Nicole Jacobsen
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Imagine a science curriculum that integrates classroom lectures, hands-on experiments, iPads, and special “Science Nights,” all with the guidance of your own instructor from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Next, mix in projects that include raising Monarch butterflies, interactive tours of Texas, and live demonstrations of digestive systems, and you have a learning environment perfect for promoting intellectual discovery.

The Perot Museum and the Episcopal School of Dallas have created a learning partnership that allows young scientists to soar to even greater heights. The foundation is simple: partner with teachers to bring the Museum to classrooms, allow students to explore concepts at an experiential level, and develop a deeper understanding of the world of nature and science.

“We want to encourage students’ natural curiosity while making science fun and accessible,” says Marc Horn, the ESD-Perot Museum Coordinator. “Students learn concepts in the classroom, engage in hands-on activities, and expand on those lessons at the Perot Museum.”

Horn, who has worked with the Museum since January, joined the ESD faculty in August. Since then, he has become fully immersed in ESD’s already abounding Lower School science curriculum, working alongside Laura Talbot, ESD’s Lower School science liaison, to foster a variety of hands-on experiments.

“In all the lessons, students take information they already know, ask questions, collect data, and then work together to interpret the data,” Horn explained. “ESD teachers do an exemplary job of fostering a curious state of mind that makes students of all ages eager to learn more.”

This year, the partnership has identified a project at each grade level within the ESD curriculum to further examine. For example, first graders were engaged in raising Monarch butterflies that students hoped to release and track the movement of using a tagging program. Horn and Talbot are facilitating student learning on how to research the appropriate plants and environmental factors necessary to ensure Monarch butterflies’ survival including an updated memorial butterfly garden and Monarch way station.

“ESD classrooms are full of wonderful ideas, as children experiment to build knowledge and test hypotheses,” Talbot said. “Students notice opportunities to frame questions, postulate hypotheses, and create verifiable experiments to test these ideas. Our relationship with the Perot Museum helps support this process by providing additional resources and perspective.”

In October, third graders ate bread and crackers to see first-hand how mechanical and chemical digestion works. Earlier in the year, fourth graders researched and built a series of projects utilizing Edmodo to exchange information between student learning partners that created virtual tours of Texas, including presentations about the weather, geology, and demography of the state.

Three Science Nights will be held on the Lower School campus throughout the school year to provide opportunities to engage in ESD’s science curriculum. The first event on November 7 is for all Pre-El families and will thematically focus on super heroes. Students, ages 3 to 6, will discover the real science of super heroes as they explore energy, forces and motion, smart materials, magnetism, levitation, x-ray vision, lasers, and properties of light. In addition to two Super Hero Science presentations by the Perot Museum, discovery centers will line the Pre-Elementary halls and Perot  Science night activities and exhibits will fill the Dining Commons allowing ESD’s youngest students to measure, analyze, propose hypotheses, predict, design, build, test, model, and imagine within a wide variety of scientific topics.

“Science Night is the perfect opportunity for our community to celebrate a child’s capacity for ‘wonder’ and to deploy them to build, take apart, sort, name, compare in unique ways,” Chelle Wabrek, ESD’s Assistant Head of Lower School, said. “Super powers have long captured the imagination of children all over the world. To examine the scientific magic of inimitability and levitation make us all super heroes.”

The partnership between ESD and the Museum encourages and applauds the innate “scientist” in every student.

“Everything within this partnership is really a team effort based on the teachers’ lesson plans,” Horn, who has completed course requirements toward a Ph.D. in Education from Texas A&M, said. “ESD is an amazing school where we have the opportunity to not only expand on what we’re teaching the students, but then investigate how we can carry them forward. There is always something more that can be done, our job is to find out what else our students can learn in the classroom and at the Museum.”

The benefits of ESD’s partnership with the Perot Museum are expected to be off the chart.

