Knoxville fifth grader Sean Grace, a student at The Episcopal School of Knoxville, bested a field of 30 fifth to eighth grade students Monday afternoon to become the 2015 Tennessee State You Be The Chemist Challenge Champion. Grace will represent Tennessee at the National You Be The Chemist Challenge in Philadelphia this June. “We couldn’t be more excited for Sean to represent ESK at the national competition,” ESK Lower School Director Nancy Laurence said. “He is an excellent student who comes from a great family. Our entire school community will be rooting for Sean to succeed this summer.” Developed by the Chemical Educational Foundation, the You Be The Chemist Challenge is an exciting question-and-answer competition that motivates fifth to eighth grade students to sharpen their knowledge of chemistry concepts and their real-world applications. Students compete for prizes at the local and state levels, and the ultimate prize of a trip to Philadelphia to vie for college scholarships. The Challenge program relies on partnerships between community members who seek to foster student engagement with science, including industry, schools, universities and community organizations. The 2015 Tennessee State Challenge was held at The Episcopal School of Knoxville and was sponsored locally by Dow Chemical. After correctly answering dozens of chemistry and general science questions over multiple rounds of competition, Grace was declared the Tennessee Challenge Champion. Eighth Grader Thomas Simunovic and Seventh Grader Luke Fowler earned the titles of first and second runners-up, respectively. Grace has earned a participant spot at the National You Be The Chemist Challenge on June 22, in Philadelphia, at The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts. Each participant at the national competition will receive an advanced-level chemistry kit, as well a other prizes including t-shirts and gift certificates. The first-through fourth-place winners will also receive scholarships totaling $18,500 for future educational use. Additionally, participants, chaperones and a nominated educator from each state will be treated to activities that take advantage of Philadelphia’s historical and scientific heritage, inkling a celebratory dinner at the National Constitution Center. “Competing in the Challenge can spark a lifelong interest in chemistry and other scientific fields, even before a student reaches high school,” state CEF’s Executive Director, John Rice. “The competition shows students the immediate relevance of the science concepts they are studying. Challenge participants learn about the role of chemistry in the human body, in energy production, in creating new types of recyclable materials, and a variety of other applications — which is a wonderful introduction to the vast array of scientific careers available to them in the future.” Please visit the CEF website, www.chemed.org, for more information.
The Episcopal School of Knoxville is pleased to announce the expansion of their Junior Kindergarten program to include a 3-year old class beginning in the fall of 2015. This academic program is designed for three-and four-year-olds who would be ready for Junior Kindergarten 4 in the fall of 2016. “Expanding our program to include 3-year-olds makes a lot of sense from the developmental perspective,” ESK Headmaster Jay Secor said. “We will now be able to take our youngest students and shape them to ensure they are prepared for our strong Kindergarten program. This allows ESK to stay at the forefront of early childhood education.” The Junior Kindergarten day begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 1:30 p.m. A Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday class or a Monday through Friday class will be offered for those in the 3-year-old program. Lunch will be provided, and extended care (1:30-3:00 p.m. and 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.) is available for an additional fee. Class size is limited to 16 students. “This is an expansion driven by parents who have been so pleased with their child’s experience at ESK that they have been asking when we would add a 3-year-old class,” Lower School Director Nancy Laurence said. “I am thrilled that we can finally say August 2015!” At ESK, we believe that “play is the work of children,” and that through play-based projects, Junior Kindergarten students will be able to learn lifelong skills that will help them successfully transition to our Lower School Kindergarten program. Children are not left to their own devices, nor is their development left to chance. Academic goals and objectives are met by careful planning and building on what each individual can do and by challenging them to reach just beyond their comfort zone. The teacher’s role is to co-explore and co-construct the learning experience with the children. An emergent curriculum values student input and encourages children to explore, create, and make choices leading to greater involvement in their own learning. Time is not set by the clock but by the child’s needs and interests. There should be sufficient time for a child to express, learn, explore, extend, and revisit a given project. Enrichments will include daily chapel and also (but not limited to) library, Spanish, Mandarin, physical education, music, and art sessions. Our 96-acre campus will serve as our outdoor classroom to learn about the environment. ESK is committed to creating and maintaining a place for our youngest children that acknowledges, reflects and communicates our beliefs. The values of our Junior Kindergarten program are based on an image of the child as curious, competent and capable of co-constructing knowledge. 2014-2015 marks seventeen years of academic excellence at The Episcopal School of Knoxville. From the founders' earliest efforts, it is apparent that careful planning, consensus building and community outreach have helped pave the way for the school's success. The blessings of talented youth, willing volunteers, generous gifts, dedicated faculty and staff, community support and engaged parents have made The Episcopal School of Knoxville an important member of the independent school community in East Tennessee.
