Lower School children are accustomed to the adults in their lives telling them what to learn, what to study and when. This begins to change when students reach sixth grade.
Middle School students are given the power of choice when it comes to the elective courses they wish to study. Choice for students of this age is very important and can have a significant impact on them, making them more connected with and engaged in what they are learning. As eighth grade student Analise explained, she was “super excited” when she was asked to make choices about her coursework in preparation for sixth grade. Analise wanted to experience much of what Episcopal has to offer, so she enrolled in dance, drama, band, Nature by Design, musical theater and French. She also ran cross country and track and played soccer and volleyball as she explored our Athletic Program.
Allowing students the power of choice with electives exposes them to new experiences that could lead to unexpected results. For Analise, this occurred in the Nature by Design course, which initially made her nervous because it was unknown territory for her. Eventually, she surprised herself when her design knowledge grew and she created a rain stick that earned high marks from the teacher and boosted her expectations of what she could achieve.
Over the course of her time at Episcopal, Analise has discovered a love for theater and plans to continue studying drama into Upper School. This is common among our Middle School students as they learn more about their interests through exposure. Because of the excitement and passion generated by this sense of discovery, most students go well beyond the arts elective requirements needed to graduate.
Episcopal sixth and seventh graders select four arts electives per year, with classes taught once per quarter. Course requirements may differ depending upon the students’ focus, such as band or choir. Eighth graders, who move to a semester schedule, select two arts electives per year. Because the courses are offered multiple times throughout the year, we are able to accommodate most students’ desired choices.
Arts are a pillar of an Episcopal education. We believe that students benefit from the creative expression and emotional outlet provided by studying the arts. In addition, these electives help students develop empathy and teamwork skills, which are critical in the development of middle schoolers. Episcopal employs professional actors, directors, producers, dancers and composers to teach their craft to our students. This level of talent and experience sets us apart in arts education and allows us the opportunity to offer a variety and depth of experiences that are second to none.
At Episcopal we also understand the importance of being a global citizen and what that means as far as exposure to world languages. Because of this, Middle School students also have the power to choose which world language they want to explore. Our Middle and Upper School language teachers are passionate about other cultures and provide courses in French, Latin or Spanish. For Analise, the choice was French and she has been pleased with that decision.
The Episcopal School of Baton Rouge’s mission is to nurture and develop the whole child -- spiritually, intellectually, morally, physically and artistically -- through challenging academic and co-curricular programs which prepare graduates for college and for purposeful lives. Providing our students with the power to choose and delve further into the arts and world languages fits well with this goal. To learn more about the elective and world language courses offered at Episcopal and how they can enhance your child’s school experience, we invite you to schedule a visit with us today.
holds a B.A. degree in English from Millsaps College and a M.Ed. degree from Louisiana State University in school counseling. Additionally she maintains credentials as a Licensed Professional Counselor. After one year of teaching in the East Baton Rouge Parish School system, she joined Episcopal’s high school faculty in 1979. She has served Episcopal in a variety of capacities: high school English teacher, Upper School Counselor, Upper School Division Head, middle school English teacher, School Counselor, and her current role, Middle School Division Head. Throughout her tenure of leadership in the Middle School, she has taught sixth grade religion. She is the proud parent of two Episcopal alumni.