“ESD’s relationship with the Perot Museum is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving,” Wabrek said. “As our Museum Coordinator invests his time in our teachers, they are gaining additional expertise and efficacy to act as scientists themselves. Everyone, from our most seasoned educators to our youngest Beginners, is further developing the mindset of designers and innovators who are eager, like super heroes, to make the world a better place.”

Nicole Jacobsen
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Jarrett Krosoczka, author and illustrator of beloved children’s book including BagheadPunk Farm and the Lunch Lady series, visited with the Episcopal School of Dallas Lower School students on Monday, October 21, encouraging them to persevere as they pursue their dreams.  He regaled students with humorous stories of the numerous rejection letters he received from publishers before finally opening an email giving him hope.

“I thought that Jarrett Krosoczka was super uplifting,” one fourth grade student said. “He inspired me to start creating picture books.  When he was talking about how he never gave up and how he wrote his books, it was really amazing. I wish I could be like him. He taught me to never give up, and keep on trying.”

Krosoczka’s visit was made possible through an endowment given to the school in celebration and honor of the life of ESD student, Elizabeth Anne Worsham.  A curious child and an avid reader, the Worsham family is certain their bright, creative, and engaging second grader, Elizabeth, would have loved to hear the author’s inspiring message.

The St. Michael School started the tradition of inviting children’s authors to visit students in 1975, and this endowment ensures that one special author will visit the ESD Lower School every fall in perpetuity. Children’s author and illustrator, Jarrett Krosoczka, served as the 10th annual Elizabeth Anne Worsham Visiting Author.

The Visiting Author Series has been such a special way to honor the memory of our daughter Elizabeth,” Katherine Worsham said. “With the hard work and help of our incredible librarians, the series continues to introduce dynamic authors to our children. The kids get to engage in questions with the author, helping to bring to life the process of taking original ideas from abstract to concrete book form.”

Krosoczka wrote and illustrated his first book while in the third grade. An avid reader and writer himself, Krosoczka would come home from school, staple a few sheets of paper together, and write down whatever story his imagination conceived. The packed theater of students, teachers, and parents, listened with rapt attention. Allison Hogan’s Primer class wore paper bags over their heads after their favorite character from Kroscozka’s book Baghead, and students in Wendy Dalton’s first grade class made “bagheads” for their beanie babies.

In a TED Talk he delivered in October 2012, Krosoczka told the story of his grandfather sending him to art classes at the Worchester Art Museum when his own school cut funding to the arts program. In high school, Krosoczka started drawing cartoons of his teachers and passing them on to his friends. It was these comedic drawings that got Krosoczka noticed by teachers, who recommended he start drawing for the school newspaper. For more than three years, he served as the cartoonist for the paper.

“On my fourteenth birthday, my grandfather and grandmother gave me the best birthday present ever, a drafting table that I have worked on ever since,” Krosoczka said. “Here I am 20 years later and I still work on this table every day. On the evening of my fourteenth birthday I was given the table and we ordered Chinese food.”

His fortune that night read: “You will be successful in your work.” The fortune is still taped to his drawing table.

“He engaged our students with his presentations and taught them that perseverance is a very important part of experiencing success,” Sandy Kerr, ESD’s Head of Lower School, said. “The students were captivated by his stories and illustrations, and by the fact that he has been passionate about storytelling since he was their age.”

Krosoczka also gave students a sneak peak at his newest book Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, before doing several live drawings of the students’ favorite character, Baghead, who encourages children to be comfortable with their own creativity and individuality.

“I was most excited about how Jarrett’s visit motivated the children to write,” Bonnie Tollefson, ESD’s Lower School Librarian said. “Several students talked to their teachers about writing their own books. All of the books the students create will be placed in our own library for circulation.”

Books written by Lower School students and inspired by Krosoczka’s presentation will be on display in the Lower School Library next to Elizabeth’s engraved rocking chair. The chair, often used by the Lower School librarians for reading time, includes the scripture verse “Let the little children come to me,” and an intricate carving of Jesus surrounded by children.

