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Eight ESD students were recently invited to participate in the second annual Dallas Young Artist Exhibition presented by BluePrint Gallery. This exhibition showcases Dallas' top high school artists across mediums. ESD also had eight students invited to the inaugural exhibit last year.

Juniors Ellie Bass, Elle Etcheverry, Olivia Hagge, Lizzie Kelley, Hadley Mattocks, and Sumner Wooldridge and seniors Biz Newsom and Sofia Weinstein created works ranging from watercolor to ceramic sculptures to photography.

Congratulations to these artists on such an honor! 

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Last year during plans of moving ESD's Lower School onto their main Merrell Road campus, three Student Advisory Councils were formed to envision what it would be like having all three divisions together. While most of the work focused on how to accommodate another division on campus, one council focused on how to connect the divisions with a new tradition. 

ESD’s traditions are integral to the community; ceremonies like Pass It On, uniting Middle and Upper School divisions, are key experiences in the ESD student’s life. As they welcomed the Lower School to this campus, these Advisory Councils brainstormed a new tradition that would encompass the same thought for rising Lower School students. 

Similar to seniors 'passing it on' to rising eighth-graders, each ninth-grade student will pin a fifth-grader in the new "Pin It On" tradition. “We considered the importance of the transition from lower to middle school and the new experiences and privileges that come with it," said Christian King '19, who played an instrumental role in moving this initiative forward. "We considered the meaning behind the importance of individual class unity and the camaraderie that matures as students grow. We considered the important significance of instilling in each student a sense of pride for their class and for their school. Most importantly, we considered what it means to share in the ESD identity.”

The pins fifth-graders received were designed by members of the ninth grade class last year. The design is specific to the Classes of 2023 and 2027, as it has both classes graduation years, and signifies a special link the classes will always share. The pin’s design is anchored by ESD’s shield and three crosses representing the original Founding Tenets.

“It is an exciting and special moment for these two classes and our school,” said Associate Head of School Ruth Burke. “Our hope is this special commemorative pin will be worn on students’ blazers from now through their graduation.”

Like Pass It On for rising eighth-graders and graduating seniors, ESD hopes that Pin It On will become a memorable and integral tradition to the students. 

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This year, Engineering students at The Episcopal School of Dallas have had the opportunity to earn industrial certifications in different areas. These certifications measure competency in an occupation, and they validate the knowledge base and skills that show mastery in a particular industry. Five ESD students have completed three industrial certifications this year! 

Congratulations to Owen Aston '20Aidan Hieber '20Reece Huggard '21Braden Montgomery '20, and Garrett Seymour '20 for completing:

  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 10 Hour General Industry Safety
  • ISCET (International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians) ESA-1 (DC Theory)
  • ISCET (International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians) ESA-2 (AC Theory)

"This is the first time the engineering program will have met its strategic goal of students earning three industrial certifications before graduation," said Upper School Engineering and Robotics teacher Barton Burnett. "I have already been asked by one of them if they can earn more."

Keep up the great work, Eagles!

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Seven members of The Episcopal School of Dallas' Class of 2019 and one member of the Class of 2018 returned to campus and hosted a discussion panel for current seniors earlier this month.

Sriya Dodda '19 (Columbia University), Mackenzie Fain-Parish '19 (University of Southern California), Mason Gosslee '19 (University of Texas), John Heldman '19 (Southern Methodist University), Hector Hernandez '18 (Texas A&M University), Allison Herring '19 (Texas A&M University), Christian King '19 (Furman University), and Christopher Talbot '19 (Sewanee: The University of the South) spoke to the students about their personal experiences post-graduation and during their first semester at college.

Check out the top five tips these students had for the Class of 2020!

USE YOUR ESD EDUCATION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE: “Classes I’ve taken my first semester in college are super similar to the AP classes I took at ESD. I’ve been able to use notes from my past ESD classes which has been super helpful.” -Mason

BE SOCIAL: “Everyone else there is looking to find friends too. Go to events and get involved; there are so many people you can meet. Even if you don’t end up becoming best friends, you can still meet a lot of really cool people.” -Allison

DONT LOSE FOCUS: “Maintain your study skills throughout the spring semester because I kind of let that drop-off and getting back into the habit of class and studying was harder than I thought it would be.” -John

DEALING WITH HOMESICKNESS: “Don’t feel bad for getting homesick. You’re allowed to miss home, especially if you’re going to college that is really different from ESD and Dallas. It gets a lot easier as you go on.” -Sriya

BALANCE IT OUT: “Keep a healthy balance between being social and actually studying. Being the life of the party can get really exhausting and your schoolwork can suffer as a result. You’re at school for an education and you’re gonna have plenty of opportunities for fun stuff down the line.” -Christopher

ESD Eagles in each graduating class attend a variety of universities and colleges across the country, and sometimes even across the world! Click here to see a map of where the Classes of 2016-2019 have matriculated.

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Last semester, several film students at The Episcopal School of Dallas had the opportunity to visit the set of '12 Mighty Orphans’ with cinematographer David McFarland, ESD class of 1994. Focused on the football rivalry between Fort Worth and Highland Park in the 1930s, the film stars Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen, and Luke Wilson and is expected to be a box office hit. 

