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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.

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This article, written by Blair Batson '21, originally appeared in the first issue of this year's Eagle Edition student newspaper. The accompanying photo was taken by ESD student photographer Riley Breaux '20. Middle School administrators returning to the classroom are Jonathan Chein, Head of Middle School, and Meg Fahrenbrook '01, Assistant Head of Middle School.

In an effort to place administrators in the classroom, The Episcopal School of Dallas's Assistant Head of Upper School Jeff Laba, Head of Upper School Henry Heil, and Head of School David Baad are each teaching one class this year.

Laba is teaching sophomore chemistry; Baad is teaching sixth grade U.S. history; and Heil, who taught U.S. government last school year, will teach a history class in the spring.

“[Teaching classes is] a way for administrators to make sure they don’t forget what it’s like to be in the classroom,” Laba said. “It’s also a way for the students to get to know the administrators better.”

This is Laba’s first time in the classroom in four years. Previously, he has taught physics, AP Physics and a freshman class that was an introduction to physics and chemistry. 

“Teaching is a lot of fun,” Laba said. “I’m enjoying being back in the classroom.”

Heil’s first year at the school two years ago was the first year in his career in education that he did not teach. Including his U.S. government class last year, Heil has taught western civilization, sociology, U.S. history, and civil rights.

“I was really anxious to get back into the classroom,” Heil said. “It’s a really important way for me to stay connected to the students. Without a doubt in my career, whether I’ve been an administrator or not, the students I’ve been the closest with are the ones I’ve taught.”

Similar to Heil, Baad’s first year at the school was his first year in education to not teach. Previously, Baad taught a freshman ancient history class, a seventh-grade ethics class, eighth grade U.S. history, high school world history, and fifth-grade homeroom.

“I wouldn’t say it’s been hard to adjust to teaching itself,” Baad said. “What’s been different is I’ve been teaching high school, so going to teach sixth grade has been an adjustment for me, but I’m hoping students will be patient with me, and we’ll have a good time with it.”Baad chose to teach sixth-grade history because he wanted to develop relationships with students that he would end up knowing for six or seven years until they graduated.

“[Teaching] allows me to have a focused, intense experience for about one hour a day with a group of kids, which is not something I get to do administratively,” Baad said. “Administratively, you’re very often thinking about the school at a 30,000-foot level. You’re thinking of how all the pieces fit together from beginners to seniors, and then when you start thinking about teaching, it’s about the daily experience of a very small group of kids, so it exercises different parts of your brain.”

Teaching has provided Laba, Heil, and Baad with an opportunity to develop closer relationships with students, compared to big-picture administrative tasks.

“Teaching is being in the trenches,” Heil said. “That’s where schools work. For me, if you’re not teaching, it’s really difficult for you to have a good sense of what’s happening in the school. Being in the classroom, knowing what those kids are going through, getting a sense of their levels of stress and anxiety, hearing what’s going on on a day-to-day basis was really important for me to have my fingers on the pulse of what’s going on. If you’re an administrator, and you don’t teach, you’re really missing out.”

In the coming years, the school is going to continue to put administrators in teaching positions.

“We can see a different side of an administrator who normally we look at in a different way,” Sophomore Anna Baranski said. “Now we get to see his teaching style and it’s really cool.”

Heil, Laba, and Baad all agree that this will better the school.

“One of the things that I really believe about a school is that there are really good opportunities for everyone to be involved with students, which is really what the school’s all about,” Heil said. “I’m really excited that more people have gotten involved in the classroom—it’s going to benefit the culture of the school.” 

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The Advanced Placement Scholar Awards recognize high school students who have demonstrated exemplary college-level achievement on their AP exams. This year, ESD had an incredible number of students who were awarded for their performance on the 2019 AP exams. A total of 107 students, including one sophomore (now junior), scored high enough on their AP exams to be awarded the title of an AP Scholar and more. Pictured above are many of ESD's current students who earned this achievement. 

ESD offers 32 Advanced Placement coursework options. 2019-20 AP classes include Art History; Biology; Calculus AB; Calculus BC; Chemistry; Comparative Government; Computer Science A; Computer Science Principles; English Language & Composition; English Literature & Composition; Environmental Science; Environmental Science & Engineering; European History; French Language & Culture; Latin; Macroeconomics; Microeconomics; Psychology; Physics I; Physics II; AP Seminar; Spanish Language & Culture; Statistics; Studio Art: Ceramics, Drawing, 2-D Portfolio, 3-D Design, Photography; U.S. Government & Politics; and World History.

National AP Scholar: scored a 4 or higher on eight or more AP exams and an average score of 4 on all AP exams taken. These students are also AP Scholars with Distinction.