“You don’t have to be able to even write to become an author,” Krosoczka said to the littlest of listeners. “Go home from school and tell your parents the story that your imagination created. You, too, will be an author.”

Nicole Jacobsen
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On Friday, October 11, three young women from Palestine and Israel regaled members of the Episcopal School of Dallas freshmen class with stories about perseverance, courage, and respect. Members of Creativity for Peace, an organization dedicated to developing the next generation of female leaders and peacemakers, attend a camp in New Mexico meant to unite Palestinians and Israelis in an effort to diminish any prejudicial attitudes they had about other religions.

Kimberly Rogers, ESD’s Religion Department Chair, organized the visit in hopes of educating students about world peace and how young adults can make a difference on a local or global level.

“The Creativity for Peace visit came at a time when students were studying the key issues of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict in their World Cultures class,” Rogers explained. “I hope students came away with a much better understanding of the emotional and political complexities of the situation, and were inspired by the dedication and friendship of the three women who spoke to us.”

“When I arrived at the camp, it was the first time I got to meet Israelis and Palestinians from Gaza,” Jwana Ghaleb, a 23-year old student from the West Bank of Palestine said. “I learned how to be a better listener and came to see everyone as a human being. Now, I’m more confident to speak my mind and make my voice heard in society.”

Ghaleb, the founder of her own peace organization in Palestine, is speaking to the American Congress in Washington D.C. in January.

“I believe that peace cannot be achieved without justice and equality,” she said. “I also believe that I can change the world by being honest and believing in my dreams.

After Ghaleb’s presentation, students heard from 20-year old Shirit Milikovski, a naval commander in the Israeli military. When asked what her typical day is like back home, Milikovski says she’s wakes up, teaches a few courses in electricity, and then spends her free time working out or socializing with friends. She told the ESD freshmen she also spends a lot of time watching American movies with her friends.

Milikovski and her younger sister grew up in a world of bombings and rocket explosions. Now a leader within Creativity for Peace, Milikovski joined the organization in 2009 to meet a Palestinian face-to-face.

“They’re normal like me,” she said upon meeting the young Palestinian women at camp. “We have the same hobbies, and I can understand and relate to their suffering. The camp taught me that if you have conflict with someone, you should talk about it with them. You’ll be surprised to find they can often relate to you.”

Mai Shbeta, a 22-year old law student from a small village in Israel, grew up with a Jewish mother and Muslim father; she says her dream is to create a bridge between two people and promote peace. She has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and attended meetings of the Counsel on the Status of Women at the United Nations, hopes to one day become a human rights lawyer in her native land.

“I’ve never understand how you can hate someone you don’t know,” Shbeta asked. “How can someone always see the differences they have with someone, but not the commonalities?”

As the presentation neared an end, one student asked what the three women thought of the U.S. Is it like what they saw in the movies they watch?

“It seems so easy to live here because everything and everyone seems so nice,” Shbeta said, “But we know there is judgment and racism everywhere. It’s our generation’s job to work towards peace.”

Nicole Jacobsen
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October 9 was Unity Day, a 24-hour period dedicated to putting an end to bullying. Organized by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to help celebrate National Bully Prevention Month, the day asked all students and community members to wear orange to demonstrate the importance of bullying prevention.

After hearing about Unity Day, students at the Episcopal School of Dallas wanted to know how they could help. Jenny Esteve, a third grade teacher at ESD, helped her students organize a skit about bullying, that raised awareness and encouraged friends to stand up for each other and not be a bystander or a bully. However, before the students would wear their orange to school, more planning had to be done.

“I asked students to make orange posters with uplifting and inspirational messages, get permission to wear orange shirts instead of their uniforms, and write a skit to perform in chapel,” Esteve said. “I really hope we can make this a yearly tradition.”

So they did.  Students put together an action plan and presented their ideas to Sandy Kerr, Head of Lower School.

On Unity Day, orange shirts, ties, and hair bows could be seen buzzing about the halls of the Lower School campus. An orange chain, made out of construction paper, also adorned the cafeteria wall with messages like “Stay Strong” and “Be Brave. Stand Up.”