Since ’12 Orphans’ is being filmed in Fort Worth and Weatherford, students and ESD film teacher Bobby Weiss were able to travel to set, where they asked David questions one-on-one about cinematography and the process of filming. “David is a true artist and it was amazing to see him directing the multiple cameras on set. It was a closed set and we were lucky to be there,” said Bobby Weiss. “It was clear that he hoped the day of observing would inspire and motivate the students to create better films.”

The students also shared their experiences with their classmates when they returned after break. With ESD's annual Film Festival in January, this was a great opportunity for students to learn more about filmmaking and the perspectives of different crew members. “Being on a real movie set was such a great experience,” said Sabrina Gies ’20. “Mr. McFarland was very nice and even let us watch the filmmaking process through the camera monitors, which was very interesting.”

Special thank you to David McFarland for this wonderful learning opportunity for ESD students!

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Last month, Upper School science teacher at The Episcopal School of Dallas Matt Varvir challenged his AP Physics II class to construct a watercraft out of recyclable materials that could float on its own. Using cardboard, aluminum, or plastic, the raft should support at least 150 lbs of weight when floating. Further requirements included making the watercraft 1) as small of a volume as possible and 2) as buoyant as possible. And, because he knew they would want to, students were allowed to race their floats across ESD's quarry pond and back.

Yesterday, many Upper School students and teachers gathered outside to watch the resulting watercraft while Mr. Varvir and Asst. Director of Outdoor Education Davis Felder ’06 supervised from the water. Ranging from pallets made entirely of water jugs to a plastic boat resembling a professional race car, the four watercrafts were a sight! The team that won the speed race was Lily Baughman ’21, Charlotte Podeszwa ’21, and Sofia Weinstein ’21. The team that held up the most weight was Henry Isom, Tarun Mittal ’21, and Braden Montgomery ’21 - it was able to hold at least 800 lbs.

The students did a great job designing their rafts and everyone enjoyed watching the race. We love getting to take learning outside on our beautiful campus!

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Have you asked your second grader about recycling lately? Thanks to their new intensive and year-long study, Recycling in My World, second graders at The Episcopal School of Dallas may be more knowledgeable than you'd expect. 

Last year, second-grade students were in charge of collecting the recycled trash at ESD's Lower School campus. This year, the recycling theme is being integrated into Art, Science, Design Lab, Music, Innovation & Exploration time, as well as the classroom curriculum for a more holistic learning experience. 

Susan Hopper, an Educational Consultant at the Lower School, was instrumental in building this new year-long program. After a meeting with Lower School Administration, the team decided to hone in on this theme in second grade to emulate the project-based learning in other grades. 

“Our focus at the beginning of the year was to introduce the planet, the continents, and compassion,” Susan Hopper said. "Why do we need to have compassion for our earth and what does compassion look like? To drive this point home, the antithesis of compassion was the setting for the 2nd graders when they arrived in their brand new beautiful neighborhood filled with trash. Students collected the trash and began diving into the 3 R’s - reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

After this initial introduction, students were invited to reflect in their notebooks and consider:

  • What is the need for recycling?
  • What role could I play in fixing it?
  • How can I prototype a solution?
  • What can I do differently?
  • How can we expand this idea and explore on our whole campus?

Each Friday, students participate in Innovation and Exploration - a time to ideate and continue their project-based learning in a hands-on way. Students have made their own paper to use in art projects, a paper mosaic representing the world, jump rope out of recycled plastic bags, and musical instruments, each using entirely recycled materials. 

“We want students to leave Lower School as passionate and active questioners,” Tracey Shirey, Head of Lower School, said. “Our guiding question poses: How might we provide a more meaningful way of learning for students? Our answer is innovation and exploration.”

The next phase of the project will center on sustainability. The Lower School team has plans to involve both Upper and Middle School divisions and explore how they can expand this initiative on the entire whole campus. 

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Two students at The Episcopal School of Dallas had individual films accepted into the All American High School Film Festival in New York last month. Although ESD usually takes a group of film students to the festival, this year’s scheduling did not allow them to attend. Fortunately, Sabrina Gies ’20, Taylor Maris ’21, and Upper School Film Teacher Bobby Weiss were able to view their two films on the big screen. 

The All-American High School Film Festival is the premier destination for talented high school filmmakers and media arts enthusiasts from around the world. Each year, they receive thousands of submissions and judges select the best of the best to be screened at the festival. "It is a real honor to be an official selection in this film festival and I am proud of their efforts that led to their films being shown in New York City," Upper School Film Teacher Bobby Weiss said. 

“My film was inspired by a pressing issue that I felt needed to be addressed—especially in a community like a high school. Although it was on a serious topic, I had so much fun throughout the process of creating it and it was amazing to see my vision pan out,” Sabrina Gies ’20 said. “It was fun and stressful but I'm glad I got to work with one of my friends and my parents to create a film that I am so proud of.” Sabrina received some help with editing but otherwise filmed everything on her own. 

