At Episcopal School of Jacksonville, the success of every student is our priority.
The Student Services department is poised to support students through counseling services that address students’ emotional health and well-being and academic support that coordinates accommodations for students with diagnosed learning differences.
On the Munnerlyn Campus, the Student Services Academic Support team includes three full-time Learning Specialists, who coordinate accommodations and support for incoming and current students with diagnosed learning differences.
Individuals with learning differences who attend or seek to attend Episcopal will be supported with reasonable accommodations. For students with documented learning differences and mental health challenges that impact their academics, sharing documentation with the Learning Specialists allows Episcopal to put needed supports in place, inside and outside of the classroom. The process starts with the student receiving an evaluation from a school psychologist or other qualified provider. The findings in the resulting evaluation are used as a guide to create an Accommodation Plan, identifying which accommodations and recommendations we can implement at Episcopal. Families meet with a Learning Specialist to review the Accommodation Plan and explain how the accommodations can be utilized.
Student Services support is available on an individual basis as well as in a small group setting and skill development often focuses on executive functioning, effective studying, and test-taking. The opportunity to work with a Learning Specialist is available whether a student is transitioning in and acclimating to the rigor of the environment, or if a student sees a gap between current performance and expected performance on a specific assessment or in a particular class. The Student Services team partners with students to help them understand that challenges related to the academic experience should be expected. With the right support and guidance, students can also build the skills they need to identify the roadblocks impacting potential success, and learn how to adjust and overcome obstacles. The process emphasizes student academic, emotional, and interpersonal growth and builds self-advocacy and awareness.
The Student Services team maintains a list of ESJ faculty who also provide tutoring services outside of their teaching duties. Students who have made an effort to visit their regular classroom teacher for additional support and continue to experience difficulty can request a tutoring referral for additional support. Since most recommended tutors are also ESJ faculty members, they have extensive knowledge of ESJ curriculum and faculty expectations, and they can recommend strategies that best facilitate success for the individual student.
Three full-time counselors are available to support the emotional health and well-being of ESJ students. Counselors are available by appointment or on a walk-in basis to talk with students and families about how to holistically address new and ongoing challenges that interfere with personal and academic success. Counselors also maintain relationships with community resources and can refer students to outside providers if a student would benefit from additional support.
Awareness, Inclusion, and Respect (AIR) at Episcopal is a school-wide initiative that aligns with our identity as a school in the Episcopal tradition. The Baptismal Covenant of the Episcopal Church has been at the heart of our school since its founding, and contains within it the precepts of "respecting the dignity of every human being," "loving your neighbor as yourself," and living "by word and example the Good News of God in Christ." All of these propel our efforts moving forward as a school community to welcome, include, recognize, and value all.
Our current AIR initiative began as an effort in 2018, when a group of faculty and staff first gathered to acknowledge and address areas of student need such as how to best support students, foster greater understanding, and equip faculty and students to respond to the needs of a diverse school community. That group eventually included student voices, and together proposed an initiative that centered on promoting an awareness of issues, backgrounds, and varying perspectives on our campus; working to ensure that all feel genuinely welcomed and included in our school community; and that respect and empathy for others remains at the foundation of all we do. Student-led discussion ultimately and appropriately branded this initiative Awareness, Inclusion, and Respect (AIR). It has since grown into two entities: the AIR Steering Committee that is faculty-led and the AIR Student Council that is student-driven. These groups work together to listen, learn, and ultimately promote a welcoming and supportive environment for all members of our school community, true to our identity as an Episcopal school.
The AIR Student Council meets regularly to plan programs and events for the student body that promote Awareness, Inclusion, and Respect. Faculty-supported Student Peer Groups also foster a sense of belonging for specific populations of students.