“We thought if we could make a difference, then we could get the whole school to help,” a third grader said. “We worked really hard, but I think all our work was worth it.”

Several other classes participated in Unity Day, including Allison Hogan’s Primer class. Students were shown picture books that incorporated the golden rule, and were taught about the importance of treating one another with respect. The Play-Doh Pit in Julie Butterworth’s Beginners class was also turned orange.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, every day nearly 160,000 students nationwide skip school for fear of being bullied by their peers. They report that in one year, more than 3.2 million students will be the victims of some form of bullying.

“I am so proud of our students,” Kerr said. “They saw an opportunity to make a difference, so they implemented a plan and demonstrated the kind of character we all want to have.”

Nicole Jacobsen
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The Episcopal School of Dallas is proud to announce the 65 students recognized as 2013 Advanced Placement Scholars by the College Board. In all, ESD scored an 88.3 percent passing rate on all tests taken, compared to the Texas average of 47.7 percent and national 59 percent passing rate.

AP exams are scored on a 1 to 5 scale, with a score of 3 or higher designating passing. More than 92 percent of ESD students taking an AP exam scored a 3 or higher on at least one or more AP exams compared to 51 percent of all Texas AP students. The mean score for all tests taken by ESD students was 3.67, more than one point higher than the state average of 2.56, and nearly a whole point higher than the national average of 2.89. Every ESD student enrolled in an AP class is required to take the exam; ESD students not enrolled in AP courses also have the option to take an exam.

Three students from ESD's Class of 2013 received the National AP Scholar Award and AP Scholar with Distinction, earning an average grade of 4 or higher on a 5-point scale on all AP exams taken, and a score of 4 or higher on at least eight exams. Students qualifying for this honor include Daniel Hull ’13, Wilson Miller ’13, and Matthew Mrozek ’13.

Twenty-six ESD students earned AP Scholar with Distinction for scoring an average grade of 3.5 on all of their exams, and a 3 or higher on five or more exams. These students are: Blake Archer ’13, Arthur Beckel ’13, Kirby Brand ’13, Mitchell Burden ’13, Ines Bustamante ’14, Claire Cahoon ’13, Catherine Duffy ’13, Amanda Eggers ’13, Baron Farmar ’13, Emily Fitzgerald ’13, Anna Hansell ’13, Maya Harris ’13, Daniel Hull ’13, Crawford Kob ’13, Rithi Kotamarti ’13, Austin Magnuson ’13, Wilson Miller ’13, Blake Moore ’13, Matthew Mrozek ’13, David Saustad ’13, Sarah Spellings ’13, William Stargardt ’13, Jonathan Stern ’13, Grace Trammell ’13, Ann Walker ’13, and E Marie Witkin ’13.

Megan Sims ’14 completed five or more AP exams with an average score of 3.5, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more exams, by the end of her junior year, earning her the honor of AP Scholar with Distinction.

Twenty students, including five from the Class of 2014, have received the AP Scholar with Honor Award for scoring a 3.25 average on all of their AP exams. Each of these students earned a score of 3 or higher on four or more exams. These students are: Kathryn Anderson ’13, Alexander Beane ’13, Caroline Brennan ’13, Mary Cole Daulton ’13, Asia Hawkins ’13, Katherine Kob ’13, William Lipscomb’14, Catherine Lovitt ’14, Sydney Narvaez ’13, Carolyn Overbeck ’13, Michael Pappas ’14, Anderson Riddick ’14, Cliff Ritter ’13, Megan Rooney ’14, Megan Sheets ’13, Jory Shive ’13, Ellen Sliva ’13, Alexandra Snyder ’14, Catherine Talbot ’13, and Matthew Wheeler ’13.

