Ellis faculty and staff participated in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) focused professional development together on Indigenous People’s Day. Centered on culturally responsive teaching practices, the Office of DEI hosted three sessions that included defining and understanding cultural competency through an Ellis lens, culturally responsive instruction, and highlighting and recognizing the DEI work that is already happening in Ellis classrooms.
For the first time in its seventeen-year history, Culture Jam will take place away from Ellis’ Fifth Avenue campus and be hosted entirely online. Organized and helmed by the Upper School Student Diversity League, Culture Jam 2021 will be broadcasted virtually on January 15, 2021. The conference will feature a keynote address from renowned activist and non-profit executive Gisele Fetterman.
Three Ellis soccer players earned postseason honors in recognition of their excellence on the field this season. Seniors Alexis Crichlow, Miranda Lightner, and Dalia Milch were awarded spots on the 2020 WPIAL All-Section team in honor of their hard work, leadership, and athleticism. In celebration of these accolades, Head Varsity Soccer Coach Tim Howard shared his perspective on this year’s All-Section athletes.
Five Ellis field hockey players were awarded spots on the 2020 WPIAL All-Star team in recognition of their athleticism on the field this season. Ilona Bender, Class of 2023, Grayson Honig, Class of 2023, and Tegan Poerio, Class of 2021, were named to the Class A WPIAL All-Star team, and Hannah Rust, Class of 2021, and Zoe Woon, Class of 2023, earned Honorable Mentions. In celebration of these postseason honors, Head Varsity Field Hockey Coach Amanda Rose shares her perspective on this year’s all-star athletes.
Thirty-six Ellis students earned honors on the 2020 national language exams. The French, Spanish, and Latin exams test students’ knowledge and comprehension of both language and culture. Over 70,000 students participate in the National French Contest and over 150,000 students take the National Spanish and Latin Exams.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are woven within the fabric of an Ellis student’s daily learning experience. But what role do parents play in supporting their kids as they do this work in their own lives? To help parents support their daughters and grow in their own journeys, The Ellis School has launched a four-part mini-series this year, The Groundwork: The Parent Role in Building an Inclusive Community.
To say that this year’s fall play was a show unlike any other would be an understatement. From wearing masks in rehearsals and throughout recordings to staging a show that allows for social distancing, this year’s cast and crew of “Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play” put their creativity to the test. The final product was a virtual tour de force that put the talents of Ellis' Upper School students center stage.
For the seventh consecutive year in a row, the Varsity Field Hockey Team competed in the WPIAL championship against Shady Side Academy. This year’s matchup on November 2 was a battle until the final buzzer that ultimately ended in a 2-1 score that favored Shady Side. Although the game didn’t end with the Tigers being named WPIAL champs, the grit, dedication, and leadership shown on and off the field by our student-athletes this season is certainly something to celebrate.
Dr. Elissa McCARTHY Tessier '95 has been inducted into the Ellis Athletic Hall of Fame. Elissa was chosen for her outstanding athletic accomplishments and contributions as a student-athlete during her time at The Ellis School.
The Ellis School is proud to recognize Kathy McMORRAN Murray ’70 with the 2020 Sara Frazer Ellis Award. The award is given annually to an alumna whose achievements represent the Ellis experience and exemplify the School’s mission.
The Ellis School is pleased to offer a series of educational programs to parents for the 2020–2021 school year. These informative and helpful sessions will serve as opportunities for parents to learn from teachers, administrators, and experts around the strategies for raising confident girls who are ready and committed to impacting the world around them.
You can still hear the echo of laughter at lunchtime come 12:30 p.m., but it’s no longer emanating from Alumnae Hall—it’s coming from the courtyard, where girls sit cross-legged on beach towels and eat their lunches in the sunshine. And, unlike in years past, the presence of a tablet or cell phone at lunch is no longer an unfamiliar sight—it’s girls video-calling their friends who are learning at home, ensuring they have a front row seat to their socially-distanced salsa routine or are included in conversations about their favorite Netflix show. Small moments like these make it clear that Middle School girls are embracing their new spaces and schedules to start the school year.
One of the hallmarks of the Upper School is the focus on interdisciplinary, project-based learning. From partnering with external clients on engineering projects to learning about antibiotic resistance by participating in a nationwide research campaign, Ellis students learn about themselves and their interests from each other, their communities, and the world around them. And while the world and school in 2020 look different, the reality is that Ellis students are gaining more practical, real-world skills than ever before. They’re taking on new challenges with courage. They’re practicing flexibility at every turn. And, notably, they're tackling their new normal together as one school community.
