between senior living residents and students at a Dallas Episcopal school recently inspired Bilskie to create a similar program here. Knowing that several students have family members living at St. James Place, Bilskie felt the residents there would be the perfect match for these young writers. When she reached out to officials at St. James, Director of Active Lifestyles, Tanya Dickson, had actually heard about the same story and was ecstatic about the opportunity to connect students and residents.
The pen pal program was such an easy program to establish that Bilskie says she can’t believe they didn’t think of it sooner. Students started their written friendship by writing to a resident in cursive and asking them about their third grade teacher and their favorite school subject. The cursive responses came pouring in. Residents were excited to correspond with the young students with some even writing back with colorful, decorated notes. “This has made cursive so meaningful for all of us,” says Bilskie.
With this year’s success, Bilskie and her fellow teachers hope to organize the program again next year, with a few additions. Bilskie says they plan to start earlier in the year and may organize a trip to St. James Place so that the pen pals can meet in person. In the meantime, the correspondence may continue over the summer with students writing to their new friends about beach trips and camp adventures.
Future Business Professionals
Several Episcopal students spent part of their spring break learning more about investments and the management of public companies at the 23rd Annual Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference hosted by the Tulane University A.B. Freeman School of Business. Such an experience could help them someday continue the Episcopal tradition of entrepreneurship. Read more about that tradition in a previous blog post here here.
Tops in Math!
Episcopal School of Baton Rouge congratulates tenth grader Abhay Basireddy for scoring in the top 2.5% on the American Mathematics Competitions 10 (AMC 10 A) exam. Nationwide, more than 42,000 students from 1,920 schools took the exam, which consists of 25 multiple choice questions covering mathematics curriculum up to the tenth grade. By scoring in the top 2.5%, Basireddy is now qualified to take the American Invitational Mathematics Exam, along with 2,730 other students from across the country.
In addition, three other Episcopal students scored in the top 25% nationally on the AMC 10 A. Episcopal congratulates the following:
Justin Dynes – ninth grade
Alex Nelson – tenth grade
Arya Patel – ninth grade
All four Episcopal students are members of the school’s Mu Alpha Theta math team, which recently placed fifth overall at the Louisiana Mu Alpha Theta state convention.
Toutes nos félicitations
Essay Contest Winner
Episcopal Students Win National Latin Exam Awards
The National Latin Exam, sponsored by the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League, is a 40 question, multiple choice test, offered to students on seven levels. Students encounter questions on grammar, comprehension, mythology, derivatives, literature, Roman life, history, geography, oral Latin and Latin in use in the modern world.
Of the 44 Episcopal students that took the 2019 National Latin Exam, 20 earned awards. This year over 139,000 students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and 20 foreign countries took the exam. Congratulations to this year’s award winners!
State Literary Rally Success
Episcopal students had a great showing at the recent State Literary Rally held at LSU. Congratulations to the following:
District II Literary Events:
District II State Open Events:
This year’s Youth Legislature team had tremendous success! Congratulations to everyone.
Two Episcopal students were elected officers.
Libbie Kelly – Governor’s Cabinet - Secretary of State/Press Secretary
Riley Ewing – Speaker of the House
The Episcopal team successfully passed ten bills.
Free Prosthetics for Veterans – Ryann Richard, John Luke Boagni
Sports for Disabled Kids – Shreya Kamath and Amelia Pleasant
Solar Installation Tax Incentives – Joey Roth and Jada Crawford
Urea Ammonium Nitrate Control Act – Mia Pulliam and Carter McLean
Weapon Protection for Schools – Sarah Theriot and Suzie Heneghan
Homes for the Homeless – Tori Pierce and Nidhi Sthanki
Diabetic Supplies for the Uninsured – Katherine Fivgas and Claire Kiesel
Online Privacy Act – Hayden Singh and Pearson Spender
Protecting the Marshlands – Jacob Bruser and Jacob Jones
Save the Bees – Sarah Laiche and Alexandra Streuli
Several Episcopal students were selected for the Youth Legislature Hall of Fame.
Laura Jane Kirkpatrick
Congratulations to Anna Katherine Harrell for being named the Outstanding Photojournalist.
