Episcopal emphasizes learner-centered teaching.
College preparatory courses
At Episcopal, a learner-centered approach to teaching is valued. This approach to learning is intended to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, and cultural backgrounds of our students. Since every student is different, it is important that the school provide many different opportunities for our students in athletics, the arts, religious faith and service, and of course, academics. A student is encouraged to select coursework that is appropriate and challenging for him or her as an individual. Every course is college-preparatory in nature, but the different classes allow students to be both challenged and successful in their learning.
A Meaningful Daily Schedule
The thoughtfully designed daily schedule at Episcopal enhances programs, increases effectiveness in teaching and learning, and reduces stress. The schedule provides increased opportunities for learner-centered pedagogical instruction, collaboration, teacher accessibility, and advising.
The academic schedule is comprised of seven-course sections. Over a seven-day cycle, classes meet five times for 65-minute periods. Longer class periods allow for deeper investigation and exploration (Harkness, labs, learner-centered activities) of content with more time for discussion and reflection in class. Students will have the benefit of greater accessibility to teachers, breaks to allow for mental recharge, and the opportunity to learn to make good use of their time in a day with a manageable pace.
Class sizes ensure students are known as individuals; this facilitates helping students learn how they learn best, as well as allowing us to recommend courses of study that are specific to a student’s particular strengths, interests, and goals.
AP and Honors Classes
Episcopal’s Honors and AP courses are for selected students with exceptional intellectual curiosity, intrinsic motivation, and advanced abstract thinking skills. Episcopal offers 23 Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Recommendations for Honors and AP classes are based on a combination of student achievement, personal responsibility and initiative, intellectual curiosity, and developmental maturity. Each year, placements are a departmental decision based on students' past performance, placement test results, and teacher recommendations. Recommendations are shared and discussed with the student and with his/her advisor and parents so that, together, we can arrive at the optimal level of challenge for each student.
As students develop as independent learners, there may be the need for academic support. It is essential for students at Episcopal School of Jacksonville to develop strong self-advocacy skills. Just as a coach serves as a mentor to his or her athletes, ESJ teachers and advisors also serve to guide students in seeking out the support they need to be successful. It is not uncommon to see seeking individualized and small-group help from their teachers; in fact, it is encouraged.
Individuals with learning differences who attend or seek to attend Episcopal School of Jacksonville will be supported with accommodations that are considered reasonable in this educational setting. In order to access these accommodations, a student must present documentation to Student Services that indicates a disability that substantially limits a major life activity, including learning.
Student Services has two full time Learning Specialists on staff to work with incoming and current students with diagnosed learning disabilities to coordinate accommodations and support with academic management. We ask all incoming families to contact the Student Services office within the first month of school in order to provide appropriate accommodations if needed.