Believe it or not, the pre-kindergarten curriculum begins with a monster. More specifically, a story about a very mischievous monster who refuses to listen, share, or help on her first day of school. The monster makes so much trouble that the teacher asks her to leave which makes the monster very sad. The monster wants to stay at school, but she doesn’t know what to do. At this point in the story, the pre-kindergarten teachers stop telling the story and ask the students, “Can you help Monster?”
The Ellis School is pleased to announce new faculty members for the 2020–2021 school year. The School is thrilled to add these passionate intellects, scholars, and linguists to our team. Please join us in welcoming these talented educators to our community.
The Ellis School is pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Freedman to the Board of Trustees. Effective July 2020, Laura will work with fellow trustees and Board Chair, Mike Haggerty, to guide The Ellis School’s strategic vision for the future.
Aniya Akhtar, Class of 2020, has been awarded the 2020 Caplan-Lieber Human Relations Award. Presented by the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee, the recognition is awarded to a student who has shown initiative and leadership in combating prejudice and fostering relationships between diverse groups in the Pittsburgh area.
The Ellis School honored members of the junior and senior classes with awards honoring their outstanding academic achievements, athletic contributions, and service to the community at Closing Exercises on May 29. Please join us in congratulating these students for their commitment to scholarship, service, and sportsmanship.
The Ellis School is proud to announce the Class of 2020’s college matriculation list. When making their final decisions, Ellis seniors are encouraged to follow their own paths and commit to a school that not only supports who they are now, but who they will become. This year’s class of 23 students will attend 20 institutions across the country and has shown a strong interest in pursuing careers in medicine, health, business, and computer science. As changemakers now and in the future, the Class of 2020 is prepared to use the power of their unique voices, perspectives, and experiences to make their own indelible mark on the world.
Natalie Graf, Class of 2020, will trade in her green and white for black and yellow when she joins The Pratt Institute’s Women’s Basketball Team in the fall. A team leader and sharp shooter for the Tigers, Natalie was a key factor in the team’s success and historic run in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs this year.
From newspaper clippings and dog-eared books to hospital bands and old polaroids, the Class of 2021 went on a journey of self-discovery as they collected meaningful personal materials for their final English project of the year. Inspired by the book Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli, the project tasked grade 11 American Literature students with creating an archive of their own, complete with sentimental items and belongings, much like the characters in the award-winning novel. A fitting and timely project for the class as they live through historic times in the present, this look-back at the events and items that shaped their pre-pandemic lives proved to be particularly relevant and impactful.
This question was posed to the grade 4 class in early March when they began their end-of-year project on influential women throughout history. From suffragettes to scientists and spies, the Class of 2028 looked inward at their own interests to decide who they would like to research and outward as they sifted through dozens of books on gutsy women to inform their choice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Marie Curie, Wilma Rudolph, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Lucille Ball were just a handful of the women who made the final list.
In today’s increasingly virtual world, people of all ages are becoming more familiar with consuming news derived from short video clips, Instagram stories, or “listicle” articles. This new way of interpreting and comprehending information has trickled down to younger demographics as they explore the digital space, and it has become even more prevalent as students and teachers explore different ways to communicate during remote learning.
The fall/winter edition of The Ellisian Journal, Ellis’ student-run literary journal, has been published. Editor-in-Chief Sami Silk, Class of 2021, shares, "On behalf of the staff of the Ellisian Journal, I'd like to share this compilation of writing and art by Ellis Upper School students. Our goal is to showcase student creativity and encourage individual expression. We hope you enjoy it!"
Students in Dr. Susan Corbesero’s Gender and Power seminar may have started the course learning about Victorian women navigating unsafe streets in London, but they’re ending it in true Generation Z fashion—with TikTok. After learning about gender, power, and intersectional dynamics throughout the course, students have had to reimagine their end-of-year project on street harassment in light of remote learning. And while the class, all senior students, didn’t plan for these unforeseen circumstances, the crash-course they’re receiving in the importance of utilizing flexibility, resourcefulness, and adaptability in their work is one that will serve them well now and long into the future.
Nineteen Upper School students have been inducted into three National Honor Societies for world languages. All inductees have demonstrated a palpable enthusiasm for learning a language and have maintained an A- average or higher through two years of French, Latin, or Spanish. Their proven dedication to not only learning a language, but to exploring the diverse cultures, people, and perspectives behind it, is what truly makes these students successful as they master their language skills in upper-level courses.
The Ellis School inducted six outstanding student scholars into the Cum Laude Society on Friday, April 24. Phoebe Brown, Class of 2020; Kay Fleischner, Class of 2020; Ricarda Hill, Class of 2020; Grace Coffelt, Class of 2021; Kiera Harrell-Danks, Class of 2021; and Tegan Poerio, Class of 2021 were recognized for their academic excellence at this year’s virtual assembly.
