Curriculum & Instruction, Librarians, College Counselors, Counselors, and School Nurse: Professional Strengths
Dear EHS Community Members,
Students need--and thrive on--support and affinity from school staff members outside the academic classrooms and sports undertakings. Episcopal has retained and attracted excellent and energetic professionals who support EHS students. From the beginning of my time at EHS, these support service areas have received my attention. In both last year and this year, steps have been taken to strengthen and support those areas.
I hope you will sense this strengthening and support as you read about these important areas of school life:
- Curriculum and Instruction
- College Counselors
- School Nurse
Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Jewel Reuter
"I think, therefore I am." - René Descartes
Dr. Jewel Reuter, since her arrival a few weeks after I showed up in June 2010, has led Episcopal in making and implementing important alterations in curriculum and instruction. Her
doctorate from LSU in Curriculum and Instruction has come in very handy! The same is true of her classroom career pre-Katrina as a Science teacher at Jesuit High School of New Orleans and later, her development of various virtual learning and instructional strategies for students and teachers. Dr. Reuter has brought a strong element of order and alignment in her first year. She has, also, worked very closely with me in developing an orderly understanding of Episcopal's student body and in attracting talented teachers and staff to Episcopal. In addition to her Ph.D. from LSU, Dr. Reuter holds a B.S. from Newcomb College and an M.A. from Tulane University.
Dr. Reuter, one of the hardest working and most dedicated people I have met (including lawyers in my big law firm days!), has contributed to the success of students and faculty across a broad front. For example, she has helped identify and carry out many Academic Excellence Fund projects, interfacing between teachers and donors. More recently, she has provided mentoring to Episcopal's unique "Instigator & Inquirist." Her work bringing NuVu's studio innovations to Episcopal, including the 2011 summer camp, is legend. Professional development on critical thinking and related areas will serve Episcopal well for years.
Of all the greatly appreciated improvements the Academic Excellence Fund donors have brought to Episcopal, Dr. Reuter stands out. She has been highly instrumental in academic progress and stability at Episcopal. We have a robust agenda going forward. I can hardly wait to see what happens next in "Curriculum and Instruction."
Brenda Brock, Library Director
EHS welcomes Ms. Brenda Brock, a Shreveport native, who comes to us from Lakeside School in Seattle, Washington--Bill Gates' and Paul Allen's high school! There she spent most of her career chairing the Library department and serving students in grades 5-12. At EHS, the Aldrich Library, which serves Middle and Upper School students, is in the process of undergoing exciting changes. In order to facilitate 21st century learning, Ms. Brock aims to make the library a more student-friendly environment by creating "Literary Lounges"--places where students can comfortably collaborate with one another. Part of the plans to create these literary lounges (one for Middle School students and one for Upper School students) includes the search for the right furniture that is conducive to student comfort while they work. Ms. Brock has formed two library committees made up of Middle School and Upper School students who have been instrumental in voicing ideas about a productive and desirable library atmosphere. A significant part of the library changes includes transferring the nonfiction selection, computers and databases upstairs to make room for the student learning commons downstairs. One of Ms. Brock's first priorities is to cultivate relationships with students so that she can continue to build and adapt a library that takes into account students' natural behaviors and needs. She has quite a laudable record of integrating library research and other assets in collaboration with classroom teaching.
In addition, Aldrich Library has three Kindles (and could use a few more) that are in circulation for student use. These exciting modifications are all a part of Ms. Brock's goal to maintain a student-friendly library. I see and sense a student-friendly library atmosphere which generates attention to school work.
"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." - Margaret Fuller
Library Director, Brenda Brock, received a B.A. and Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington. She feels that a school's library should be a place for "one-stop shopping," as students find and use materials that are relevant to their continued learning. Ms. Brock is excited to work directly with students, as she believes that it is a librarian's responsibility to help students translate and manage the information they find. Her collaboration with students will allow them to understand fully that communication is essential for life-long local and global participation. In addition to her role as Librarian, Ms. Brock serves as the sponsor for Umoja (Swahili for "Unity"). This group is made up of a diverse student base that seeks to promote meaningful dialogue about race in our community and world. The group welcomes any student who wants to participate. The group plans to send four students to the People of Color Conference in December. Ms. Brock also serves as the Junior Class Advisor.