Eighteen ESD students from the Classes of 2013 and 2014 received the AP Scholar award for scoring a 3 or higher on three or more AP exams. These students include: Alexandra Aronowitz ’14, Emily Barnes ’14, Ryan Converse ’13, Sara Jane Emmons ’14, Lindsay Gerard ’13, Lauren Griffin ’13, Alexander Gulis ’14, Cyrus Hamid-Khani ’13, Wynne Hobbs ’14, Todd Jensen ’14, Hudson Leiser ’13, Ryan Meier ’13, Vinita Mundluru ’13, Brittany Perry ’13, Sophie Sisson ’14, Leah Smith ’13, Seth Stukalin ’13, and James Walker ’13.

For more information about the College Board Advanced Placement exams, please click here.

Nicole Jacobsen
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More than 50 students from Dallas-area schools packed the Competition Gymnasium on the Episcopal School of Dallas campus for the “Fit for a King” chess tournament on Saturday, October 5. The tournament, organized by ESD parent, Paco Gomez and Zora Skelton, ESD’s third and fourth grade math and Spanish teacher, raised more than $750 for the ESD Chess Club through registration fees and concession sales. Students from St. Mark’s, Lakehill, Lamplighter, St. Mark’s, Centennial Elementary, the Alcuin School, and ESD all participated in the tournament.

The tournament allowed each participant (kindergarten through 12th grade) to compete in five games within their age bracket. Trophies were then awarded for first through fourth place in each section and among each team.

Final Results:
1st place: ESD
2nd place: St Mark’s
3rd place: Lakehill
4th place: Lamplighter
5th place: Centennial Elementary
6th place: Alcuin

To see photos from the event, please click here.

Nicole Jacobsen
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Sixteen Upper School students from the Episcopal School of Dallas have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program for their high academic achievements on the PSAT. This year, approximately 16,000 students from the United States were named semifinalists and contenders for the National Merit Scholarships totaling more than $35 million. The Class of 2014 students qualifying for this honor are: Emily Barnes, Alex Gulis, Anderson Riddick, Kelsey Schmitt, Megan Sims, and Sophie Sisson. Approximately 15,000 National Merit Scholarship Finalists will be announced in February.

Gabby Laurendine ’14 was honored as one of 3,100 “Outstanding Participants” in the National Achievement Scholarship Program. Laurendine scored in the top 3 percent of more than 160,000 black students who requested consideration in the 2014 National Achievement Program based on their PSAT scores.

Two students from ESD were recognized by the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program for exceptional academic achievement. Oscar Benavides and Ines Bustamante, both members of the Class of 2014, were among 3,500 Hispanic and Latino high school students from across the nation to receive this prestigious honor. Candidates for this award are often among the 5,000 highest-scoring Hispanic and Latino students on the PSAT.

 A group of seven ESD seniors was also recognized at the ceremony as “Commended Students” in the 2014 National merit Scholarship Program. These students placed among the top 5 percent of the more than 1.5 million students who entered the National Merit Scholarship pool. These students are: Emily Bassel, Caroline Brennan, Shelby Conine, Catherine Lovitt, Erin McWilliams, Megan Rooney, and Alec Smith.

Nicole Jacobsen
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Dallas Private School Preview Dallas Private School Preview. Sunday, September 29 at 1:00 p.m.

On Sunday, September 29, more than 90 local private and boarding schools from across the country will participate in the Dallas Private School Preview event hosted by the Independent School Admission Association of Dallas. The event will run from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on the Merrell Road Campus of the Episcopal School of Dallas.

The 18th annual Dallas Private School Preview rotates between the ISAAD schools every two years. The Episcopal School of Dallas will host the event this year and next.

“Choosing a school for your child is a very personal process; the Dallas Private School Preview offers families the opportunity to interact directly with members of each school’s community, and find the perfect fit for children, ages Pre-K through high school,” says Cindy Newsom, ESD’s Director of Admission.

At the event, parents and children will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from each participating school, and learn more about each school’s mission, vision, and culture, as well as tuition assistance opportunities.

This event is free and open to everyone. For a complete list of participating schools, directions to the Episcopal School of Dallas, and general information about the event, please visit or visit the event’s Facebook page.