2011-2012 Lower School Pre-K through 2nd Grade
Dear EHS Community Members,
The foundation is built in Lower School. This letter focuses on the teachers who dedicate themselves to the education and development of the youngest students, those in Pre-K through Second Grade. When I need my faith in humanity restored, I head for this part of Lower School to just be around the classrooms of these teachers. It never fails to be a beautiful and affirming sight.
The motto of Lower School---“Joy is all around”---only adds to the enjoyment of time I spend in Lower School. If you have visited, you may have enjoyed the new brightness of Lower School. On a good visit to the Lower School office, you might be offered an “Almond Joy” as tangible proof of the “Joy is all around” theme.
In the previous Math, English and Science letters, you have read a little about the Lower School program in those respective areas. Now, it is time to delve into Lower School as its own special place. With brevity in mind, we are beginning with the first four classes in Lower School (Pre-K through Second Grade). In the next letter, grades Three through Five will be addressed along with the great teachers and staff who round out the faculty and staff in Lower School.
I consider this and the next letter as a well-deserved “salute” to those whose lives are dedicated to students just beginning their educational journeys. Please join in this “salute” with me.
Ms. Shannon Spikes has welcomed Mr. Trey Veazey to Pre-K. Mr. Veazey brings his early education experience from Tupelo, MS! Mr. Veazey and Ms. Spikes work hand-in-hand to shape the development of students in Pre-K. In an effort to facilitate 21st century learning in every grade at EHS, the Pre-K classroom looks forward to integrating a Smart Table into their activities. As many as 80 fingers can touch and use a Smart Table all at once. You 'gotta' see this highly interactive Smart Table! In addition, Pre-K is kicking off fall and football with a Pep Rally for Pre-K parents during the week of Homecoming. In the spring, students will participate in a project-based recycling unit and are hoping to visit recycling centers in person or virtually. Many class visitors will be invited into the Pre-K classroom this year, including community helpers like nurses, doctors and firemen, as well as guest story time readers via Skype. Finally, Pre-K students will integrate art into their learning, as they study Kandinsky mood paintings and Eric Carle collages. Cultural Arts Festivals will allow students to immerse themselves in other cultures.
“The soul is healed by being
with children.” – English Proverb
Ms. Spikes joined the EHS faculty in 2010 and has a B.S. in Psychology from LSU as well as Pre-K – 3 Early Childhood Certification. Her energy and pleasantness have already become legends around the Lower School.
“It is not the responsibility of the teacher to let the students do whatever they want; rather, it is the responsibility of the teacher to help the students love what they have to do.”
– Maria Montessori
Mr. Veazey, known to his students as “Coach TV,” is new to the EHS faculty and has earned a B.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi and an M.Ed. from the University of Mississippi. His experience spans several levels of Elementary School, specifically Kindergarten, 2nd and 5th grade. Mr. Veazey brings his enthusiasm and interest in music to the classroom. He is a certified Elementary Education teacher in Mississippi and Louisiana is currently pursuing an Education Specialist degree from LSU.
Kindergarten students are busy taking turns being authors this year! During daily Writer’s Chair time, the “Writer for the Day” dictates a sentence that is then written on the board. These young authors are also working on rhyming skills, sight words, word families and beginning blends, which are all helping them to recognize words in a sentence. The new Reading Lofts and Smart Boards are exciting new additions.
Ms. Tryon, Ms. Berrigan and Ms. Willis make it a top priority to instill a love of school in their students. Whether students are singing, dancing, writing, illustrating, cooking or playing, they are creating a sense of community that is safe and nurturing. Kindergarten teachers provide an environment that encourages inquiry and plenty of opportunities to make friends and share. Discoveries happen on a daily basis—from learning a new song to learning that an “iris” is the colored part of your eye and the name of a flower. Watch as Kindergarten students blossom into beginning readers and writers this year!
“Life is a song!”
This is Ms. Berrigan’s 17th year at EHS, which means she celebrates the fact that half of her teaching career has been spent here at Episcopal. She holds a B.S. and M.Ed. from LSU. When it comes to life's song, she is a "virtuoso."
“Only a teacher? Thank God I have a calling to the greatest profession of all! I must be vigilant every day lest
I lose one fragile opportunity
to improve tomorrow.”
– Ivan Welton Fitzwater
Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Tryon is beginning her second year at EHS in Lower School. She holds a B.S. in General Studies from Southeastern and is currently working towards a Masters in Gifted Education. She is the Winter Cheerleading sponsor and proud mom of Alex Tryon who is currently in Ms. Shoemaker’s 3rd grade class.