"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Mahatma Gandhi
Assistant Librarian, Nancy Kramm, holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. She has worked at EHS since 2007, though she has been an EHS parent for 15 years! Her daughter, Elizabeth, graduated in 2009, and Natalie, her second child, is a current junior. Ms. Kramm finds Aldrich Library a vibrant place to be and is excited to help promote a library environment that is conducive to inquiry-based discoveries.
Susan Chew, Librarian
Susan Chew established the Pollard Library at EHS in 1988 and has overseen the technological advances in the library for the past 23 years! Located in the Lower School, it serves Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade students. Ms. Chew aims to provide a rich collection of books and materials to meet the needs of all students in the Lower School. It is her goal to teach information skills to students and assist them in furthering their reading skills. Ms. Chew finds each new school year to bring an exciting learning curve as she adapts library practices and skills to fit students' current learning needs and 21st century demands.
“The more you read, the more you know, the more you learn, the more places you'll go." – Dr. Seuss
This year begins Susan Chew's 28th at EHS! Prior to becoming the Pollard Library Librarian, Ms. Chew taught 6th grade English. She received a B.A. in English Education from Louisiana Tech University and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from LSU. Her daughter, Ellen, earned an Honors Diploma from EHS in 1994. Ms. Chew's professional accolades reach far beyond Pollard Library, but no doubt affect her work with young students. She has served as chair of the Modisette Award Committee of the Louisiana Library Association and on the Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award Committee. She contributes regularly to School Library Activities Monthly and is a frequent presenter for the Louisiana Library Association Conferences. Because libraries have changed so much in the past few years and continue to change at a rapid rate, Ms. Chew is excited to be immersed in these changes. She emphasizes project-based learning at every level in Lower School and is even circulating one Kindle to students!
Episcopal has three full-time College Counselors, Ms. Jody Kennard, Ms. Kyra Young, and Mr. Xander Subashi. In the 2009-2010 school year, EHS had only one College Counselor. Our three Counselors work within a cohesive 8-12th grade program to increase gradually students’ and families’ knowledge of and familiarity with the realm of college admissions and college financial aid. This fall the office has transitioned to electronic application management and paperless document submission to colleges, which has greatly improved the ease and efficiency of the college application process both for students and counselors. In general, the College Counseling office seeks to function on a high level of technological fluency through Naviance, the online college counseling software, The College Word, a weekly e-newsletter for parents of current counselees, and the College Counseling page of the EHS website, which contains a variety of resources and useful links. The office has recently installed a large white board outside their office for students to write comments, ask questions, and share good news. The Counselors check it daily and often respond by writing back. In order to stay abreast of changes in the college admissions field, the College Counselors actively engage in professional development and usually attend two national conferences and at least one college tour for counselors per year.
I expect the Episcopal College Counselors to have an extremely close and productive relationship with LSU and other schools that allow for TOPS qualifications. Additionally, the Counselors are great resources for parents who desire information and perspective about paying for college anywhere. We aspire to be and remain--without doubt--the most comprehensive and effective college counseling operation in Louisiana.
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you are." - e.e. cummings
Co-Director of College Counseling, Jody Kennard, has been a part of the EHS community since 2005. She holds a B.S. in Education from the University of Vermont, where she double majored in French and English. She is the Senior Class Sponsor, as well as a Junior Advisor. Ms. Kennard's two sons are EHS graduates. Kenny Sheldon graduated in 2007 and is currently majoring in Studio Art and minoring in Art History and Latin at Rhodes College. Her son, Ricky Sheldon, graduated in 2009 and attends Princeton where he is majoring in English and running track. Ms. Kennard looks forward to sharing in seniors' joy when they receive their college acceptances, getting to know junior students as they begin their college search process, and working with freshmen and sophomores later in the school year.
"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." - Malcolm S. Forbes
Along with Ms. Kennard, Kyra Young--a Baton Rouge native--is the Co-Director of College Counseling. She has earned a B.A. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Masters of Public Administration from LSU. Before joining the College Counseling department at EHS last year, she worked for Hamilton College in New York as Associate Dean of Admission/Director of Diversity Recruitment and for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as Assistant Director of Admissions. Ms. Young finds each new school year exciting because each graduating class is so unique. This year, she is particularly looking forward to active student engagement in the college search process. The office has implemented fun giveaways of college paraphernalia (t-shirts, mugs, etc.) to encourage students to conduct a thorough college search, which includes campus visits, Naviance updates, and meetings with the Counselors.
