Middle School Curriculum

Program of Study

Grade 5
Grade 6
Grade 7
Grade 8
Computer Science
Creative Programming I
Creative Programming II and Robotics
Computer Science elective (once during grade 7 or grade 8)
Computer Science elective
(once during grade 7 or grade 8)
One English course per year
Ancient History
Medieval History
United States History
Twentieth Century History
One Mathematics course per year
Physical Education and Health
One Physical Education and one Health course per year
Performing Arts
General Music 5 and one Performance Choice course
General Music 6 and one Performance Choice course
General Music 7 and one Performance Choice course
General Music 8 and one Performance Choice course
One Integrated Science course per year
Visual Arts
Visual Art 5
Visual Art 6
Visual Art 7
Visual Art 8
World Language
Three years of French, Latin, or Spanish

Highlights in Middle School

List of 4 items.

  • Fifth Grade Play | grade 5

    Traditional academia and the arts are intertwined as students weave together reading, writing, and history with storytelling and theatrics to create an original play. This intentional interdisciplinary project not only strengthens students comprehension of core concepts, but encourages creativity, imagination, and self-expression. Students utilize design thinkingan approach that draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systematic reasoning to explore possibilities and solve complex problemsto research and conceptualize a thirty-minute play within the bounds of the curriculum materials they must draw inspiration from. This introduction to a long-term group project, where students take full responsibility and ownership for every aspect of the performance, enhances time management skills and builds confidence.
  • Ellis Entrepreneurs | grade 6

    According to the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, women-owned entities in the formal sector represent approximately 37 percent of enterprises globally. Organizations at the cutting edge understand the competitive strength gained from developing emerging female leaders. Ellis Entrepreneurs seeks to do just that. This entrepreneurial program introduces girls to basic business concepts and tests their entrepreneurial spirit in a collaborative, supportive environment. Students are challenged to prototype and create a product they can then sell. Girls learn everything from cost analysis, to supply and demand, to market research in order to make solid business decisions. Their hard work is rewarded when they are given a chance to apply their business knowledge outside of the classroom by selling their creations to parents, peers, and faculty, keeping track of profits and losses.
  • Feeding Ourselves and Others | grade 7

    In grade 7, students partner with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to help feed local families in need. The project starts with a food drive where students collect non-perishables and combines topics in science, math, and applied research methods as the project progresses. After collection, students travel to the Food Bank to drop off their donations and get to work. Ellis faculty work closely with regional organizations to establish meaningful, hands-on opportunities for students to learn and grow as citizens and make a difference in the world. By leveraging community partnerships, faculty augment core academic learning with learning in context, and create an enduring and meaningful educational experience that prepares students for the future. This off-campus opportunity encourages deep reflection and greater perspective on larger issues in the world, leading girls to be well-rounded, thoughtful global citizens.
  • Reflections on Global Issues | grade 8

    A culmination of the Middle School experience, this capstone project challenges students to reflect on global issues through an intensive, in-depth project on a developing country. This interdisciplinary project reveals the relevance of current events and strengthens the intellectual, technical, and social abilities students work to assimilate throughout Middle School. In tandem with their initial classroom research and problem-solving sessions, students complete a written research piece, build a scale model, design an exhibit space, and prepare for a final comprehensive presentation before a mock foreign relations committee. This deep-dive assignment not only teaches students to manage their time and workload, but bolsters their presentation and public speaking skills as they prepare for the final project presentation. This finale to the Middle School curriculum offers a glimpse into the global landscape and empowers girls to be citizens of the world before they transition to the Upper School.

Middle School Elective Examples

List of 16 items.

  • Creative Writing

  • Fairchild Challenge

  • FIRST LEGO League

  • Future City

  • Global Citizenship

  • Guitar Ensemble

  • Honors String Ensemble

  • Introduction to Podcasting

  • iOS Apps by Design

  • Maker Shop

  • Mix and Splice: A Creative Music Technology Course

  • Mobile Robotics

  • Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS)

  • Short Story Seminar

  • Theater Productions

  • Theater Tech

Explore the Middle School Curriculum

Michelle Rust

Head of Middle School

The Ellis Middle School offers a warm, supportive, and joyful community in which to grow academically, creatively, socially, and physically. The high faculty-to-student ratio allows teachers to get to know every girl well. Our 1:1 device program teaches students to conduct research while learning to manage information technology in a responsible manner.

Girls are not just taught to measure and memorize; through project-based learning, they learn to collaborate in teams, critically analyze information, and structure an argument. Through our electives, we offer choices and scaffold those offerings so that girls learn time management and prioritization skills. Each student is encouraged to develop her leadership abilities in class, in clubs, in the arts, and on the field. In our advisory program, we provide guidance in managing friendships, making healthy choices, and developing self-advocacy skills. Our culture fosters respect and inclusion, and we teach our girls to model integrity and honesty.

Middle School Faculty Directory