First Wednesday of the Month (beginning October 1, 2014) 8:15 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. Clayton Lower School Library Beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 1, ESK’s Lower School librarian, Miranda Clark, will be offering a preschool story time on the first Wednesday of each month from 8:15am until 8:45am. This story time is open to all pre-K siblings of current ESK students as well as pre-K friends or neighbors and parents. Guests are invited to come and experience our chapel service at 8am then head to the Clayton Lower School Library for a half-hour story time. Mrs. Clark will read two or three books to the group and talk to parents about early reading suggestions for preschoolers. If you would like someone special to receive an email invitation or if you have questions, please contact Mrs. Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 777.9037, ext.237.
The Episcopal School of Knoxville is pleased to announce that Dr. Jack Talmadge has been appointed as the second Headmaster in ESK’s 17-year history. Dr. Talmadge succeeds James Jay Secor, III, who will retire this summer after 16 years as headmaster. Dr. Talmadge brings nearly 20 years of both public and private school experience as a teacher and an administrator to ESK. He is currently Director of The Summit Charter School, a public charter school for grades kindergarten through eighth in Cashiers, N.C. Prior to this, he worked as a senior administrator at a private school in Virginia. While at Summit, Dr. Talmadge has led such programs as Quest, Heritage Clubs, and S.E.E.C. that connect students at every grade level to an amazing experiential and place-based learning experience. “I am overjoyed and honored by the gracious offer to become Episcopal School of Knoxville’s next Headmaster,” Talmadge said. “There is truly a wonderful level of wholesomeness, dedication and care for child success eminent in all areas of the school’s program. I commend Jay Secor, his talented faculty, and the many great ESK families and friends who have partnered to build such a special and inspiring place to learn and grow. This call is an easy “yes” for me, and the Talmadge family members are beside ourselves with excitement to join ESK on its next great adventure.” Dr. Talmadge earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy at George Washington University in 2007 after completing his Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration at George Washington in 2001. Dr. Talmadge graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1993. ESK is honored and thrilled to welcome Dr. Talmadge, his wife Beth, and their three daughters to the community. Mrs. Talmadge is currently a Kindergarten teacher at Summit Charter School. The selection of ESK’s next Headmaster is the Board of Trustees’ highest responsibility, and the task was approached with great care and diligence. Since the spring, a board-appointed Search Committee, led by Chair, Amy Schumaker, and Chair of the Board, Cate Biggs, have engaged in a tailored, thorough and national search guided by the top-notch consultant firm Independent Educational Services. The process led to intensive interviews with several of the nation’s most qualified leaders in independent school leadership. “We are excited about Jack’s energy, enthusiasm, and credentials; we are certain he is the one to lead ESK forward,” Biggs said. “At every turn, the Search Committee was guided by the ESK Mission, the principles of Episcopal education, and the detailed list of competencies developed for the job description before the search even began. “What ultimately led us to Jack Talmadge, and distinguished him from our other strong candidates, was the combination of his breadth of experience, his thoughtful manner, and his clear articulation of sound educational ideas that are consonant with ESK’s culture and philosophy.”