"I'm on the threshold. I see vast lands of the spirit stretching out before me, beckoning, and I'm eager to travel them." - Larry of The Razor's Edge, W. Somerset Maugham
Xander Subashi is in his third year at Episcopal, and he became a full-time College Counselor this fall. He also serves as Assistant Boys Varsity Soccer Coach, 11th grade Advisor, Student Council sponsor, club sponsor for Acceptance Alliance, Cheese Club, and Paintball Club, and on-call Eucharistic minister. In his first two years, Mr. Subashi balanced teaching Latin in Middle and Upper Schools with College Counseling and coaching soccer. His "day job" is now 100% in College Counseling, with continued after hours dedication to soccer coaching. After attending The Miami Valley School in Ohio for fourteen years, Mr. Subashi earned his B.A. from Haverford College with a double major in Latin and Greek. As a College Counselor this year, Mr. Subashi is excited to help students find a college that not only suits their interests and needs but, more significantly, that provides for them opportunities to build intellectually upon their Episcopal education, cultivate an appreciation of beauty, and grow as humans and scholars.
Counselors and the Learning Support Services Program (LSS)
Counselors Sara LeBlanc, Simone Marcantel, and Nicole Pinson work together across divisions and with Alicia Kelly (Learning Support Services Coordinator) to create a collaborative and supportive Counseling team. These four Counselors work together on school wide initiatives, such as substance abuse prevention, bullying/harassment policies and programs, and the annual parent/counselor book study. This year the group is reading The Blessing of a B Minus. Counselors, Ms. LeBlanc, Ms. Marcantel, and Ms. Pinson are responsible for the social and emotional counseling of students in their division, which includes individual and group counseling, coordination with teachers on the students' behalf, leading advisory programs, planning parent and student programs and speakers, and helping with retreats. In addition, these Counselors support the LSS program under Ms. Kelly's direction.
The LSS program has officially expanded to Lower School. While Lower School teachers have supported students with learning needs in the past, the program is now officially established in grades 3-12. Because 3rd grade is the year students begin taking standardized tests like ERB, extended time is an important accommodation for students with learning differences. Bringing the program to Lower School allows Ms. Kelly and faculty to offer consistent support for students. In addition to in-class support, speech therapists and tutors are made available to students outside the classroom. Identifying students with learning differences at a young age can be advantageous to supporting their long term success. In the LSS program, information about student needs is shared through Student Education Plans. The parent support group called Parents' U-Knighted was created for parents with students who have ADHD/learning differences. This group gives parents a renewed hope and optimism for their students and encourages working together as a school community for the most positive student outcomes. Finally, the LSS program has acquired a number of new assistive technology resources, including Kurzweil, a software program that reads digital text and offers note-taking and study tools, Audible.com, an online audiobook subscription that gives reading support to students with dyslexia, Dragon Dictate, a program that helps students with writing difficulties get their ideas down on paper by dictation, and other online applications that support learning.
The success of the Counseling department must also be attributed to the leadership and dedication of Lucy Smith, who, in addition to being Head of Middle School, coordinates the important work of the Counselors.
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
Ms. Sara LeBlanc is new to the EHS community this year and serves as the Lower School Counselor. She has earned a B.A. in History and a Masters in Social Work from LSU and is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Before joining the Lower School, Ms. LeBlanc was a School Based Therapist with Capital Area Human Services District at Melrose Elementary School for seven years. There, she provided individual, group, and family counseling to children with emotional or behavioral disorders. Ms. LeBlanc actually attended EHS as a student from 5th-7th grade! She also did an internship at EHS while in graduate school. She is happy to be back working in such a supportive and involved community. Contrasted with recent past Lower School practice, Ms. LeBlanc does not have a daily classroom teaching commitment. This frees her to use her time attending to the needs of Lower School students and parents.
