Education for the Development of Leadership and Service (EDLS) is an integral part of the educational experience at AGS. 

The program is designed to teach and develop leadership skills and instill an understanding of the critical role that service must play in the life of a responsible global citizen. Through EDLS, AGS works with students to help them identify and develop their strengths and challenges, gifts and passions. They also begin to identify the areas of service that they most wish to have in their lives.

In EDLS, AGS girls develop key relationships with people and organizations that foster their independence and growth, and AGS has a direct positive impact on the community that supports and sustains it. At each grade level, EDLS facilitators specifically call students’ attention to the skills and understandings they are acquiring and use “teachable moments” and learning experiences within the classroom and outside the classroom in the broader community to foster those skills and understandings.

Middle School EDLS

Atlanta Girls’ School has developed leadership skills and standards for each Middle School grade level.

Skills development takes place both in the classroom through everyday curricula and in a separate EDLS class that meets once per week. In conjunction with learning and discussing the designated leadership skills, each grade serves a local non-profit organization to promote an “enduring understanding” of lessons learned throughout the year.

6th Grade – Finding a Sense of Self and Place in Our Community

In sixth grade, Atlanta Girls’ School helps each student develop and maintain a positive self-image and understanding of herself so that she will be a productive member of any group—either as an active participant or leader. Sixth grade girls at AGS begin to engage in critical concepts such as personal responsibility, physical and emotional self-awareness, and leadership potential.  Each student also takes steps to assume responsibility for her own learning by developing and strengthening study skills such as time management and task prioritization.  Four areas are targeted for growth in sixth grade EDLS classes: personal responsibility, critical thinking, relationships/communication, and decision making.

7th Grade – Growing and Nourishing Ourselves in Our Community

By actively serving in both the AGS garden and in metro-area gardens early in the year, students gain an awareness of what is needed to “feed” and grow a healthy girl, family, village, and world. Students also spend time learning how to nourish and grow their brains though an interactive look at study skills and ways to prepare for each day, culminating in a sense of how they best learn.  Students also learn how to express themselves through the spoken and written word.

8th Grade – Finding My Voice: Who Am I? 

The exploration into finding “my sound” and practicing “my voice” begins in the safety of the class. Students are called on to create a community where everyone in the class finds her comfortable fit, identifies who she chooses to be, and decides how she chooses to contribute. Each girl’s discovery is shaped through games, activities, and thoughtful writing throughout the year. Each girl will discover how her voice travels through gestures, spoken words, written statements, and multimedia posts. Though eighth graders are mature enough to begin this exploration, they will not complete the journey developmentally, socially, and intellectually for years.

Upper School EDLS

As students move into grades 9-11, AGS continues to build leadership and stewardship skills in ways that further augment the students’ growing awareness of their place in the world.

In addition to service relationships and, ultimately, internships, Upper School students have a specific EDLS class once a week designed for discussion and in-depth exploration of the ties between the self and the multiple communities to which they belong.

9th Grade – A Sense of Place

“A Sense of Place” gives students the tools they need to navigate the Upper School. The first unit in this three-unit course, “Knowing Yourself as a Student,” gives students the opportunity to sharpen their time management, technology, and study techniques while helping each girl explore her own learning style and discover how to use her voice in the classroom. The next unit, “Community and Difference,” addresses issues of group dynamics, friendship, identity, and diversity. The last unit, “Respecting Yourself, Respecting Others,” covers health topics, including safety, stress management, and healthy decision making. The course emphasizes individual growth while giving each girl the tools she needs to become a leader and an agent of change in a group. Students evaluate individual interests and explore appropriate methods of self-expression. By the end of the year, students will have assessed their individual interests, strengths, and values and will see themselves as integral members of our diverse community.

10th Grade – Philanthropy, Advocacy, and Activism

In the fall semester, tenth grade students become micro-philanthropists. They visit The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta to learn about foundations, grantmaking, nonprofit organizations, and to identify personal values and areas of interest. Visits are made to local nonprofit organizations. Students read and discuss philanthropic case studies, which highlight how individuals have given of their time, talent, and treasure, and explore the myriad ways in which one can contribute to global communities. The hallmarks of good philanthropy and potentially irresponsible philanthropy are examined, as well as ways to properly research and evaluate a nonprofit organization. This course is taught in conjunction with the AGS Office of Advancement.

In support of the AGS Mission, students are required to complete two internship experiences. In the spring of their sophomore year, students focus on their areas of interest as they apply to advocacy and activism. Under the guidance of our Internship Coordinator, the students begin to network and research potential internship opportunities. They identify and practice characteristics of professionalism and draft a personal resume.

11th Grade – Preparing for the Future

The 11th grade year builds on the experiences of the 10th grade year. Students are required to complete an internship of at least 70 hours, preferably in the summer before 11th grade; often the internship is in the nonprofit sector.  Students tackle a wide range of topics in their weekly EDLS sessions, including preparation for the college admission process and personal financial literacy. Each student also identifies an issue about which she is most passionate in preparation for her Senior Speech and college essays.  

12th Grade – My Voice, My Place

In the 12th grade, each senior will share her voice and vision with the community by writing and delivering a Senior Speech. Each senior may also undertake a leadership project that will provide her with the opportunity to explore an area of intense interest and to solidify, refine, and extend skills, knowledge, and insights gained from her time of leadership and service at AGS. Seniors will also prepare for the world outside AGS by researching current issues and by exploring the realities of life on a college campus.