Student Support Services
Learn more about the individualized education ESD students experience in this section through the Advisory Program, Learning Support Services, Language Labs, and Emotional Wellness Support.
The advisory program is a historic and integral part of the ESD experience.
Nearly four decades ago, as Father Swann was formulating the kind of school ESD would become, he believed strongly that children feel assured that they would not be anonymous – that they would not “fall through the cracks.” He believed that within a larger community, there should be small, intimate groups where everyone felt accepted; where the power of cliques is minimized; where an adult could shepherd and guide. Thus, the ESD advisory system was born.
Through the years, the concept has evolved. Today, the advisory system is a cornerstone of the day-to-day life of the Middle and Upper School students at ESD. It is a continuation of the warmth and care found in homerooms at the Lower School. Every morning, each advisory, comprised of eight to ten same-grade students, begins the day together in Chapel. During lunch, every day in the Middle School and twice a week in Upper School, the advisory sits together at the round tables in the Daryl Johnston Family Dining Commons. Advisory also includes community service projects, special programming, one-on-one meetings between the advisor and the advisee, and group activities at Wolf Run. These experiences allow the advisor to get to know these young people in a way that transcends academics.
“The advisory program is a key component of the ‘nurture’ that we embrace at the Episcopal School of Dallas,” suggests Scott Kimball, Head of Middle School. “As children are being challenged and stretched in every way – academically, physically, and socially -- the advisory system provides a safe environment where you know you are welcome and accepted. It gives each student a place where they can confidently assert they belong. From this position of assurance, they can achieve and excel.”
We often remind parents that it is our hope to be a partner with them as they raise their children. The teachers take very seriously the trust that is placed in them and they embrace their role as advisors. A good educator is passionate about the subject matter, be it history, science, math, English, the arts, physical education, or religion. ESD’s teachers are also ardent about kids and how to best guide them toward adulthood. Students trust and depend on their advisor to help them in innumerable ways: the advisor advocates for them, corrects them, counsels them. The advisor hopes to know everything about those in his/her charge – academically, socially, and emotionally. Through this unique relationship, the advisor also equips students with the skills and knowledge required to be successful in school.
“As an alumnae and a teacher, I think that the advisory system plays a huge part in creating the unique and special community that ESD has,” says Meg Fahrenbrook ’01. “It gives each child a sense of security of knowing there is an adult at school they can rely on to help them organize, talk to teachers, and deal with social issues. It also provides the parents with one primary contact at the school who knows their child and will serve as a conduit for information between the parents and the students' teachers.”