Scholars from the Class of 2020: Kevin Jin and Tarun Mittal

Scholars from the Class of 2019: Christian King, Walker Lay, Will Minnis, Cooper Newsom, Anisa Noor, and Annie Sawers

AP Scholar with Distinction: scored a 3 or higher on five or more AP exams with an average score of 3.5 on all AP exams taken.

Scholars from the Class of 2020: Virginia Baker, Sameer Bhasin, Abby Brand, Brodie Burke, Yash Dayal, Ned Dockery, Spencer Dunn, Meera Gangasani, Zain Haq, Nick Harapanahalli, Henry Isom, Kevin Jin, Daniel Kaplan, Tarun Mittal, and River Woods

Scholars from the Class of 2019: Grace Boyd, Reese Breaux, Miguel Bustamante, John Calvert, Sriya Dodda, Alexandra Everbach, William Greening, William Hargrave, John Heldman, Allison Herring, Christian King, Walker Lay, Maggie Lipscomb, Will Minnis, Clayton Mulford, Cooper Newsom, Anisa Noor, Cole Nugent, Taezja Phelan, Chloe Raines, Annie Saustad, Annie Sawers, Isabella Scott, Christopher Talbot, Jetlyn Toledo, Maddie Tong, Ella Varel, Madison Willox, and Anna Winkeler

AP Scholar with Honor: scored a 3 or higher on four or more AP exams and an average score of 3.25 on all AP exams taken.

Scholars from the Class of 2020: Kerrm Ahsan, Lily Baughman, Elizabeth Carrie, Jade Donahue, Kate Flanagan, Zeke Gibson, Ty Johnson, Brian Jones, Alexander Konradi, Jack Loftus, Zain Mian, Isabella Pfister, Abby Ragan, and Sohaib Raza

Scholars from the Class of 2019: Katelin Gildersleeve, Cameron Goldstein, Mason Gosslee, Danny Kung, McKinley Lawson, Lauren Marks, Jackson Mechem, Nicole Raines, Anastasia Sotiropoulos, Christian King, Walker Lay, Will Minnis, Cooper Newsom, Anisa Noor, and Annie Sawers

AP Capstone Diploma: scored a 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on 4 additional AP Exams. 

Scholars from the Class of 2020: Brodie Burke, Zain Haq, and Nick Harapanahalli

Scholars from the Class of 2019: John Calvert, Sriya Dodda, and Anna Winkeler

AP Scholar: scored a 3 or higher on three or more AP exams.

Scholars from the Class of 2021: Clay Watson 

Scholars from the Class of 2020: Cambridge Bender, Lauren Egger, Aidan Hieber, Grace Judin, Caroline Massey, Selam Mekbeb-Gillett, Val Mooty, Rachel Morrow, Blayre Riley, Richard Roberson, David Russell, and Hadley Smith

Scholars from the Class of 2019: Brenda Baez, Jack Beck, John Betts, Jay Browne, Atticus Cabrales, Samy Dar, Ale De La Cruz, Elliot Duessel, Mackenzie Fain-Parish, Izzy Gonzales, Sarah Hands, Grace Inglis, Aylah Karim, Story Langston, Jenna Levy, Molly McBrayer, Ethan Nghiem, Patrick Phillips, Gianna Pope, Sydney Rezaie, Auden Rudelson, Abby Stanford, Luke Stanford, Chloe Williams, Michael Wirtz, Kelsey Wittmann, and Evan Zheng

To learn more about AP Awards and your students' scores, visit the AP Students website here.

Congratulations to these outstanding scholars!

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From Cary Porter, ESD Director of Bands

Over the past month, the students in the 7th Grade and US Bands and US Strings have been very busy and quite successful at every turn. There has been a big shift in the direction of the band program in particular this year and the results are speaking for themselves. The students' results are a culmination of many years, months, days, and hours of hard work. There are even more exciting times ahead with more competitions and performance opportunities as the size and the quality of the band program continues to grow.


US Band and US String students attended the Universal Studios Sound Design Workshop where they learned to the art of foley and producing a film soundtrack (which they performed), sound effects and voice-overs. The soundtrack and all the sounds you hear were produced by the students.


Vishal Sridhar '22 was once again selected to be part of the honor band, with members being selected out of hundreds of students auditionees from Independent Schools all over North and Central Texas. These students spent Friday evening and all day Saturday learning brand new music to be performed on Saturday afternoon. These students are some of the very best in the state, and to pull together a concert so quickly is nothing less than amazing.


Independent school students from all over North and Central Texas participated in the most important music event of the year. Performing solos one-on-one for judges and receiving ranking and comments based on their performances. This year the band took 11 students. 9 students received the highest, "Superior," rating possible, and two students received an "Excellent" rating which is the second highest rating.

