The Upper School: Grades 7-12
The Upper School at Ashley Hall features a dynamic and supportive community of faculty, staff, and students and includes seventh through twelfth grades. By emphasizing the growth of the individual through hands-on learning, the Upper School fully prepares students to become self-reliant, independent thinkers.
Classes promote student-directed conversations where everyone’s voice is heard and respected, and community partnerships connect students with valuable professional experiences and mentorships. With each succeeding year, students in the Upper School discover more opportunities to exercise their critical thinking through interdisciplinary studies such as those required by the Oral Defense Project, the Senior Thesis, and the Senior Project. Throughout, a global perspective infuses coursework and inspires extensive educational travel programs to both national and international destinations.
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Grades 7 & 8: The Nautilus Program within the Upper School
As part of the Upper School, the seventh and eighth grade Nautilus Program follows the same curriculum while offering additional signature programs that encourage girls to develop a voice both in and outside of the classroom. Fostering a sense of community, it seizes the opportunity to strengthen the bond and culture of connectedness during a crucial period of development for girls. Each initiative creates a familial, creative, collaborative, and student-driven experience. Faculty members celebrate and nurture the individual spirit of each girl while simultaneously ensuring she feels connected to a larger whole. Community partnerships, student-driven inquiry, and of course some amazing class adventures: Now that’s the way to swing into high school!
Cultivating Intellectual Curiosity, Confidence and Purpose
Upper School Curriculum
The Upper School specializes in collaboration and teamwork while encouraging each girl to find and use her unique voice. Highlights include the following:
- Upper School’s younger students—seventh and eighth graders—receive individualized attention that ensures a successful transition into Upper School life.
- Beginning in eighth grade, students explore the humanities through the Harkness philosophy developed by Phillip Exeter Academy. Positioned around the oval Harkness table so everyone is seen and heard, students learn critical thinking by the sharing of ideas and opinions.
- College counseling begins in earnest during 9th grade preparing the student for the formal application process.
- The Upper School features a strong science program that emphasizes hand-on experiences. Students capitalize on partnerships with the Medical University of South Carolina working closely with leading researchers in various fields of medicine.
- Fine arts opportunities abound with many girls participating in the school’s renowned Red Choir and Show Choir or various theater productions. Visual arts are explored through sketching and painting as well as sculpture.
- The International Boarding Program at Ashley Hall begins in seventh grade and brings girls from around the world to study at Ashley Hall offering a global perspective to our campus.
An All-Girls' Education
The Power of An All Girls’ Education
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 $9 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.