2011-2012 English Department: Professional Strengths
                                                                                         
Dear EHS Community Members,
 
This week I am pleased to feature the outstanding work of the English Department. As I shared last week, the Class of 2011 students hit 100% on the ACT College Readiness Scale for English, a true testament to the rigorous and meaningful instruction provided by our English faculty. This quality instruction begins in Lower School and moves up the ranks to Middle and Upper School. Renowned poet, Naomi Shihab Nye, will visit EHS in November, providing a highlight in the English area this fall. I look forward to this opportunity for our English faculty and students to interact with my friend, Naomi. A command of “Language Arts” is foundational for a life of learning; at EHS we are keenly aware of the core value wrapped up in the EHS English teachers and curriculum.
 
Upper School English Overview
  
In Upper School, teachers are working creatively to develop divergent, critical thinkers and are using literary content to challenge students to think uniquely. Ninth graders experience a reading and writing workshop offering lots of opportunities for informal and formal writing. Tenth graders are learning more formal literary analysis and deepening their writing experience through surveying American literature. Eleventh graders are adding a sophisticated polish to their skills through developing their own course, blogging, and thematic projects exploring “Heroes” and “Villains” in British Literature. Seniors have the opportunity to refine what they have learned over the past few years by studying special subjects. Collaboration across classes and self-directed projects are just a few things occurring in twelfth grade this year.
 
Dr. Karin deGravelles has joined us to engage and work with reading skills across campus. Among all grades, independent reading and the life-long pursuit of reading are in for greater emphasis. The Summer Reading program was in effect this summer, promoting choice, challenge and the encouragement of critical thinking. English teachers understand that reading over the summer is highly beneficial to student success during the next school year. Through the program, students are given a choice when picking their books, which contributes toward the lifelong acquisition of literacy skills and a love for reading. All Middle and Upper School English teachers have created a “For Parents” section on their course pages that will better explain approaches to reading and writing; it will also offer answers to frequently asked questions and serve as a guide for where to find information.
Episcopal’s Upper School English Faculty
 
 
 
"Don’t worry about the points.
 Do the work. If you worry more about the process of learning, the added benefits are that you learn something, and the points will come along, too.”

This is Ms. Duke’s sixth year at EHS. She teaches English III (11th grade), African American Literature (12th grade) and Drama as Literature (12th grade). Ms. Duke is the English Department Chair, PSAT Practice Test proctor and is also involved with the Debate Club. Her junior classes take a “studio” approach to English as students develop their own syllabus and choose texts read in class. This requires students to research British literature, history and culture and engage in literacy criticism. In African American Literature, seniors will develop their own reading list, and the entire course will be project-based as students develop and explore their own philosophical questions. Seniors in Drama as Literature study major works of dramatic literature and engage in a wide variety of projects. Some interesting projects include the Everyman allegorical puppet show and student created guerilla theater developed from studying African political theater. Ms. Duke has earned a B.A. from the University of Southern Mississippi and an M.A. in Literature from Temple University. She is the proud mom of EHS fifth grader, Ian Duke.
 
Gladly would she learn and gladly teach.” – Chaucer
 
Ms. Edwards is beginning her 31st year at EHS! She teaches English I (9th grade) and English IV: Shakespeare (12th grade) in the fall. In the spring she teaches English IV: AP Literature & Composition (12th grade). Ms. Edwards earned a B.A. from Baylor University and a M.Ed. from LSU. Both of her sons graduated from EHS. She is also the Freshman class sponsor. Ms. Edwards’ classroom is on the most frequently visited list by alums returning to campus, which is a testimony to her genuine caring for students so far. This year, Ms. Edwards is particularly excited to see her freshman students' creative responses to Lord of the Flies, which will take various forms like poems, songs, dances and dioramas. Her senior students can look forward to character tattoos and scene performances in her Shakespeare course!
 
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
– Aristotle
 
 Mr. McElveen joins the English faculty this year and comes to us most recently from False River Academy. At EHS, Mr. McElveen teaches English II: American Literature (10th grade), English III: AP Language and Composition (11th grade) and English IV: Comedy (12th grade). In addition to teaching, Mr. McElveen will serve as advisor for the literary magazine. He holds a B.A. in English Education from Southeastern Louisiana University. This year in English III AP, students can look forward to “The Soundtrack Essay” assignment, in which they choose songs that narrate their lives. In English IV: Comedy, students will teach a unit on comedy at the end of the semester using a play, novel or script of their choosing. Students will also compose their own pieces of comedy, which Mr. McElveen hopes to share with the larger EHS community.
 
“Points don’t matter.
Learning does.”  
 
This year, Mr. Engholm teaches English III (11th grade), English IV: Modernism (12th grade), English IV: Blockbusters (12th grade), and Honors Seminar (11th grade). He’s been a part of the EHS faculty since 2008 and is the Director of the Honors Diploma Program. Mr. Engholm holds a B.A. in English from the University of Central Arkansas and an M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky. This year, English III will use a heroes and villains theme to facilitate their study of archetypal characters throughout British Literature and will also weave in studio and workshop type projects. English IV: Blockbusters will design their own course syllabus and teach the primary film texts to each other. English IV: Modernism will join with Ms. Kirschner’s Science and Fiction course for a unit in the spring that explores the origins of that modern genre.
 
