Upper School

Senior Year

The capstone Senior Experience consists of four defining learning components shared by all students: a class trip to the Shakespeare Festival in Canada; an interdisciplinary senior thesis; experiential, off-campus learning in the Venture Program or a self deisigned senior project; the college application process.  Through each of these, students continue to grow not only academically, but also as confident and competent women fully prepared to succeed in college and beyond. Building on the excellence of their Ellis education, they refine their writing, research, and technology skills, strengthen their ability to present their ideas publicly to an audience, learn to take risks and solve real world problems, and develop further as responsible citizens and leaders.

List of 3 items.

  • Stratford Festival

    The trip to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival takes seniors each fall to Stratford, Ontario where they see three plays produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, enhancing their study of Shakespeare's plays in senior English classes.  Students enjoy this class visit to Statford, where they not only experience theatre at its finest, but also explore together a quaint Canadian town renowned as the home of the Shakespeare Festival.
  • Senior Project

    There are two basic paths seniors can follow in developing a senior project:
    Venture Program:
    This program offers students in-depth internship experiences with organizations who have partnered with Ellis. Students apply for these externships, and regularly work at their Venture Program placement site throughout the year. Students who pursue the Venture Program route often craft a senior project around their accomplishments and work at their Venture sites. Examples of Venture Program related senior projects include a report on internships where prosthetic limb prototypes were made for injured soldiers, shadowing medical doctors, assisting in scientists and physicians in research laboratories at Magee Women’s Hospital, and serving as teaching assistants in kindergarten classes for English-as-a-second-language children.

    Independent Experiential Projects: These projects are developed by students, often with the help of parents, faculty members, and other adults in their lives. Guidelines are provided and faculty advisors mentor students from start to finish with the goal of fostering a lifelong curiosity, and problem-solving and project management skills. Sample projects include developing cookbooks for vegans and their carnivorous friends and family, establishing a bio acoustical monitoring station to track the songs of migrating birds, and teaching holocaust history lessons to schools that otherwise provide little instruction about Jewish history, running the Pittsburgh marathon, and starting a children’s audio book library for underserved school districts.
  • Senior Thesis

    The senior thesis project requires each student to define an interdisciplinary topic and write an extended essay that represents a culmination of their critical reading, writing, and research skills, building on the skills they have gained through their years at Ellis.  In this capstone experience, students pursue their interests beyond the curriculum, and explore diverse topics that often cross cultures as well as disciplines.  This process of independent academic inquiry and writing prepares them well for uinversity study.