I am often asked why families should send their daughters to Ellis. My answer is always a straightforward one: Ellis does a better job than any other school in Pittsburgh at educating girls and young women to become bold, authentic, intellectually vibrant changemakers.
We know families want those qualities for their daughters, and those traits (what we call the four pillars of Ellis) absolutely come to life at Ellis. You’ll recognize our mission statement in the bolded words above. We updated it during our last strategic planning cycle in 2019 as a compelling encapsulation of the Ellis experience and it has been simply thrilling to watch it in action during my time here.
I ask every faculty and staff member at Ellis to keep our mission statement front and center as they plan lessons and activities, interact with students, and build their classroom communities each year. It underpins all we do, and how we do it. I see it in our classrooms as students tussle with sophisticated ideas and challenging problem solving, I see it on our playground and in our lunch room as students interact in relaxed and real ways with each other, I see it in our classrooms and on our stage and playing fields as student share their opinions with genuine confidence, perform with great poise, and compete for their teams with fierceness and camaraderie. And I see it when our alums—young and old alike—share the stories with us of the amazing ways in which they have used what they learned at Ellis to make a real difference in the world.
But perhaps the times when I am most excited about the work we are doing at Ellis are all the small moments when I observe how much an individual student has grown in her confidence, comfort with herself and others who may be different from her, curiosity and academic strength, and interest in having a real impact outside herself. It might be a first grader who skips down the sidewalk in the morning with a cheery “good morning” after starting as a very shy and reluctant pre-kindergarten student. Or a ninth grader who navigates the many demands of her high school schedule with great aplomb after struggling to keep her assignments straight during early middle school. Or the senior who performs a mature and challenging role on stage. What a joy it is to watch girls thrive at Ellis!