The goal of Christ Episcopal School’s academic program is to ensure that graduates are not only prepared for college but prepared to excel in higher education and to thrive in the real world.
We believe that the key to achieving that goal is to teach students how to think critically for themselves and communicate effectively with others, and to help them develop an appreciation for continued learning. We begin working on these skills in pre-kindergarten and, by the time they leave us as young adults, our students are confident in their abilities and in who they are. They are ready to be successful individuals wherever life takes them.
The most important skill that we can teach our students is how to think for themselves. We do not believe in handing them all of the answers, asking them to memorize, and then perform on a test. Instead, we give them the questions and guide them through the process of determining the answers on their own. As our students get older, more of their classes are discussion-based. Students become truly engaged and they learn to think and assert their own understanding and ideas into class conversation. They don’t just know the answers, they understand them.
Not all children are the same. They have different interests, different ways of learning, and different things that motivate and inspire them. Our teachers strive to understand each student and their individual learning styles so that they all can meet their potential. In addition, beginning with third grade ELA and math, our students are leveled to make sure that they are learning at a pace that is consistent with their abilities.
A critical component of the CES education is the development of a student’s ability to effectively communicate. In addition to boasting the first and only speech and debate team on the northshore, CES students are exposed to public speaking opportunities every year beginning in early pre-kindergarten with our beloved “Petit Monde” celebration. Other treasured events that incorporate speaking include the Kindergarten Circus, First Grade Poetry Day, Second Grade Biography Day, Third Grade World’s Fair, and more. This practice builds confidence while speaking in front of a group and develops language and communication while focusing on body language. This program is progressive with fifth-eighth grade students participating in oratory, among countless other public speaking opportunities. As students get older, the assignments become more complex and require a true understanding of the topics. This culminates with Seniors Speak, when our graduating seniors present “TED talks.” This program, combined with our discussion-based classes, instills a confidence in our students that is invaluable.
Students don’t have to be in a classroom to learn. We like to teach academic concepts in real world environments. Our second graders run the school post office, our fourth graders run the school popcorn factory, our fifth graders overnight at the Dauphin Island Marine Biology Lab, and the list goes on from there. We teach at our on-campus barn and garden, and we utilize many of the waterways in our community to provide our kids with hands-on learning. These experiences lead to inspired and curious students eager to learn more.