Best Practices


The Ellis School is leading the way in our region for incorporating innovation and design thinking into the curriculum at every grade level and in every content area. Studies show that girls are naturally skilled collaborators who learn best, particularly in STEM subjects, when creativity, communication, and context are encouraged. For almost 100 years, Ellis, as one of the top college preparatory schools in Pittsburgh, has prepared, inspired, and empowered girls and young women by offering an excellent education in an all-girls environment.  Today, the curriculum and program have evolved in dynamic ways that focus on exciting new methods for teaching and learning.

Thanks to a series of key grants, teacher training, and a commitment to making girls active agents in their own learning, Ellis has begun to receive national recognition from the Stanford University Institute of Design and others for leadership and expertise in design thinking in K-12 educational environments. Design thinking challenges students to use their powers of creativity, innovation, invention, and empathy to solve real-world problems. This approach is transforming the way that girls learn at Ellis, and has led to the creation of new spaces on campus dedicated to innovation, engineering, and design thinking.  

To prepare them to educate girls, all teachers new to Ellis take a required class for teaching in single-gender environments through the Online School for Girls. In addition, in the summer of 2013, a dozen Ellis faculty took part in the Online School for Girls Blended Learning Cohort to learn best practices in applying learning technology, such as pencasts and flipped classrooms. These faculty are now helping other Ellis faculty apply blended learning strategies in their classrooms.

Ellis Girls are Innovative