2011-2012 Social Studies Department: Professional Strengths
                                                                                         
Dear EHS Community Members,
 
What is the strong attraction we all have to learning history? Is it because, boiled down, history is all about us; is it because we are reading the prologue to our own story? Practically, we accept the thought that not knowing history condemns us to repeat it! This past weekend, neighborhood voters came to Episcopal to vote, reminding me of the importance of learning about government and our duties as citizens. I embrace the idea that what we may start off labeling as "History" very quickly morphs and broadens into "Social Studies." Episcopal teachers play a critical role in preparing students for college and "purposeful" lives, and the Social Studies faculty is no different as they bring direct and relevant real-world connections to the classroom.
 
The Social Studies team is an energetic and enthusiastic one as referenced by the department photos. Middle School teacher, James McCrary, constructed a green screen in his classroom that allowed each faculty member to transport themselves to time periods and interesting historic landmarks!
Upper School Social Studies

Upper School faculty are engaging in a more world-centered curriculum this year. Next year, EHS will offer a new AP World History course that will be available to selected 9th graders, which means that the department will offer at least one AP level course from 9th through 12th grade. The World History elective course recently signed up to engage in a global classroom project. They will partner with an international school and participate in a number of joint projects together.
 
The faculty has also become active in attending workshops and webinars from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to develop additional teaching strategies and to have access to the foundation’s carefully crafted and engaging teaching materials. Recently, some teachers, along with Dr. Jewel Reuter, participated in the Bringing History to Life with Biographies Workshop in Baton Rouge to learn how to use facsimile objects to tell the story of a variety of peoples from different social, economic, and political levels of 18th century society.  Each teacher received a “Hands-On History Kit” to use with their students. They also participated in the Colonial Williamsburg: The Great Debate: Encouraging Civil Discourse Webinar with schools from across the United States and look forward to future workshops and professional development.
Episcopal’s Upper School Social Studies Faculty
 
 
 
 
"Sapere Aude! [dare to know] 'Have the courage to use your own understanding!' -- that is the motto of enlightenment." - Immanuel Kant
 
Interim Social Studies Department Chair, Ms. Robyn Andermann teaches 9th grade World History and 12th grade AP European History. She also teaches 8th grade Advanced Improvisation. Ms. Andermann received a B.A. in History from Vanderbilt University and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction/Social Studies Education from Loyola University of Chicago. In addition to her roles teaching and serving as Department Chair, she is a Faculty Advisor for Model United Nations. This is Ms. Andermann's 8th year at EHS. A significant portion of her earlier career was spent teaching in international schools, so she aims to bring the world to her students through her courses. This year, her students are partnering with the French Department to create an 18th century Enlightenment Salon. For this project, students will appear as historical characters and argue a particular point of view. World History students will participate in a musical to bring history to life. With this project, students parody popular songs and replace the words with details about a particular historical topic.
 
 
 
 
“Questioning is learning.”

Mr. James Hood joins us after a twenty-year teaching career in East Baton Rouge Parish schools, including Glen Oaks, Broadmoor, and McKinley High School. At EHS, he teaches AP Government and U.S. Politics (11th and 12th grade) and United States History (10th and 11th grade). He has earned a B.S. in American History and Social Sciences Education and an M.S. in American History from Illinois State University. Mr. Hood also holds an M.L.I.S. in School Media and Ed.S. in Gifted Education from LSU. Mr. Hood encourages students to explore beyond mere rote memorization. He strives to teach the story of the U.S. in such a way that when his students’ children and grandchildren ask them a question many years from now, they can respond with an accurate and relevant answer. “I sincerely believe we need to teach for today, but more importantly for tomorrow, tomorrow’s tomorrow and beyond,” Mr. Hood says. He often uses the Socratic method as a way to engage students in the course concepts.
 
 
 
 
“Don’t judge, learn.”

Ms. Tassin joins the EHS faculty this year and teaches AP U.S. History (10th and 11th grade), United States History (10th and 11th grade) and The World Since World War II (12th grade). Though she has earned a B.S.F.S in International History from Georgetown University and an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, Ms. Tassin's most recent studies are from the University of Texas at Austin where she received an M.A. in History and is expected to earn a Ph.D. in History by May of 2012. In addition to teaching, Ms. Tassin is involved in the St. Francis Society and Mock Trial. She notes that this year students can look forward to term papers, discussion, student presentations, movies, and music. Ms. Tassin is a graduate of Isidore Newman School in New Orleans and most recently comes to us after teaching there in an interim role.
 
