2011-2012 Professional Strengths: Religion and Technology Departments
Monday, November 07, 2011
Dear EHS Community Members,
This letter concludes the weekly feature on each academic department at Episcopal.
Religion Department Overview
The Religion Department plays a vital role in helping our students realize Episcopal's mission. The Religion faculty nurtures our student body spiritually, intellectually, and morally through their courses and Chapel services. Lower School students hear a spiritual message from Chaplain deGravelles each day during Morning Meeting and receive Religion instruction from Ms. Laura Portwood and Chaplain deGravelles. Lower School students also attend Chapel once a week. Middle and Upper School students visit Chapel twice a week. Fr. Skully Knight conducts Middle School services, and Fr. Ralph Howe performs Chapel services in the Upper School. Episcopal students are deeply involved in the execution of Chapel services. The new Student Vestry brings student leadership to Chapel services, as they deliver Chapel talks and invite speakers to address the student body. Other students are involved in Chapel through their services as acolytes, singers, and readers.
Episcopal’s Religion Faculty
"Children may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you make them feel." - Parker Palmer
This is Father Ralph Howe's eighth year at EHS. He serves as Senior Chaplain, which includes planning and conducting Chapel services in the Upper School, preaching in the Lower School, and overseeing the newly-created Student Vestry in the Upper School. Fr. Howe also provides spiritual counseling for students and facutly and works with the counselors on student issues of concern. He is the Religion Department Chair and also acts as a liaison with other Episcopal clergy and the Bishop of the diocese. Fr. Howe teaches Introduction to the Bible to Upper School students. In this course, students act out Bible stories in groups (students "attack Goliath" with a sling, golf balls, and a tackle dummy borrowed from the football team), connect the experience of Katrina's flooding with Noah's flood, and study Jesus' care of the poor alongside a study of U.S. poverty levels. In addition, Fr. Howe advises the Parents' Guild on pastoral issues concerning students and staff. His four children attended EHS--his youngest child graduated in 2011. Fr. Howe holds a B.S. from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, and a Masters of Divinity from General Theological Seminary in New York City.
"Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through with Christ’s compassion looks out on the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good. And yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now." – St. Teresa of Avila
Reverend Kirkland Knight, known to the EHS community as “Father Skully,” began his work here during the summer. He comes to us most recently from the All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler, Texas. Fr. Skully serves as Middle School Chaplain and Associate Head of School for Character Development and Service Learning. In addition, he teaches 7th and 8th grade Religion. His daughters, Katie and Emily, are current EHS students. Katie is in 3rd grade, and Emily is in 6th grade. Fr. Skully received a B.A. in General Studies from LSU and a Masters of Divinity from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. This year in his Religion course, students participate in team building and initiative activities that reinforce the idea that they are members of a community and have responsibilities to each other. Fr. Skully also uses film clips in his course to jumpstart discussions about topics like honesty, respect, and cooperation. He is excited about the introduction of the Middle School Student Vestry this year, as well.
"When I began as a chaplain and religion teacher, I thought my job was to help people find God through worship, Bible study, service to others, etc. I still believe that, but now I also understand that there is no place we can't find God, and this has allowed me to select from anywhere--science, history, literature, art, music, culture--and to follow from there the thread back to the one in whom we live and move and have our being. This has been liberating and energizing for me as a teacher and person. What can I say; I'm pumped!"
In addition to his work leading Lower School Morning Meeting and teaching 2nd-4th grade Religion, Chaplain Charles deGravelles works closely with Upper School students. In his course, Ethics and the Bible, students study the criminal justice system and issues of crime and punishment. This semester, the class will visit Angola Prison where students will have a chance to talk to inmates and administration about what they have learned throughout their studies and during their visit. Chaplain deGravelles is also the Rock Club sponsor, and the group will record and produce their own CD that they will sell as a fundraiser for a charitable cause. He joined the EHS community in 2002 and holds a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in English from LSU. Chaplain deGravelles was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1995. He is the founder and first director of the Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration at Angola, a prison ministry. Chaplain deGravelles also served as Archdeacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana from 2005-2008. During this time, he led other deacons in post-Katrina restoration work in New Orleans.
"Peace is dynamism." - Archbishop Oscar Romero
I joined the EHS community in 2010 as the Head of School. This year, my office doubles as a classroom each day as twenty History of Religion students join me in studying the world's religions and the historical events that brought those religions to America. I earned a B.S. from Mississippi State University, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law, and a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Before serving as a Chaplain at Punahou School in Honolulu, I was ordained in the Congregationalist Church (a.k.a. the United Church of Christ). This semester in my course, students have interacted with the world's major religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity through multi-media presentations, guest speakers, readings, and lectures. Currently, students are giving presentations on a variety of other religions and facilitating learning activities for their peers.
"It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving." - R. Braunstein
Head of Middle School, Ms. Lucy Smith, teaches 6th grade Religion. She first joined the EHS community in 1979 and served as a counselor for many years. Ms. Smith earned a B.A. in English from Millsaps College and an M.Ed in Counseling from LSU. Both of her sons, Field and Carter, graduated from Episcopal. Field Smith graduated with the class of 2000, and Carter Smith graduated with the class of 2005. In her 6th grade Religion course this year, students are using netbooks as a great tool for writing. Their journal entries have been very impressive so far. Ms. Smith also uses the CPR strategy (circle of power and respect) in her classroom as a way to build community. Among many other exciting projects this year, Ms. Smith has introduced the 55 non-negotiable skills to Middle School. She is working to advise teachers on how to prioritize the 55 academic skills that Middle School students will need to know before beginning high school if they are to be on track for graduation and successfully conquering the ACT. Students recently took a benchmark exam called "Explore" that will allow teachers to strategically plan instruction to fit the needs of the class. The Explore test will be taken again in the spring to show student growth and progress.