State Tournament Success
Episcopal golfers had a great showing at the recent state tournament. The girls finished as the Division II State Runner Up! Riely Heaslip and Caroline Glynn shot a two day score of 324! Riely finished as the third place medalist in the tournament. Freshman Boyd Owens finished as State Runner Up with a two day 36 hole score of 145.
The Episcopal boys tennis team won the 2019 Division III State Championship title!
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Pablo Picasso
Give a Lower School student a paint brush, a crayon or even Play-Doh and watch as they create their own art with passion, gusto and a little messiness. Lower School art teacher Caroline Hagan enjoys helping these uninhibited little artists make their mark. Recently, she organized the annual Lower School art show highlighting works from students in PreK-3 through fifth grade. The subject matter was appropriately Lower School themed, with brightly colored drawings featuring everything from a cactus and a happy cat to the pigeon from the Mo Willems’ pigeon series.
Beginning in PreK-3, students make the “field trip” to Hagan’s classroom multiple times a week for art instruction. Hagan says she focuses on the experience of making art and not the end result. She uses a process-based approach to guide students in the elements and principles of art, including line, color, shape, value, form and texture. “A lot of people don’t have an art vocabulary,” says Hagan. “I want students to be able to discuss art at art museums and dinner parties in the future.” Hagan’s students also have the opportunity to experience many different materials and how they are used. While in kindergarten, students practice drawing shapes and putting them together to form larger images. By fifth grade, they are learning the steps in the printmaking process.
Hagan also finds meaningful ways in which to incorporate student art within the Lower School experience. For example, she worked with third graders to create an Episcopal wish tree for the community read earlier this year. Her fifth grade students made pieces that were sold at the annual global market and even PreK-3 and PreK-4 made pottery bunnies for their families this Easter.
With advancements in technology creating new careers, including animators and video game designers, creativity is an asset. Hagan says parents can help foster their budding Picasso’s natural artistic instincts by allowing the child to create their own artwork without input or expectations. In the end, the child will have a great time creating and the family will end up with an original piece to display in the home.
Do you have tips to encourage young artists? Share them in the comments section below.
Several Lower School writers were recently recognized by the Capital Area Reading Council for their work. In addition, three students were selected as state winners. Congratulations to the following students!
Episcopal Lower School teacher Cory Lemoine is active in local literacy efforts and a strong proponent of encouraging students to write. “Writing serves an important purpose in our lives: communication,” Lemoine wrote in an Episcopal blog post. “It’s our job as teachers to prepare students to learn who they are as writers and utilize those strengths so that students can be successful presently and in the future. Know that your children are being encouraged, challenged, and celebrated in their writing growth and will continue to do so for many years to come! We are proud of all of our little writers and look forward to seeing how much they truly grow!” The smiling faces of the recent Young Author winners is confirmation of that preparation and the encouragement students receive. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!
To read more from Cory, click on his blog post Growing Great Writers.
There is nothing quite like the joy and enthusiasm of our younger Knights learning. With their outside voices, they proudly proclaim their answers or eagerly demonstrate their newfound knowledge. Their tiny fingers turn pages and build models. As they transition to Middle School, they make thoughtful observations and conduct innovative experiments. They confidently tackle new technology and use it to improve and explore their world.
The new Episcopal Quest Center will celebrate and reinforce the joy of learning in Lower and Middle School. The center, which will be located within a renovated Foster Hall, will provide room to explore with project and experiential-based spaces equipped with microscopes, digital data collection tools and areas for science experiments, aquaponics and gardening. Quest, or Question • Uncover • Explore • Synthesize • Test, will feature adaptable, flexible spaces designed specifically with Lower and Middle School students in mind.
Making New Discoveries in Lower School
Just imagine the hands-on experiences kindergarten students will have as they learn about the five senses within their own Chemistry Kitchen. This fully-functioning kitchen will provide opportunities for students to explore cooking, baking and other food safe sciences. Spaces such as an Investigation Station, Early Childhood Design Studio and Upper Elementary Design Studio will provide a stimulating environment in which our youngest Knights can participate in activities such as science learning and project-based lessons. Lower School students are certainly not strangers to technology and spaces such as the Virtual Learning Lab will help them continue to explore robotics and coding. The Quest Center is sure to be filled with the excitement of students as they make new discoveries and celebrate success.