 
 
 
“Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; but today well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”

This year marks Mr. Coco’s 35th at EHS! He teaches 9th grade Western Civilization and 10th and 11th grade American History. Mr. Coco has a B.S. in Social Studies and M.Ed. in Guidance and Psychology from LSU. He is also the 5th and 6th grade Football coach. This year in Mr. Coco’s classroom, students will establish an understanding of cause and effect relationships by exploring how decisions have been made over time. This will also lead to discussions of how to make better decisions by looking beyond the immediate.
 
 
 
"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand." - Milton Friedman
 
Head of Upper School, Mr. Jeff Brock, teaches Macroeconomics and Civics this year to 11th and 12th grade students. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Social Studies Certification from LSU, as well as an M.Ed in Educational Administration from the University of New Orleans. He aims to open his students' eyes to processes involved in developing an economy and some of the pitfalls that come along in that process. Mr. Brock joined Episcopal four years ago after a storied career in New Orleans--primarily at the Isidore Newman School--where he served as football coach, Social Studies teacher, and administrator.

Middle School Social Studies
 
Middle School Social Studies classes are enjoying using the project-based “History Alive!” curriculum this year, which promotes activities and experiential learning, rather than mere memorization. The curriculum includes an online textbook and addresses all learning styles and multiple intelligences while emphasizing technology. Middle School Social Studies teachers are moving away from lecture and traditional teaching formats and are encouraging students to use their prior knowledge to engage and interact with the material. Social Studies faculty are finding this process helpful for students to see the relevance of their studies.
 
All Middle School Social Studies teachers attended a Pre-AP workshop this summer to increase the rigor of their curriculum. The 8th grade World Geography course is now a high school level course, and students will receive high school credit for it. In addition to the workshop, the faculty spent time "vertically aligning" their curriculum so that there is similar language and assessment style between the three grade levels. The students will benefit from consistency and shared goals as they move from one grade level to the next.
 
Episcopal’s Middle School Social Studies Faculty
 
 
 
"The most effective way to do it, is to do it." - Amelia Earhart
 
Eighth grade World Geography teacher, Ms. Kathleen DaQuanno first began teaching at EHS in 2003. She spent several years serving as the Department Chair. This year, 8th grade World Geography counts for a high school credit and the new curriculum is helping students strive toward their AP and SAT goals. Ms. DaQuanno has a B.S. from LSU, and in addition to teaching, she is also the 8th grade class sponsor. Ms. DaQuanno says that the Amelia Earhart quoatation above is how she approaches her professional life and classroom teaching.
 
 
 
 
"No matter how long I live there will never be a dull moment." - Harriet Doerr
 
EHS welcomes Mr. Jimmy Williams back to campus! A 1997 Episcopal alum, Mr. Williams went on to earn a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development from the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. This year, he teaches 7th grade American History and looks forward to implementing new and exciting group projects. Students are creating sports franchises from the 13 colonies while gathering important information on the formation of our nation. Mr. Williams brings his NFL football experience to the EHS field as Varsity Football Defensive coordinator. He is also the Middle School Baseball coordinator.
 
 
 
 
“…quae facilia ex difficillimis animi magnitude redegerat.”(“…greatness of spirit rendered these things easy, although in themselves very difficult.”) –Caesar

Mr. James McCrary is new to the EHS faculty this year and joins us most recently from Woodlawn Middle School. He teaches 6th grade Social Studies and is also the Drum Corps instructor. Mr. McCrary earned a B.A. in History Secondary Education from LSU. He notes that Middle School Social Studies is moving away from simple memorization and towards active learning to facilitate higher order thinking. In Mr. McCrary’s words, this “…basically means we get to play with cool activities!” Already this year, 6th grade students in Mr. McCrary’s class have done everything from study art and discuss its relation to history to cave activities and playing with spears in the quad!
 
 
Next, please look for the letter featuring our very talented Arts department!
Sincerely,


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