Earlier this school year, the Lower School division celebrated a community read of Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. The Greer Center was filled with special guests, including Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul and members of the Pollard family for which the Lower School library is named. The occasion also featured a student wish tree, a delicious reception for third grade families and friends, and a discussion with students at other schools about the book’s message. The entire project was made possible through the support of Parents’ Guild. Contributions to the Parents’ Guild wish list allowed Lower School faculty to purchase books for the entire Episcopal third grade as well as the third graders at St. James, St. Luke’s and Trinity. “Such support by Parents’ Guild speaks to the breadth of the types of things they are funding as they recognized the value in such a basic request,” says Lower School Division Head Bridget Henderson. “With the seed they planted by purchasing these books we were able to grow the project into an amazing city-wide effort that helped us establish a connection with third graders in the entire Episcopal school system.”
Parents’ Guild is a volunteer-driven organization with the goal of connecting parents to school news, events and each other. The organization’s motto, Rooted in Community, reflects a community united in support of the school, its students and the faculty and staff. This year’s co-presidents Kennan Bruser and Betsy Edwards say Parents’ Guild offers a range of opportunities for parents to be involved as much or as little as they want. Opportunities include everything from volunteering as a Room Mom and Grade Rep to being an event assistant.
Joining Parents’ Guild is easy. “If you have a child here, you are a member of Parents’ Guild,” says Edwards. Parents’ Guild represents educational and academic interests in all divisions. “While we have three divisions, our school is one community,” says Bruser.
To celebrate Episcopal’s spirit of community, Parents' Guild volunteers are planning a special event on Saturday, February 9th. A Knight Under the Stars will celebrate the 50th Episcopal graduating class and a successful capital campaign. The progressive party will take place throughout campus and will feature live music, an interactive STEM event and a glimpse into the future of Foster Hall. The business casual affair is for adults age 21 and older. In addition, current Episcopal families will have the opportunity to win one year of FREE tuition. Learn more about Knight Under the Stars from event chairwoman Jenny Civello.
In addition, mark your calendar for the annual Karnival Knight event, which is scheduled for March 22nd. This annual Parents’ Guild tradition features outdoor, carnival-style activities that are popular with students and families.
Whether it is organizing Knight Under the Stars, Teacher Terrific Tuesday, the used uniform sale or even pizza day, Bruser and Edwards say parent volunteers are ultimately involved to help students. “It’s important for them to see that parents support their school,” says Edwards. “We’re doing this for them,” says Bruser.
Research shows that such support and involvement is important to a school’s overall success. According to the National Education Association (NEA), parent, family, and community involvement in education correlates with higher academic performance and school improvement. NEA also cites research conducted by Anne Henderson and K.L. Mapp for their book, A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement. The researchers found that community support of the educational process is considered one of the characteristics common to high-performing schools. Episcopal has a history of high performance and a commitment to excellence. Parents’ Guild and the families that support them are a key contributor to that success.
Do you want to get more involved at Episcopal?
Bruser and Edwards say they are always seeking additional volunteers. To learn more about Parents’ Guild and the opportunities available, go to https://www.episcopalbr.org/parents-guild.html. You can also contact the presidents at firstname.lastname@example.org.