Education for the Development of Leadership and Service (EDLS) is an integral part of the educational experience at AGS.
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 nonprofit organization to promote an “enduring understanding” of lessons learned throughout the year.
6th Grade – Finding a Sense of Self
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, who is beginning to understand relationships, communication, and decision-making. Sixth grade girls at AGS engage with 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. Three areas are targeted for growth in sixth grade EDLS classes: self-direction and personal responsibility, empathy and care for others, and civic consciousness with regard to campus, home, and school.
7th Grade – Growing Ourselves in the Community
Students 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 will delve into the functions that contribute to the strength of a team that include trust, conflict/communication, personal commitment/accountability, and result-insight. Through debate, 7th grade girls also learn how to better express themselves with both the spoken and written word. In addition, students will look toward fulfilling the needs of others in the greater Atlanta area, while focusing on developing patience and tolerance for others.
8th Grade – Leading from the Middle
How can she begin to feel secure in her stance as a young adult? Past the newness of Middle School in sixth grade and the ins and outs of friendship groups in seventh grade, an eighth-grade student is now looking outside of herself for a sense of self. The curriculum for EDLS incorporates, and more importantly allows an opportunity to practice a wide variety of leadership skills. Eighth grade students will use design thinking to run afternoon clubs for their younger AGS sisters and create and plan for social bonding activities for our community. Moreover, she will find her voice, bringing strength to it as she becomes engrossed in service to others while making critical connections to the world around us.
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
Students will explore their “sense of place” through the lens of an AGS student, Atlanta resident, and global citizen, and they will understand both the responsibility and rewards that come from being a member of each community. In addition to building community, this course also emphasizes individual growth and self-expression, which will allow each student to find the path of her particular sense of purpose. During the year, 9th grade students will build on their classroom experiences by partnering with researchers, industry professionals, and nonprofit organizations throughout Atlanta. Students will gain real-world experience by learning about and attempting to solve community and global problems. By the end of the year, students will have the self-awareness and tools they need to be leaders and agents of change in their communities.
10th Grade – Philanthropy, Advocacy, and Activism
In the fall semester, 10th grade students become micro-philanthropists. They visit The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta to learn about foundations, grant making, non-profit organizations, and to identify personal values and areas of interest. Visits are made to many 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 their local and global communities. Students examine the hallmarks of good philanthropy versus potentially irresponsible philanthropy, as well as how to properly research and evaluate a non-profit organization. This course is taught in conjunction with the AGS Office of Advancement.
In support the AGS mission, students are required to complete two internship experiences. In the spring of their sophomore year, students give more specific focus to their areas of interest, as it relates to activism and advocacy. Under the guidance of our Internship Coordinator, the students begin to network and research potential internship opportunities. They learn about professionalism and learn how to develop 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 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 challenging world outside AGS by researching current issues and exploring the realities of life on a college campus.