Ellis faculty and staff committed to continuing their growth and development around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work by participating in a book study on How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. A catalyst for meaningful dialogue and self-reflection, the book challenged employees to examine implicit biases, rethink deeply held beliefs, and consider how they can contribute to the formation of a more equitable and just school environment and society.
Natalie Jasper, Class of 2021, has earned postseason honors and accolades in recognition of her excellence and athleticism on the basketball court this year. Natalie has been named the WPIAL 2A Girls Basketball Player of the Year and has also earned spots on the All-State Team and the WPIAL All-Section Team. In celebration of these recognitions, Head Varsity Basketball Coach Dan LaGamba shared his perspective on Natalie’s leadership, sportsmanship, and skill.
Two Ellis Upper School students have been recognized with national medals in the Scholastic Writing Awards. Eleanor Barth Wu, Class of 2022, won a silver medal for her critical essay, “Cancel Culture and the Twitter Mob”, and Annika Ramani, Class of 2021, won a gold medal for her poem, “Stolen Fruit”.
Ellis girls wear many hats. They’re serious students. They’re committed athletes. They’re determined club presidents, creative artists, passionate allies—the list goes on. And while each Ellis student wears her own unique combination of hats, those in the Future City elective add a few more unconventional ones to the list: makeshift city planner; sustainability strategist; water filtration expert; software engineer; design researcher. For these students, hard hats aren’t included—but perhaps they should be.
In October 2019, a new first happened. Fifty years after the all-male Apollo 11 crew landed on the moon, two female astronauts, Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, performed NASA’s first-ever spacewalk conducted entirely by women. It was the 221st spacewalk completed in support of the space station, but the only all-female one. While it was a huge milestone for NASA—it’s fair to say Ellis girls in the second grade can’t quite comprehend why it took so long.
Thirty Ellis students have been recognized with regional Scholastic Writing Awards, winning thirty-three different awards in the critical essay, novel, personal essay & memoir, sci-fi/fantasy, flash fiction, and poetry categories. In addition to a Gold Key award, Eleanor Barth Wu, Class of 2022, has also been nominated for the American Voices medal for her critical essay, “Cancel Culture and the Twitter Mob.”
Nine Ellis students were awarded either first or second place at the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Regional Competition held on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at Duquesne University. In addition to first and second place finishes, Eleanor Barth Wu won two additional awards of merit: the American Chemical Society Dr. James Manner Award and the Duane Keenan Award in Biochemistry.
Thirty Ellis students have been recognized with regional Scholastic Art Awards, winning thirty-six different awards in the clay, photography, drawing, digital photography, and mixed media categories. The incredible creativity and attention to detail students’ displayed in their submitted works are a testament to their hard work in the studio, as well as a nod to the impassioned artists leading our own Visual Arts Department.
Ellis’ Middle School Future City Team took first place at the 21st Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition on Saturday, January 18. The team won special awards for Best Essay and Best Management of Water Resources and took first place overall. The team will advance to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., next month and will compete against over 40 teams from all over the country as well as from Canada and China. This win marks the sixth time Ellis has won the regional competition in twelve years of competing.
Ari Brazier, a play-driven community organizer and educator, visited Ellis to speak about the importance of play and the power it has to bring people from different communities, cultures, and circumstances together. Using hand-clapping games as an example, Ari modeled to Ellis girls how something so simple can relieve stress, help people communicate across language barriers, and promote cooperation.
Natalie Jasper, Class of 2021, reached a major milestone on Monday, January 20 as she scored her 1,000th career point as a member of the Ellis Varsity Basketball Team. Natalie’s 1,000th point came in the form of a free throw and was just one of 21 points she scored in the Tigers’ win over Brentwood High School. To celebrate her accomplishment, Head Varsity Basketball Coach Dan LaGamba and Athletic Director Shayla Scott shared their thoughts on Natalie as a player and student-athlete.
Two Ellis soccer players earned postseason honors in recognition of their excellence on the field this season. Juniors Miranda Lightner and Dalia Milch were awarded spots on the 2019 WPIAL All-Section team in honor of their hard work, commitment, leadership, and athleticism. In celebration of these accolades, Head Varsity Soccer Coach Tim Howard shared his perspective on this year’s All-Section athletes.
You might not have realized it when you were younger, but every time you explored a local creek, played Capture the Flag with neighbors, or caught fireflies on a sticky summer night—it wasn’t just all fun and games. Those outdoor activities were actually boosting your brain power, building character, and strengthening your growing body (skinned knees and all).
The learning that occurs while studying abroad can be difficult to replicate in a traditional school setting. A rock-climbing wall can’t compare to scaling the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, and learning about the British monarchy is brought to life in a completely new way when visiting the Tower of London in person. Adventures like these are truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities—and ones that Ellis students who have participated in our International Exchange Program have been lucky enough to encounter.