Exploring a Larger World in Middle School
As Middle School students learn more about their world, they will be able to simulate a faraway land, explore landforms and travel across the globe without ever leaving the Quest Center. Students will also learn the intricacies of coding and robotics within the Digital Media Lab, a space that is sure to be frequented by members of groups such as the Girls Who Code Club. In the Middle School Design Studio, students will enjoy space for learning about everything from earthquakes to water systems. All of the spaces are designed to be age-appropriate, with room to grow, to meet the needs of the next generation. With the creativity and expertise of Episcopal teachers, it will be exciting to see the lessons and activities that are created within such an inspiring space.
Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders
Today’s schools are charged with preparing students for a rapidly evolving future. Advancements in technology will usher in career options that are not currently available and future generations must be ready to successfully take on these new roles. According to a report by the National Association of Independent Schools, schools must prepare students for the following essential capacities for the 21st century:
The Episcopal Quest Center is just one of numerous developments underway on campus to ensure that the school continues to meet the needs of our students. Upper School students are now learning math, science, engineering and technology in the new Academic Commons. The athletic field house is being built to provide our athletes and students a modern facility dedicated to health and wellness. We invite you to help bring innovative learning spaces to Lower and Middle School through the Quest Center, a major gift initiative of Episcopal School of Baton Rouge.
To learn more about the Quest Center and how you can be a part of this important project contact Katie Thompson, Director of Annual Giving and Stewardship, at 755-2741 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“I have a bed. It’s not a big girl bed yet, but we are making it into a big girl bed soon. There’s a lot of things in the kitchen you know? I like to help momma in the kitchen.”
PreK-3 students are immersed in their annual lesson on homes. For 12 weeks, the youngest Knights have studied all aspects of homes, including what can be found inside a home, how they are constructed and different types of homes. With the construction underway on Episcopal’s campus the last two years, this project has expanded to include lengthy discussions on the actual construction process. Last year’s PreK-3 students frequently visited the Academic Commons build site and this year’s students are just as enthusiastic about the new athletic field house.
Teachers Kristen Cascio and Karen Murchison use creative concepts to make the lesson meaningful for three year olds. Students bring in photos of their own bedrooms and discuss how their rooms are similar and different from their classmates. During any given week, these little Knights can also be found taking a campus tour where they make observations about the buildings and structures. “This helps them notice the big world outside themselves,” says Cascio.
In true PreK-3 fashion, the building unit includes plenty of hands-on activities. Students got their hands dirty recently as they worked with Academic Technology Coordinator Betsy Minton to mix their own cement foundation using flour, water, salt, sand and aquarium rocks. As they learn more about the steps for building a structure, students use Legos, Lincoln Logs and other building materials to recreate structures. They also tap into their creativity by drawing, painting and making journal sketches of houses.
The three year olds enjoy the experience and they are achieving several developmental milestones along the way. As they compare windows and doors, they are learning to notice similarities and differences and make connections. With each stroke of the paintbrush, they are exercising spatial awareness. As they test the stability of their cement, they are making observations and even drawing journal sketches of the experience. At three years old, students are eager to learn and excited to share. Much of the learning they do is absorbed through purposeful play, such as that in the building unit.
Just as a home begins with a strong foundation, an education is also established with a strong foundation of mastering the basics and developing an enthusiasm for knowledge. The annual PreK-3 building lesson is a great example of encouraging this early love of learning. The new Episcopal Quest Center for Lower and Middle School is sure to provide even more new and exciting opportunities for students to learn. The space will be located within a renovated Foster Hall and will be designed specifically with the needs of Lower and Middle School students in mind. Students will have access to project and experiential-based spaces equipped with microscopes, digital data collection tools and areas for science experiments, aquaponics and gardening. The Chemistry Kitchen, Investigation Station and Early Childhood Design Studio are sure to inspire young learners as they expand their world.
