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ESK begins new school year, new programs

Episcopal School of Knoxville greeted 284 students for the beginning of fall term Wednesday, Aug. 13, with 59 teachers, a second year of Latin, an innovative Middle School discipline policy and campus additions valued at more than $1.75 million.

2008-09 marks the 11th year for the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school located off Lovell Road, and the first with its newly completed, 22,000 square feet Googe Hall Middle School Building.

The new structure features 12 classrooms, a media technology center with a great-room, where daily chapel services are held, and a new dining hall.

Students went to their classrooms and then attended their first chapel service, where they met all the teachers and staff. All students heard about the school’s ongoing use of the internationally acclaimed Tribes Community Building program, woven through all curriculum and events. New this year, the school is introducing a Tribes-oriented disciplinary policy especially for Middle School students.

Tribes principles – honesty, attentive listening, appreciations (no put downs), mutual respect, and the right to pass – are key to The Episcopal School’s ESK Life Policy, the new Middle School disciplinary program, said Assistant Headmaster Peter Klekamp. Lower School teachers also continue teaching the principles through a variety of activities.

ESK has been using Tribes principles and teaching methods for the past seven years. Lois Ross, ESK guidance counselor, is director of the program.

“During the time of life when children are growing physically, socially and emotionally, the ESK Life Policy offers a consistent structure of expectation. We are spending the first five or six weeks going over how we handle disciplinary issues with choices and consequences. Students will learn the importance of each tenet of our Tribes agreements such as Mutual Respect,” he said.

As part of the program, Middle School students will:

• Attend a retreat at Camp Kanuga in western North Carolina Sept. 3-5, where they will join advisory groups consisting of one teacher and a mix of 12 sixth, seventh and eighth graders and take on group challenges

• Continue to meet twice a week in their advisory groups. In them, eighth graders will be mentors while seventh graders aid sixth graders in the transition into Middle School.

• Sign the Tribes/ Honor Code Agreement in a Sept. 18 ceremony.

The school honor code reads: “An Episcopal School of Knoxville Student will not steal. An Episcopal School of Knoxville student will not lie. An Episcopal School of Knoxville student will not cheat. An Episcopal School of Knoxville student will not tolerate those who do.”

A second innovation at the school this year is the advent of Latin II, offered to seventh-graders after the Latin I for sixth-graders begun last year was so successful. All other students at the school take either French or Spanish.


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