Upper School


The English Department faculty recognize the importance of teaching reading and writing as related, meaning-making processes. Consequently, language skills are taught in the contexts of literature and writing, with the additional support of vocabulary, reading, and grammar texts as needed. Teachers understand and address the learning needs of girls and young women as they become able and independent readers and writers.

As they move through the grades, students read literature that challenges them intellectually and inspires them to reflect on their lives and the world. In daily small group and class discussions of the literature, students are encouraged to develop confidence in their own ideas, articulate reasoned arguments, and respect the opinions of others. Developmentally appropriate literature is taught at all levels, and books are selected for their literary merit. The Department values diversity within the curriculum so that, in addition to important works from Europe and America, students read literature by writers from various cultures outside the Western tradition.

Writing is taught as a dynamic and creative process of discovering and constructing meaning, and students write in a variety of modes, frequently in response to reading. Students draft and revise their writing, and teachers engaging dialogically with each student through the writing process, both in conferences and in detailed written comments on drafts and finished papers. Teachers grant students agency by presenting them with options as writers within the contexts of purpose and audience. Students are encouraged to publish their writing in newspapers, literary magazines, and national student anthologies.

Upper School English News

List of 3 news stories.

  • Seniors Visit CMU to See Shakespeare Original First Folio

    On November 16, the Ellis senior class visited Carnegie Mellon University to see rare books and artifacts pertinent to their extensive study of Shakespeare this fall. Mary Kay Johnsen, Special Collections Librarian at CMU, led the students on a tour of the Posner Center’s current exhibition on Shakespeare: the exhibit contained ephemera from the School of Drama’s 100 years of Shakespeare productions as well as an original First Folio of Shakespeare’s works (the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays)—a volume valued at approximately 4 million dollars. Only 750 copies of the First Folio were printed in 1623; of these approximately 230 have survived.
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  • Author Jonathan Auxier

    Jonathan Auxier visits The Ellis School

    New York Times Best Selling author Jonathan Auxier will visit The Ellis School on September 14, 2016, for a special assembly for Middle and Upper School students.
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  • Isabel Adelaide Brooke '16

    2016 Upper School Prizes Announced

    The Ellis School, as part of its 2016 closing exercises, honored graduating seniors for outstanding academic achievement, sportsmanship, and service to the community. We congratulate these members of the Class of 2016 for excellence in the following subject areas:
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Co-Curricular Highlights

List of 2 items.