“My film is called ‘Uniusques Olvilis,’ about the feeling of predestined nostalgia during a moment of perfection,” Taylor Maris ’21 said. “From that, I started writing all the feelings of that moment and came to this idea of being so happy in the moment and yet being sad because you know at some time the moment would have to come to an end.” Taylor worked with Michael Bagley ’21 for the voice over, Lauren Weber ’21 for the initial idea, and several other students as actors in the film. 

At the conclusion of the festival, both films were streamed at the AMC Theater in Times Square. The films will also be screened in Dallas at the ESD Film Festival next semester. Congratulations to these Eagles on their hard work and dedication!

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Last week, students at The Episcopal School of Dallas celebrated Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Día de los Muertos is a holiday that celebrates and remembers loved ones who have passed away. This holiday is celebrated November 1-2 and marks the one time a year that loved ones can cross over to the land of the living. Families create ofrendas, or altars, containing pictures, food offerings, and flowers (usually marigolds) to remember their loved ones.

Students across all three divisions celebrated the holiday throughout the school. Lower School friends learned about the holiday in several different classes. They sampled some Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead), created their own calaveras in art, and learned some of the holiday's history before visiting their work in the ofrendas across campus.

Middle School students created an ofrenda in remembrance of notable Latinx figures as part of a lesson on Spanish history. Seventh-grade Spanish, Sculpture, 2D Art, and Theatre classes worked hard on a collaboration of Mexican ghost stories presented in the Black Box theater. 

Upper School Spanish also contributed to the ofrenda and decorated with traditional calaveras (sugar skulls), food offerings, and pictures on display in the Study Commons. Students read articles, watched videos, and discussed the celebration in classes.

"This is the first of many projects that will be coming together as one campus. You can see the work from every single division on display, and I'm extremely proud of that," Marcela Garcini, Upper School Spanish Teacher, said. 

ESD is proud to create an environment where students can explore other cultures through real-world learning experiences and activities. Special thank you to Señora Garcini, all divisional Spanish teachers, and Giselle Montagna P '22 for their work in organizing and decorating.

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At the beginning of each month, The Episcopal School of Dallas Division Heads write a letter to their respective parent community. This post by Head of Middle School Jonathan Chein was sent to parents earlier this month.

The "think aloud" is a time-tested teaching strategy, employed to share one's thinking or decision-making process with students. Reading teachers may incorporate a think-aloud when reading a passage aloud to share strategies on looking for context clues to help with comprehension or making sense of an unfamiliar word. A math teacher will employ a think-aloud to share their decision-making process when diagnosing a problem and deciding what process to follow, or in checking whether the answer arrived at seems appropriate for the situation. Think-alouds, when done well, help clear up faulty reasoning and clarify important components of a concept or process. 

Like all parents, I regularly find myself doing think-alouds with my children, though they tend to be a bit different than school think-alouds, "We're not stopping for ice cream because I want you to eat your dinner; Let's go for a bike ride before it gets unbearably hot; Last time we stayed out super late, you were walking disasters the next day."  We all know that our actions speak louder than our words and that our children are always watching and taking notice of our actions. This is definitely true in my family, however, whenever I discover an instance of my children misattributing the connection between my reasoning and my actions ("I want you to play outside after school and get a little dirty, just change out of your uniform and white school shoes first."), I am reminded of the added benefit of parent commentary beyond the directive.  
 
As much as I appreciate using think-alouds to share my values with my children, my time working in schools has helped identify two common practices that compromise the effectiveness of using the think-aloud as a parenting tool.
 
The first pitfall to parenting think-alouds is that parenting think-alouds usually focus on the present and neglect all of the past learnings and experiences from long ago. In a school like ESD, there is no shortage of accomplished parents in the community.  No matter your degrees, accolades, or accomplishments, your children are well aware of your success. What they are often less aware of are the struggles, setbacks, and mistakes you had to overcome to get to where you are now. When these challenges, mistakes, and obstacles are not part of our narrative, it's easy to see how our children might interpret their own struggles as evidence of underachievement or not living up to our expectations. 
 
The second potential pitfall is that parenting think-alouds are often close relatives of "you should." If you have a child who longs for more "you shoulds," you could have stopped reading long ago.  From what I've seen during my time with middle schoolers, most respond to each "you should" with a more pronounced eye roll, sigh, or even anxiety. If you're like me, your parenting think-alouds center around your thinking about your child's behavior. There is definitely a time and place for these, but there's also a ton of untapped potential in sharing your thinking and reasoning in situations that don't directly involve your children. Consider a think-aloud with your child on how you plan to follow up on an awkward or insensitive interaction you had with a colleague or friend.  Consider a think-aloud with your child about how to respond when you think you offended or upset a friend. Of course, there are many times when it is best to make decisions privately, but providing your child access to your thinking that is not directly related to them can actually be some of the most effective parenting. By freeing your child of feelings of pressure and judgment, they are much more receptive to the lessons you are trying to impart.
 
Just like the classroom, there is a time and place for parenting think-alouds.  If you have found a good variation or method that you find particularly impactful, please share.  Have you experienced a think-aloud mishap? I'd love to hear about that, too.

Here's to a great November.