"People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel." - Unknown
Middle School Counselor, Ms. Simone Marcantel, has been a counselor at EHS since 2000. She holds a B.A. and Masters in Social Work from LSU and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Ms. Marcantel is the Advisory Program Coordinator for Middle School, Academic/LSS Counselor for 6th and 7th grade students, Social/Emotional Counselor for 6th-8th grade students, and she also teaches study skills to 6th grade students through the Aids to Better Grades course. This year, Ms. Marcantel has a number of exciting initiatives in the works. She is talking about tolerance, bullying, cyber-bullying and conflict resolution in Middle School classes and is also coordinating visits by psychologists who will speak to EHS parents, as well as other Episcopal day school parents, about responsible use of technology and how to monitor their child's use. She will also participate in the Teen Empowerment retreat for 7th grade.
"Happiness cannot be pursued, it can only ensue."
EHS welcomes Ms. Nicole Pinson, Upper School Counselor! She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado and an M.A. in Counseling from Louisiana Tech University. She has also earned a Post-Masters Certificate in Clinical Community Counseling from Johns Hopkins University. In addition to Upper School Counseling, Ms. Pinson is the Film Club Sponsor. She is excited to work with the other divisions and Ms. Kelly to formalize the Learning Support Services program across campus. Ms. Pinson actively provides resources and support to Upper School Advisors and will use the Advisory program this year to incorporate prevention measures for various mental health issues.
"Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration." - Thomas Edison
Learning Support Services Coordinator and Counselor, Ms. Alicia Kelly, is beginning her 10th year at EHS. She has a B.S. and M.H.S. (Masters in Health Sciences) in Rehabilitation Counseling from LSU. She is also a Certified School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor. Ms. Kelly's son, Peter, is a current 3rd grade student, and her daughter, Libbie, is in 1st grade. In addition to her role as LSS Coordinator and Counselor, she is the Team Spirit High School Group Sponsor. This group of students attends a leadership conference and supports substance abuse prevention efforts in school settings. She is a 9th grade Advisor and coordinates tutoring at EHS, which consists of both professional tutors and student tutors who earn community service hours by assisting their peers. Ms. Kelly is excited to continue facilitating the OYES (Owning Your Educational Success Group) group, which is made up of 9th-12th grade students with learning differences/ADHD. This year, OYES students are focusing on how they learn best and how to communicate their learning styles with teachers. Their goal is to leave EHS self-aware and ready to advocate for their needs in college. The group plans to continue working with Metairie Park Country Day School's OYES group through Skype and a potential field trip. Starting this school year, Ms. Kelly will be in active partnership with Ms. LeBlanc working with 3rd-5th grade students who receive LSS services. Importantly, each division counselor will assist Ms. Kelly in addressing the needs of LSS students in their respective divisions. In the early going, this new approach has been well received.
"Those who deserve love the least need it the most."
Nurse Lynda Stockinger has been a Licensed Practical Nurse in Louisiana for the past 26 years and a member of the EHS community since 1989 (22 years!). Before coming to Episcopal, Ms. Stockinger worked in Family Practice and Pediatrics. Her three children, David, Lyndsi, and Jacob, all attended EHS. From "bobos and Bandaids" to flu shots and head lice checks, there is never a dull moment in the school infirmary! One of the most recent "exciting" events occurred on the first day of school when Fr. Skully was officially welcomed to campus with a bee sting on his ear! While the circumstances that bring us to the infirmary aren't always pleasant, it is comforting to be in the care of Nurse Stockinger. Looking ahead to the fall and winter seasons, Ms. Stockinger will provide flu shots to all faculty and staff on October 12. When she is not caring for our EHS community in the infirmary, you can find Ms. Stockinger collecting money and passes at EHS Varsity Football games. She is also involved in the press box for all JV and Varsity Baseball games and helps in the VPAC box office for plays, dance performances, and band concerts. She and her husband served as the EHS Squires President couple from 1995-1996. Ms. Stockinger enjoys volunteering on the Senior Retreat and various fieldtrips, as well as finding community service activities for Upper School students. In the summer, Ms. Stockinger, an expert gardener, is a reliable source of beautiful tomatoes.
Next week, please find the letter featuring an exceptionally active department: Physical Education!
Hugh M. McIntosh
Head of School
Episcopal High School | 3200 Woodland Ridge Boulevard | Baton Rouge, LA 70816 | 225-753-3180www.ehsbr.org