Developing Confident Problem-Solvers at Ellis

The new strategic plan we shared last October includes a revitalized mission statement for Ellis, which reads as follows:

The Ellis School educates girls and young women to become bold, authentic, intellectually vibrant changemakers.
The vision statement in the strategic plan goes on to describe changemakers as “forces for positive change in the world—completely undeterred by challenging situations and experts at finding creative solutions to difficult problems”.  

One of the greatest gifts of an Ellis education is that ability to develop creative solutions to tricky problems, something that makes Ellis alumnae distinctively confident in their approach to challenges, and committed to having a real impact as adults in the world.

As a long-time math teacher, I always loved solving hard math problems, and found it immensely exciting and gratifying to support and challenge students to become great problem solvers themselves. It was thrilling to help students feel the satisfaction and joy in finding their own creative solutions to challenging problems. The math teachers at Ellis all share that joy, and do an outstanding job of growing it in our students.

But problem-solving at Ellis doesn’t happen only in math classrooms. 

Our students accomplish team goals using robotics in fourth grade; work collaboratively to create an original fifth grade play; design new architectural plans for a local neighborhood area in seventh grade; and develop creative solutions to problems posed by real clients from local organizations in our Upper School Integrated Studies courses. Throughout the curriculum, Ellis girls have experiences that ask them to identify and understand complicated problems, explore creative approaches to solving them, and debate, defend, and present their solutions. It’s enormously exciting to see how strong their problem-solving muscles become and to watch our students grow into confident, committed changemakers.