Looking for books to read with your little builder? Below is a list of the books used in the PreK-3 building lesson. If you have a favorite building-related book, leave a suggestion below in the comment section.
Essay Contest Finalist
New Permanent Art Exhibit Members
Congratulations to the newest members of the Episcopal permanent art exhibit.
Mady Eichelberger, 5th grade “Owl In Flight” Lino print on paper
Eva Worrell, 8th grade “Still-Life Puzzle” Charcoal in paper
Erin Petty, 12th grade “Limited Colors” Acrylic on canvas
Each year, the Episcopal art teachers select artwork from a rising fifth grader, a rising eighth grader and a graduating senior to add to the school’s permanent student art exhibit. The exhibit is a celebration of the individual student contributions to Episcopal and the school’s commitment to arts education.
Episcopal Artists on Display at Baton Rouge Gallery
Five Episcopal AP art students are sharing their work with the Baton Rouge community. Caitlin Davis, Sophia Graves, Claire Hook, Katie Knight and Ian Sabolik were selected to participate in "The Real-Life Experience" Juried High School Exhibition. In addition, Katie Knight was selected to apply for the Paul A. Dufour & Julia Dufour Richardson Scholarship. The scholarship awards high school students an opportunity for private mentorship from a local artist. Katie’s work entitled “Allyson” also earned honorable mention. According to the Gallery website, the exhibition features over 50 works of original art produced by students from East Baton Rouge public and private high schools. More than 240 works were submitted for inclusion in the exhibition. The exhibition is on display from now until April 25th.
LAUNCH at Ebb and Flow Festival
Seniors Lauren Smith and Ethan Wax are bringing their thesis LAUNCH presentations to the Ebb and Flow Festival this weekend. Join them downtown on Sunday from 2:30 pm to 3 pm at the IDEA Stage. The Ebb & Flow Festival is an annual event featuring visual art, film, music and local cultural offerings. To read more about the festival, click here. To learn more about LAUNCH, click here.
Poster Contest Winner
Three Episcopal students were chosen as the winners of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese 2019 Poster Contest for their original digital poster entries in the 9-12 Category.
Congratulations to the following students:
First place: Ruby Friloux ’22
Second place: Mollie Hyde ’21
Third place: Ashton Wood ’20
The contest is sponsored by the National Hispanic Honor Society Chapter “El Buen Pastor” at Episcopal. The goal is to verbalize the appreciation for other languages and cultures, to promote creative thinking and to encourage cross-curriculum collaboration. Madeleine Cope ’19 and Alex Nelson ’21 organized the contest with assistance from the Comp Design class. The winners will represent Louisiana at the National Poster Competition, with the final judging taking place in May.
National Honor Society
Congratulations to this year's inductees!
The National Honor Society is a nationwide organization which recognizes those high school students who excel in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character. Juniors and seniors who have maintained at 3.67 GPA in the core classes (foreign language, science, social studies, mathematics and English) and who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service and character to a faculty council are selected for membership.
Books for Babies
Thanks to the efforts of the Episcopal Lower School community, 101 new moms will have books to read to their newborns. Students and families donated more than 1,200 books for the annual Books for Babies book drive. Organizer and first grade teacher Cory Lemoine says 400 more books were collected this year compared to last year. Lemoine and his students presented the books to Baton Rouge General representatives this week. Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s effort!
Coastal Roots Planting Day
Third graders recently teamed up with seniors to begin next year’s Coastal Roots planting project. Students filled the planting cells with soil and cypress or persimmon tree seeds. Next spring, the Upper School Environmental Science class will plant the little trees in Fontainebleau State Park.
Little Knights in the Great Outdoors
Our littlest Knights took advantage of the beautiful spring weather. PreK-3 students looked for lucky clovers in honor of St. Patrick's Day. PreK-4 students went on a nature hike.
Second Grade Travel Agency
Did you know…
Let's Go Fly a Kite
On a perfect spring day, Paw Patrol, My Little Pony and Spider Man could be seen flying over the Episcopal campus. Seniors and kindergarten students scurried about flying a variety of kites for their last official event together as buddies. The day was a great way to wrap up a year of special events.