"Preach the Gospel always. When necessary, use words." - St. Francis of Assisi
EHS welcomes Father Patrick Edwards to campus! Fr. Edwards teaches Introduction to the Bible in the Upper School. He holds a B.A. in History and Politics from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and a Masters of Divinity from Nashotah House in Wisconsin. He is the father of Lower School students, Sefton and Will Edwards, and the stepfather of John Harris in the Middle School. Fr. Edwards is glad to receive from his students as much as he hopes to give them in return.
"Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart." - Phil Jackson
Ms. Laura Portwood teaches Religion Enrichment to Pre-K, Kindergarten, First and Fifth grade students. In addition, Ms. Portwood works with the Leveled Literacy Intervention program, which is a research-based system designed to support both reading and writing development in a small group setting. Ms. Portwood has been an EHS parent for 14 years; Sara Portwood graduated in 2010 and Dell Portwood is a current 7th grade student. She previously served as a substitute teacher at EHS for four years. This school year marks her third as a full-time faculty member. She has earned a B.A. in Education from SLU. Throughout the course of the year, Ms. Portwood plans to bring each of her classes to the Chapel to explore the intricacies of the stained glass and the ornate beauty it offers.
Technology Department Overview
The Technology Department assists all three divisions and academic departments with their I.T. needs on a daily basis. The Help Desk fields a variety of questions each day from students and faculty and responds to those needs quickly. The Tech Department helps individual teachers reach their goals by incorporating technology effectively, and the department also provides custom solutions to fit the particular needs of many of the Academic Excellence programs. EHS houses over 650 computers on campus; 470 are dedicated to student access with an additional 200 Middle School netbooks. Pre-K students recently acquired a SMART Table, which allows 80 fingers to manipulate the touch-screen at once. Students practice skills like color and shape sorting through this interactive technology. Technology is found and fostered campus-wide. Students use programs like LabView in the Online Engineering course to "Robot C" for FIRST Robotics competition preparation.
The faculty recently enjoyed a very successful Technology Showcase professional development event put on by the Techonology Department. Members of the faculty led small demonstrations for their colleagues on various ways technology can positively impact teaching and learning. In addition to the incredibly helpful tips and tools participants learned, faculty enjoyed the "Cheeseburger in Paradise" theme, prize drawings, and delicious food that accompanied this event!
"I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well.” – Johannes Sebastian Bach
Mr. Brad Larpenter serves as Episcopal’s Network Administrator. He has been a member of the EHS community since 2008 and brings over 16 years experience in the computer service and support arena. Prior to coming to Episcopal, Mr. Larpenter’s computer services spanned a number of industries, including banking, manufacturing, telecommunications, education, and oil and gas. No matter the field, he approaches each challenge as an exciting new puzzle to be solved. At EHS, Mr. Larpenter enjoys working in a setting that uses computing in a variety of different disciplines. This year, he is excited to report that the 1:1 Netbook program for 6th and 7th grade students is going strong. The department has expanded the wireless networking availability to students to allow for the recent increase in student-owned devices on campus. Mr. Larpenter has performed in the faculty band on flute and baritone saxophone.
"If we teach today the way we were taught yesterday, we aren't preparing students for today or tomorrow.” ~ Ian Jukes
Ms. Michelle Chenevert serves as the Academic Technology Support Specialist for EHS. She earned a B.S. in Vocational Education and an M.A. in Educational Technology from LSU. Ms. Chenevert has been a member of the EHS community for eleven years. For ten years, she taught an Exploring Video Technology enrichment course to Middle School students. She has also formerly served as the Highstepper sponsor and Cheerleading sponsor. Ms. Chenevert notes that the Help Desk deployed around 170 netbooks to 6th and 7th grade students this summer. The team plans to deploy 80-100 more to the rising sixth grade students next school year. The department is looking forward to attending the LACUE (Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators) conference in November.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats
Middle School Technology Coordinator, Ms. Marilyn Hebert, has been a member of the EHS community for 33 years! She works closely with Middle School faculty and students on integrating technology into the curriculum. Ms. Hebert also teams up with her colleagues in the technology department to support the campus as a whole. She holds a B.B.A. and M.Ed from Lamar University and serves as a 6th grade Advisor. Ms. Hebert found the Technology Showcase to bring an energized enthusiasm to the faculty and thoroughly enjoyed all the presentations that teachers prepared. This year is the second year with netbook use in the Middle School, and Ms. Hebert is excited to continue the program. She is also hosting professional development with technology guru, Annette Lamb, who will present on using netbooks for problem, project, and inquiry-based learning.
"Festina Lente.” (“Make haste slowly.”) - Augustus Caesar
EHS welcomes Mr. Steven Latuso! Mr. Latuso serves as the IT Systems Technician. Prior to joining the EHS community, he worked with Amedisys, Inc., Sparkhound, Inc., and Louisiana Virtual School. Mr. Latuso earned a B.A. and M.B.A. from LSU. He also holds an M.A.T. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In addition to helping students and faculty on a daily basis with their tech questions, Mr. Latuso and the team are in the process of planning their work for next summer and their annual computer rotation.
|Hugh M. McIntosh
Head of School
Episcopal High School / 3200 Woodland Ridge Boulevard / Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70816 / 225-753-3180