STEAM Archives | Ashley Hall

On the last day of Horizons at Ashley Hall, a little rain could not dampen the spirits of 30 exuberant first and second graders from Memminger and Mitchell Elementary Schools as they celebrated six weeks of achievements and well-earned confidence boosts. Having experienced a transformative summer of reading, STEAM classes, music, and swimming, each girl will begin her school year better prepared academically and will return to Ashley Hall’s campus this fall and spring for special Saturday Horizons sessions. For the many faculty, staff, and volunteers who made Horizons at Ashley Hall possible, those special sessions cannot come soon enough. “I had to hug each girl and personally tell her goodbye,” said Shannon Laribo, Class of 2011, who is an Assistant Director of Admission at Ashley Hall and who served as a reading specialist during Horizons. “I can’t wait to see them again and hear how things are going with their school year. ”

As the first South Carolina school and second all-girls’ school in the nation to offer the award-winning, tuition-free Horizons program, Ashley Hall prioritizes academic innovations and meaningful community connections such as Horizons. In addition to faculty and staff working as teachers, the School’s student and alumnae volunteers served as Horizons Assistant Teachers (HATS), a crucial element to establishing a welcoming campus environment for the girls and building meaningful friendships. With a 5:1 student-to-faculty ratio, the resulting program was a playful curriculum augmented by field trips, healthy lunches, and an overall emphasis on family involvement, with parents and students agreeing to return each summer through eighth grade. “Multi-year mentoring and an ongoing commitment by the parents and students are hallmarks of the Horizons program and provide a foundation for its proven success,” said fifth grade science and math teacher Kiki Sweigart, who serves as Horizons at Ashley Hall’s program director and lead teacher.

With the summer nearly over and the start of the school year just a few weeks away, Ashley Hall’s inaugural Horizons students took a few moments to savor everything they had accomplished and to look forward to more happy times on campus with their new friends. “I liked music class and singing best,” said Khloe Conyers, age 6. “I liked my teachers and friends and working together even better.”

Thank you to The Post and Courier for the heartfelt story on Horizons at Ashley Hall. In its inaugural summer at Ashley Hall, Horizons National is an award-winning program designed to combat the “summer slide.” This amazing group of 1st and 2nd grade girls from Charleston’s Memminger Elementary School and Mitchell Elementary are developing a deep love of learning all under the guise of summer fun! Click on the button below to read the full article. 

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More Information and how to get involved:

Horizons at Ashley Hall website

Horizons National Website

At the beginning of a new school year, everything feels fresh and new. When it includes the exciting redesign of Ashley Hall’s main campus entrance and a beautiful renovation of Lower School, what’s not to be excited about?! Over the summer, work was done on campus including a complete makeover of our Smith Street campus entrance so that it can now fully function as our main campus entrance. (Don’t you just love the new water feature?!) The Pardue Hall entrance has also been reconfigured to serve as the campus’s visitor reception area. Don’t forget all visitors must enter campus through the Smith Street Gate. 

The Lo Dome for the Lower School
A few steps from the Smith Street gate is Pardue Hall with its new and impressive glass roof and enclosed breezeways. Lovingly called the Lo Dome to honor Ashley Hall’s longest active and much beloved faculty member, Lois Ruggiero, the glass enclosure adds over 2,000 square feet offering additional collaboration and learning space for programs such as the school’s ever-growing STEAM curriculum of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Needless to say the girls are loving the new space. We can’t wait to see it fully come to life this year! (Parents from all divisions are encouraged to stop by and see the new space in Pardue Hall.) 

As soon as school was dismissed in early June, Ashley Hall embarked on a project to beautifully enclose Pardue Hall that will effectively create an additional 2,000 square feet of multipurpose space for collaboration and increased building safety. The School has lovingly named this new structure and place the Lo Dome in honor of the school’s longest active and universally admired teacher, Ms. Lois Ruggiero.

Research shows that girls must be encouraged to explore STEAM curriculum before the crucial middle school years in order to pique their interest in pursuing degrees and careers in science and engineering-related fields. For precisely this reason, Ashley Hall has dedicated a science teacher for the Lower School supporting the development of STEAM and computer coding initiatives. The Lo Dome will offer our students much-needed climate-controlled space for the girls to build, code, create, and collaborate. If all goes as planned, the Lo Dome will be in place and operational for the August opening of the 2017–2018 school year.

For more information on supporting the Lo Dome project, contact Director of Institutional Advancement, Suzie Smith, at [email protected] or (843) 720-2886.

Rendering by Walker Concepts Architecture.

With Ashley Hall’s individualized approach to education, your daughter is recognized, respected, and ready for success. The School’s enduring mission, crafted in 1909, is how we continue to define student achievement: producing educated women who are independent, ethically responsible, and prepared to meet the challenges of society with confidence. It drives everything we do. As you can see, it’s much more than a test score. It’s how we live our life throughout campus.

Ashley Hall’s exceptional program is intentionally tailored to the way girls learn best—through collaboration, discussion, and individualized attention. The results are remarkable. Our graduates continue to impress with more than $14 million in merit scholarships garnered over the last five years, including three University of North Carolina Morehead Cain Scholars, one of the most prestigious scholarships extended.

Younger students begin to fully embrace the school’s mission through their dedicated work with long-term community partners such as the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital and Water Mission International’s annual “Walk for Water.” Our STEAM curriculum begins in Lower School with creative approaches to coding while Intermediate Program girls design, build, and sail their own hand-engineered wooden boats in a unique boat building project with the Lowcountry Maritime Society.

The Ashley Hall curriculum is rounded out with one of the strongest arts program in the state, including visual and performing arts, and an athletic department known for its sportsmanship and prowess on the field.

Come see the excitement for yourself and bring your daughter along! Financial assistance is available. Click on the button below to inquire.


With blue skies above and the smooth water of the Ashley River below, a gleeful group of Ashley Hall fifth graders launched their wooden boat fleet from the banks of Brittlebank Park last Saturday. Over the school year, the girls have worked diligently with the guidance of the Lowcountry Maritime Society (LMS) on a unique STEAM project designing, building, and now sailing their own hand-engineered wooden boat.

The girls were guided through the process reading scaled plans and transforming those plans into wooden boats they built themselves. And now it was time to put the boats to the test on the water with passengers! Throughout the year, students also explored local maritime history and seamanship skills as part of this comprehensive project. Research shows that girls decide as early as fifth grade if they will consider careers in the areas of math and science. Ashley Hall is doing its part to pique that interest! Thank you to current parent, Margie Barham ’86 for capturing this wonderful day! 

View Pictures from the Boat Launch

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Ashley Hall is a K-12 independent school for girls, with a co-ed preschool, committed to a talented and diverse student population. We consider for admission students of any race, color, religion, and national or ethnic origin.