Learning

Lower School

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  • Brenda Hagen, Head of Lower School

    Brenda Hagen is in her 14th year as the Head of Lower School at HCES. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education, a M.Ed. in Reading Education, and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership. All three degrees are from Florida State University. She started her career by teaching in Orlando and continued when she moved permanently to Tallahassee. After she and her husband, Chip, had children they decided to find a school home with a reputation of being focused on Christian principles and high academics. Holy Comforter School was the perfect fit. While touring the campus at the former location on Miccosukee Road, Brenda felt called to return to the classroom and began teaching at our school in 2000. When the Head of Lower School position needed to be filled in 2005, she then transitioned into administration. Fostering a love for learning and helping children navigate through the elementary years is her true passion.

    Fun Facts:
    Going on an African safari is on Brenda’s bucket list because it combines her love of animals and travel.
    Enjoying a sunset while sitting on the beach is Brenda’s favorite way to relax.
Our well-rounded academics encompass the use of research-based innovative instruction and materials in core subjects; reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Integrating skills such as problem-solving, collaboration, and creative thinking, we educate and encourage children to be successful, lifelong learners that are prepared to meet the challenges of our ever-changing, global society. Academic excellence is attained as students are instructed in a positive and encouraging environment supported by Christian principles.

Christianity and Character Education

Grace-filled classrooms, devotionals and chapel services include instruction based on Christian values, beliefs, and traditions. Each Friday, classes take turns presenting Chapel to their families and friends, a beloved HCES tradition. By weaving core values, through Character Education, into the very fabric of the school's overall life, students grow on the sure foundation of Christian love.

Field Trips

Students experience first-hand what they’ve learned in the classroom through annual field trips to the:

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  • Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

  • St. Augustine

  • Wakulla Springs

  • Joe Budd Youth Conservation Center

  • Flowers Bakery

  • Broadview Assisted Living

  • and more

Lower School Traditions

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  • Grandpeople‚Äôs Day

  • May Day

  • 1st Grade Nativity

  • Musicals

  • Lighting of the Christmas Tree

  • Colonial Tea

  • Christmas Around the World

  • Wax Museum

  • Business Day

  • 5th Grade Celebration

Special Areas

What are "special area classes" exactly? To us, they're not "extras," but an essential part of a rich educational experience. These specials provide an opportunity for our children to experience a diverse range of classes, discover their own passions and interests, and express themselves creatively.

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  • Physical Education

    We all know that children need to run, play, and MOVE in order to do their best learning, and our PE program does just that, while teaching valuable teamwork and sportsmanship skills. Not only do students have PE twice a week, but they have recess throughout the day to keep their bodies active and their minds fresh!
  • The Fine Arts (Music and Art)

    Our teachers make the arts sing at Holy Comforter, and our students get the chance to get messy, take risks, tap into their own creativity, and explore a wide range of artistic pursuits: singing, dancing, playing instruments, sculpting, drawing, painting, acting, and so much more! When students are given the ability to perform in front of their peers and family through grade level musicals, chapels and programs, they develop the confidence to take on the lead role on life’s stage.
  • Languages

    Learning a new language is such a gift! Once you learn a second language, it's so much easier to layer on additional ones…which opens up endless possibilities in our increasingly shrinking world. Research also shows that language learning makes children more culturally competent, more empathetic, and— interestingly—stronger math students!
  • Library

    No educational experience is complete without piles and piles of well-loved books, and our Media Specialist makes it her mission to help every child develop a rich and joyful love of reading. Students learn the life-long skills of accessing information efficiently, evaluating digital and traditional information critically, and using information accurately for the task at hand. In addition, students become aware of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information.
  • STEAM Lab

    Our Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) program is truly unique and gives students the opportunity to learn STEAM principals in a lab setting and in their classrooms. This program provides authentic inquiry-based learning experiences where problem-solving, discovery and exploratory learning are embraced.

1:1 Technology

Students at HCES have technology at their fingertips! Students use current technology intuitively, in developmentally appropriate ways, allowing them to gradually build the skills necessary to use the latest technology while achieving their highest academic performance. 

Outreach

Our outreach program gives students opportunities to experience faith in action as we partner with local organizations to support others in need. Some of our outreach projects include helping to stock the church food pantry, providing Christmas presents for children through Guardian ad Litem, and teaming with Miracle League Sports to provide physically challenged children opportunities to participate in sporting events in an environment best suited to meet their needs.