One exceedingly proud stat is the ALL 7th Grade Band Students, even those who have been in the band only one quarter, received the highest "Superior" ratings for their performances.

Among the 11 students who competed, 2 US Band students, Vishal Sridhar and Sofia Sabella '22, received a "Superior" rating on solos deemed to be of the highest challenge. Their accomplishments have garnered them an invitation to the Statewide Solo Contest in May where they will be competing among the best of the best Independent School music students from all across Texas.

7th Grade Band

  • Logan '24 - "Superior" rating
  • Cara '24 - "Superior" rating
  • Ronnie '24 - "Superior" rating
  • Shivani '24 - "Superior" rating
  • Wheeler '24 - "Superior" rating
  • Luke '24 - "Superior" rating

US Band

  • William Hargrave '19 - "Superior" rating
  • Henry Isom '20 - "Excellent" rating
  • Sofia Sabella '22 - "Superior" rating - ADVANCED TO STATE CONTEST IN MAY
  • Vishal Sridhar '22 - "Superior" rating - ADVANCED TO STATE CONTEST IN MAY
  • Kenny Tran '21 - "Excellent" rating

Please join ESD in congratulating these band students on amazing jobs well done!

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2018 08 03_Tanzania'ESD Teachers'Talbot_0198 (1).J

The Episcopal School of Dallas is excited to welcome staff from our sister school in Tanzania to the ESD campus this week. When our faculty visited their campus last August, they observed classes, led clubs, co-taught, and demonstrated various ways of supporting student engagement. We are looking forward to the opportunity to reciprocate during their visit and allow them to share their craft as well as learn from our own.

Our visitors are:

  • Mr. Max: Head of the Permaculture Institute of Tanzania and VETA college
  • Mr. Lyimo: Campus Director, Kahunda, the second campus
  • Gati Fredrick Kerato: Head of the Primary School, our main sister school campus (through grade 7) at the main campus
  • Mr. Jonas: Assistant Campus Director: Kitongo and Volunteer Coordinator
  • Ms. Deo: Matron and early years teacher on Kitongo campus
  • Ms. Atamba: currently in the Office of Student Development on Kitongo, but moving to our second campus to run the primary school.

Aside from visiting Kitongo last August, we welcomed the founder of Mainsprings, the organization who founded Joseph and Mary School, to campus in September. ESD also participates in collaborative science projects with their students. Just this week fifth-graders gathered water in the Quarry as part of their water testing project with Joseph and Mary. 

Please join us in welcoming our friends from Kitongo!

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ESD is excited to announce that eight more student-athletes committed to play their sport at the collegiate level. They will continue their academic and varsity athletic pursuits at the colleges and universities listed below:

Jack Betts, Amherst College; Football 

Adam Bland, Hendrix College; Baseball

Sriya Dodda, Columbia University; Crew

Elliot Duessel, Colgate University; Crew

Katelin Gildersleeve, Stanford University; Crew

Danny Kung, Washington and Lee University; Lacrosse

Lauren Marks, Yale University; Soccer

Bryce Miltenberger, Hobert and William Smith College; Crew


In November, ESD also had six student-athletes officially commit to play lacrosse at the collegiate level. These athletes signed National Letters of Intent to play at the universities listed below.

Scott Bower '19, University of Virginia 

Jay Browne '19, Stanford University

Caroline Cheetham '19, University of Southern California

Gianna Pope '19, University of Cincinnati

Carson Raney '19, The Ohio State University

Anna Winkeler '19, Arizona State University


Congratulations to our student-athletes on this incredible achievement! A multi-faceted group of athletes, artists, and academics, we anticipate additional members of the Class of 2019 may commit later this year

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Last week, ESD students in AP Microeconomics, Accounting, Business Management, and Entrepreneurship classes visited Addison TreeHouse, a co-working space and resource center for entrepreneurs. Addison TreeHouse was founded by the town of Addison and the Dallas Entrepreneur Center to invest in local entrepreneurs. Students spoke with representatives from TreeHouse about their opportunities, as well as with local entrepreneurs about their experiences founding their own businesses. Mayor of Addison Joe Chow also welcomed the students.

“I want the kids to be able to experience a co-working space used by entrepreneurs in Dallas and to see what options there are for entrepreneurs in the area. I'm hoping they can get a feel for what it’s like to use the space that is dedicated to giving entrepreneurs a location to brainstorm and work together,” said teacher Amy Livingston.

The students were able to tour the facility and its resources, as well as ask questions of the staff and Director Nancy Hong. What a great learning opportunity! Many thanks to all involved.