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney
This year marks Ms. Willis’ 24th year teaching and her 8th year at EHS. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from LSU. Her daughter, Ashley, graduated from EHS in 2011, and her son, Matthew, is a current 8th grade student. Her quiet, calm and caring energy characterize her great work in Kindergarten.
This year in First grade, students will participate in many stimulating projects and activities. To develop reading skills, students are involved in guided reading and literacy work stations, and math skills are flourishing with the incorporation of Singapore Math. Ms. Harpole and Ms. Liles are dedicated to project-based learning, and gardening with 5th grade buddies gives students the opportunity of experiential learning. Students look forward to Pumpkins with Pops and Muffins with Moms this year. Around Halloween day, dads are invited to come to school with a pumpkin and carving tools to celebrate Pumpkins with Pops. Together, dads and students make a carving plan, scoop out the seeds, and create a jack-o-lantern for Halloween. In the spring, Muffins with Moms occurs in honor of Mother’s Day. Moms join the class for Morning Meeting and visit the class afterwards for muffins and juice. Students present their moms with a special framed photo of themselves and a book written especially for them. The class also shares a book created by the whole class, which is called, “Why Did God Make Mothers?” Finally, First grade students will take a number of field trips, visiting Global Wildlife, Blahut Strawberry Farm and Tickfaw State Park this year!
“Ms. Harpole has a special way of making her students do their best work.” – Mrs. Candy Be, mother of Lower School students, Sara
and James Be
Ms. Harpole is beginning her 16th year at Episcopal. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.A. in Education (Academically Gifted Certification) both from LSU. In addition to teaching First grade, Ms. Harpole is a Grade Level Chair, Lower School Swim Team Coordinator, Middle School Assistant Coach and is a member of the Curriculum Committee.
“You can learn many things
from children. How much patience you have, for instance.”
- Franklin P. Jones
After 23 years teaching experience in East Baton Rouge Parish School System, Ms. Liles joined EHS in 1997.
She is also responsible for Storytime, which includes Shared Language, Literature and Poetry for all of First grade. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and M.Ed. from LSU.
Second grade students are on the move! Already this year, Second grade students, along with their 4th grade “buddies,” visited George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog exhibit. Upon returning, 4th grade students painted their own “Blue Dogs” with Ms. Keith in art class and 2nd grade drew and colored their creations in class. All artwork is currently hanging in the Greer Center and 2nd grade classrooms, so please check out their work!
Second grade will start their unit called “Living Things Grow and Change” with a close look at the animal kingdom. Students will read nonfiction texts and investigate fish, feathers, owl pellets and more. They will create a power point about an animal they choose to learn about, and they will end the unit with a trip to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans!
“Children are a blessing from
God that we have the pleasure
of watching grow.”
This year marks Ms. Burns 20th at EHS. Ms. Burns has students in her class from Japan, Bulgaria and Scotland! She has a B.S. from LSU.
“God gives everyone
a special gift or talent.”
Ms. Crousillac has been a member of the EHS faculty for 15 years. She teaches Second grade and is also a Grade Level Representative in addition to being in charge of Morning Extended Care. Her daughter, Cole Crousillac, is a current 7th grade student at EHS. Ms. Crousillac holds a B.S. and M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from LSU and is also a National Board Certified teacher.
“Use your words to build people up not knock them down.”
Ms. Dorris first joined EHS in 1995 and left in 1998 when her first child was born. She returned in 2007 when her youngest child started Kindergarten. Her daughter, Larkin, is a current 4th grade student, and her daughter, Mckenzie, is a current 8th grade student. Ms. Dorris earned a B.S. from LSU in 1990.
“Always keep an open mind and
a compassionate heart.”
– Phil Jackson
Ms. Portwood provides very important enrichment opportunities for Lower School students. She 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. Ms. Portwood looks forward to working with 5th grade on a Pinwheels for Peace play project. Ms. Keith and Ms. Portwood are helping students put together a play for Lower School, which will be performed on September 20. This performance will demonstrate the idea of peace and will prepare Lower School students for the International Day of Peace celebration on September 21.
Next week, please look for the second Lower School installment, which will feature Third, Fourth and Fifth grade faculty. An additional joy of Lower School is the faculty who serve as enrichment teachers in the arts, religion, physical education, foreign languages, computers and library. Jennifer Keith, Chaplain deGravelles, Heidi Hebert, Carolina Ruiz, Miriam Segovia, Steve Baronich and Susan Chew will be featured in their respective departments in the upcoming weeks.
|Hugh M. McIntosh
Head of School
Episcopal High School | 3200 Woodland Ridge Boulevard | Baton Rouge, LA 70816 | 225-753-3180www.ehsbr.org