For the first time in the school’s history, students from Good Shepherd Episcopal School are competing in the Virginia Math League. Although Good Shepherd is a small K-8 school located in the heart of Forest Hill, students are inspired to compete against schools with much larger populations and resources. Good Shepherd is the smallest school in the Richmond area to participate in the competition.
Ten of the school’s 16 sixth-grade students voluntarily competed against their local peers in this year’s Math League competition. Students competed on Tuesday, February 25, by completing a variety of word problems in a thirty-minute period. These sixth graders have been preparing for the competition at bi-weekly practices after school and during lunch for the last six weeks.
Team sponsor Nancy Negus said, “These students have devoted so much time to getting ready and have shown tremendous perseverance to this new school activity. The contest is very challenging. Not only are the questions difficult, students have only 30 minutes to answer as many questions as they can. The fact that the test is timed can be stressful in itself. I was pleased that so many students wanted to participate.”
While the final results aren’t in, Good Shepherd students definitely won in terms of heart and experience. Mrs. Negus concluded, “I’m happy that our students now have the experience of preparing for and participating in a nationwide competition. We celebrated our hard work and math success with a party for the entire sixth grade!”
Recently, eighth-grade Language Arts students practiced their research writing skills by gathering information about a local geographical and historical landmark, the Old Netherwood Quarry. The Old Netherwood Quarry is one of fifteen historic quarries located south of the James River in the Richmond and Bon Air areas. Many of Richmond’s notable buildings and homes were built using stone from this and other quarries throughout Richmond. Granite from this quarry by Riverside Drive, near the 42nd Street entrance to the park system, was shipped as far north as New York during the mid-nineteenth century. Students have researched quarrying in the area using local sources, visiting the site itself, and interviewing owners of a neighborhood home built using granite from the Old Netherwood Quarry. Students have enjoyed making connections through real world experiences, as well as understanding how local history, science, and literature are all connected.
This endeavor is part of a greater effort to further implement place-based educational practices at the school. Place-based education connects learning to communities and the world around us. It is an approach to learning that takes advantage of geography to create authentic, meaningful, and engaging experiences for students, across the curriculum. Good Shepherd is located in an ideal setting for place-based education, as the Forest Hill Neighborhood is rich with history and natural beauty. Students at Good Shepherd regularly participate in Outdoor Education as a class, but other core classes take advantage of our unique place on the map to further enhance the curriculum. Students have studied the geology, history, and lore of our neighborhood. They have built relationships with neighbors, helped keep the park clean by picking up litter, and researched neighborhood landmarks such as the mysterious Forest Hill Park pyramid. Ultimately, these learning experiences foster a valuable, ongoing relationship with the community.
Good Shepherd eighth-grade students hosted preschoolers from Forest Hill Presbyterian Church on a fall outing in Forest Hill Park. The eighth graders told stories about the history of the park based on a book published by Good Shepherd students in 1987 and on An Illustrated History of Forest Hill Park written by Lynne Ann George and published by The Friends of Forest Hill Park. Students discussed the trolley that shuttled park goers to amusement rides and boats that filled the lake on summer weekends.
Also, as part of the lesson, the middle schoolers helped the preschoolers shuck corn and make corn husk dolls. The older students read aloud “The Legend of the Corn Husk Doll” to set the stage for craft time that took place on the bank of the lake in the center of the park. Students enjoyed the beautiful fall day while imagining themselves back in the late 1800s celebrating the bounty of the corn harvest and making period appropriate toys with their new friends.
Partnerships with the community and making best use of our neighborhood surroundings create memories and strong bonds that root our students in their community.
Electronics (specifically circuitry) are one of the three foundational skills our students receive during their Computer Science classes in middle school. We have found that a basic understanding of electronics is essential to move on to many great computing and robotics projects. Our objective is to ensure our students are equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators, not just consumers, in our new digital economy.
Eighth grade students visited the Hindu Temple of Virginia yesterday as the second part of their World Cultures course. These cultural exchange trips help to shape the students global understanding and values. During their visit students learned about the forms and functions of God in the Hindu faith, worship traditions, holy books and languages, festivals, symbols of faith and food laws.
Thank you to Dakota Willis for sharing her experiences in the Peace Corps with our 7th and 8th grade students today. Ms. Willis was stationed in Nkanka, Rwanda on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and taught English there for two and a half years. Students heard about the importance of flexibility, community and appreciating the many gifts they receive, including running water and reliable electricity!
Students in the eighth grade visited the Al Medina School of Richmond last week as the first part of their World Cultures course. These cultural exchange trips help to shape the students global understanding and values. Students spent the first half experiencing Islamic culture, traditions, countries, landmarks, and values through a presentation created by Al-Medina students.
The second half of their trip was spent interacting with Al-Medina students as GSES students asked fun, cultural, and various questions while they laughed, interacted, connected hearts and most of all developed respect for all people.
Students will also visit a Hindu temple in February.
Congratulations to the new members of the National Junior Honor Society! Good Shepherd is delighted to recognize Barrett Burns, Ryan Busick, Kylie Fenick, Lainie Murray and Sabian Smith as the newest members of the GSES Chapter.
Established in 2016, the Good Shepherd Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society inductees must exemplify the five standards of the NJHS, which include: leadership, citizenship, character, service, and scholarship. Applicants must have at least 20 hours of community service to be nominated.
The Middle School students helped move and dig transplant holes for the ten new trees donated to Good Shepherd! We can’t wait to watch these grow! Many thanks to the Richmond Tree Stewards for helping our students learn about the best way to move and transplant trees.