“The mind is not a vessel to
be filled but a fire to be
kindled.” – Plutarch  
 
Ms. Kirschner has been a part of the EHS faculty since 2008. She teaches 10th grade American Literature, 12th grade Poetry (fall) and 12th grade Science and Fiction (spring). Ms. Kirschner is also the Sophomore class co-sponsor, ukulele and improv comedy club sponsor and is a costume designer for theater and dance performances. She holds a B.F.A in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and an M.F.A in Creative Writing (Creative Non-Fiction) from LSU. This year, Ms. Kirschner is looking forward to reading incredible books with her classes and welcoming Naomi Shihab Nye to campus in November.
 
“Acts of reading deeply, like
the acts of cultivating, nurturing, and tending that are part of gardening, generate knowledge that transcends the acts themselves.”  - Dennis Sumara 
 
Dr. deGravelles recently earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from LSU and joins the EHS community as an English I teacher (9th grade). She will also serve as Reading Consultant for the school, in which she will support, promote and celebrate reading at EHS. In this role Dr. deGravelles will also coordinate and generate literacy resources for teachers, plan professional development opportunities and engage in reading activities with students. Along with a B.A. in English from Reed College and an M.A. in English from LSU, Dr. deGravelles has had interesting college teaching opportunities, including teaching writing program courses, Research and Reflective Practice for student teachers and Holmes interns in the Education department, and courses for undergraduate science majors in LA-STEM and HHMI programs.
 
Middle School English Overview
 
Middle School has adopted an individualized approach to independent reading across all grades. Students experience writing and reading conferences with their teachers, promoting literacy, lifelong reading, and self-reflection. Middle School English teachers have also incorporated daily writing in their classes to give students much-needed, low pressure practice. You will notice that student “voice” is particularly nurtured in Middle School English courses, as students have an opportunity to write and share original pieces of writing. The 1:1 netbook program has provided our 6th and 7th graders with effective tools for facilitating the writing process. Our 8th graders are enjoying improved access to similar technology in a netbook cart in their English classroom and in our Middle School computer lab.
 
Episcopal’s Middle School English Faculty
 
 
 

“Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist intended.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne
 
Ms. Milligan teaches 8th grade English and has been at EHS since 1998. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.Ed. in Secondary English from LSU. This year in her classes, she is particularly excited for students to discover their writing voices through their writer’s notebooks, and 8th grade students will participate in a cross-curricular project second semester. Students will also write well-researched feature articles with the goal to publish them!
 
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi
  
Ms. Riley has been a member of our EHS community since 2008. She teaches 7th grade English and looks forward the first year with 7th graders using netbooks. Ms. Riley is also excited to continue the snack project in the Middle School and students are already excelling in their self-paced Wordly Wise vocabulary work. Seventh grade students are also taking the correlating assessments on-line using Quiz Star, which they find enjoyable. Ms. Riley attended EHS as a Middle School student herself and went on to earn a B.A. in English from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and an M.S. in Education from Loyola University in New Orleans.
 
 “A person who won’t read has no advantage over the person who can’t read.” – Mark Twain
 
Ms. Guarisco teaches 6th grade English and has taught at EHS since 2004. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.Ed. in English Education from LSU and is the proud mom of EHS third grader, Parker Rose Guarisco. In addition to teaching, Ms. Guarisco is the Key Club Builders sponsor. This year in 6th grade English, students will study the archetype of the hero throughout the year, both in Greek and Roman mythology and in contemporary literature. She is particularly excited about the annual Poetry Café event, which is a venue for students to share original and published works.

“Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist intended.” –Nathaniel Hawthorne
 
Ms. Milligan teaches 8th grade English and has been at EHS since 1998. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.Ed. in Secondary English from LSU. This year in her classes, she is particularly excited for students to discover their writing voices through their writer’s notebooks, and 8th grade students will participate in a cross-curricular project second semester. Students will also write well-researched feature articles with the goal to publish them!
 
 
Lower School English Overview
 
Look for the official, full and revealing Lower School stand-alone feature in the upcoming weeks.  In the meantime, note some of the exciting things that are developing the language arts in Lower School. In third grade, students are using a variety of touchstone books as read alouds to kick start student writing. They look forward to writing and publishing personal narratives and will use a variety of picture books to generate ideas about personal narratives. Lower school students practice being captivating storytellers and talk about how attract an audience through successful writing and storytelling techniques. More to come on Lower School soon.
Sincerely,


Hugh M. McIntosh
Head of School
Episcopal High School | 3200 Woodland Ridge Boulevard | Baton Rouge, LA 70816 | 225-753-3180
www.ehsbr.org