Welcome to Upper School!

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Upper School at AGS–an exciting environment like no other for girls!

Yearning for independence and self-expression, girls in grades 9 through 12 find a myriad of opportunities for both through carefully structured curricular and co-curricular activities. As each girl discovers and explores her own interests and passions, she develops heightened self-awareness and confidence in her ability to successfully navigate the challenges of her intellectual and personal journey. 

Enter our Upper School classrooms and experience the energy of girls deeply engaged in their own learning. Girls learn best when their learning experiences are experiential, interdisciplinary, and community based. At AGS, courses align with interests, work is meaningful, and authentic learning is nurtured. Through discussions, research, and collaborative projects, students identify concepts and content found throughout our curriculum and relate these to current issues and world events. Each girl is empowered to explore her passion and discover the delight of intellectual pursuits in areas of particular interest to her, from the study of rhetorical devices and quadratic equations to human geography and production design. At AGS, girls lead – in the classroom, on the athletic field, in clubs and mentoring programs, and in service to others. 

 

Signature co-curricular opportunities such as Education for the Development of Leadership and Service (EDLS), Internship Program, and Global Travel expand our students’ understanding of their responsibilities to the wider community, help them view the world from multiple perspectives, and develop skills needed to become true global citizens. 

Advisors, Grade Level Deans, teachers, and coaches serve as guides and mentors and work to build a community that ensures the well-being of every girl. Within a culture of mutual respect and understanding, AGS faculty and staff partner with parents to create opportunities for girls to find and use their voices as they build their code of ethics, resilience, and compassion. With discerning and open minds, AGS girls look for truth and understanding and cultivate curiosity and responsibility for themselves and their world. Every aspect of Upper School is designed to bring to life our mission: Inspiring girls to lead lives of purpose.

Sincerely,

Peggy Hasty
Director of Upper School

In Upper School, AGS prepares students to succeed in college and life.

The Upper School program is a liberal arts course of study that exceeds the requirements of public school and matches or exceeds the requirements of other independent schools.

Course content is aimed at synthesis, analysis, and critical evaluation of ideas as well as basic content coverage. The goal is to grow a student with the strengths of character, knowledge, and skills that enable her to have strong choices in college selection appropriate for her and to successfully navigate the world beyond secondary school. Students in Upper School are expected to carry a minimum of five and a maximum of seven academic classes per semester. A total of 23 credits are required for graduation. 

English

Upper School English develops the student’s ability to understand and appreciate great works of literature and to respond to literary selections through oral presentation and in writing, both creatively and formally. Writing, grammar, and vocabulary are integral parts of Upper School English courses as students expand and polish their writing skills. Upper School English focuses on the use of a diverse selection of texts as a springboard for argument and thesis-driven papers. Vocabulary and grammar studied through direct instruction and through models found in literature, serve to develop and strengthen a personal writing style.

Courses Offered
  • English 9: Approaches to Literature and Language
  • English 10: British Literature and Writing
  • English 11: American Literature and Writing
  • English 12: Literature and Ideas
  • AP English Language and Composition
  • AP English Literature and Composition

Math

The mathematics curriculum at the Upper School level is intended to fully prepare each student for college level work in mathematics. The curriculum is designed to promote critical thinking, reasoning, and complex problem solving through study in a range of mathematical areas. Throughout the Upper School curriculum, students develop concepts in algebra, geometry, statistics, probability, and discrete mathematics. The courses at the Upper School level are designed to integrate aspects from each of these areas so that the students begin to view the connections and interplay between them.

Courses Offered
  • Geometry (H)
  • Algebra II (H)
  • Calculus
  • Algebra III
  • Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry (H)
  • AP Calculus AB

Science

The Upper School science curriculum offers a program of study through which students gain a basic knowledge of modern scientific principles, an understanding of methods, and an appreciation for the significance of science in contemporary society. Emphasis is placed on scientific inquiry and experimental design. To fulfill the laboratory science graduation requirement, all students must take biology, chemistry, and physics. Students who have demonstrated exceptional ability in the complement of basic courses may qualify for Advanced Placement courses in biology, chemistry, physics, or environmental science. Additional electives can be pursued through joint enrollment or the Online School for Girls. We strongly encourage all girls to take at least four science courses at the Upper School level.

Courses Offered
  • Biology
  • Chemistry (H)
  • Physics (H)
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Physics I

World Studies

The World Studies department at AGS seeks to give students an understanding of world cultures and history. A chronological approach is used, and students learn to make historical connections over time and shifting national boundaries. Current events are also discussed. Students actively use many research resources, including web sites, atlases, interviews, periodicals, art, literature, and science resources in addition to textbooks. In Upper School world studies, skills are developed as research and writing tasks become more complex. The chronological study of world history continues through contemporary times in the tenth grade. Specialized topics begin with United States history in the eleventh grade and continue with electives in the twelfth grade.

Courses Offered
  • World Studies 9: Revolutions Reshape the World
  • World Studies 10: The 20th Century and Today
  • World Studies 11: United States History
  • AP US History
  • AP Human Geography
  • World Religions
  • Economics and Entrepreneurship

World Language

AGS offers two language options to its students: French and Spanish. In addition, an intense focus on word roots, grammatical structures, and active reading in sixth grade English prepares students for language study beginning in the seventh grade. Students must take three years of the same second at the Upper School level. Any incoming student with previous language experience will take a placement exam in order to determine the appropriate level within our program.

Courses Offered
  • French and Spanish Levels I, II, III, IV 
  • AP Spanish
  • Advanced Language and Culture (French and Spanish)

Fine Arts

The Upper School Fine Arts curriculum builds upon the foundational experiences and knowledge gained in the Middle School Fine Arts program. This curriculum allows students to more deeply explore particular mediums and methods of expression as they encounter more conceptually challenging coursework.

Courses Offered
  • Chorus
  • Intermediate Theatrical Arts
  • 2D Compositionand Media
  • Ceramics: Hand Building
  • Production Design
  • Advanced Theatrical Arts
  • Directing
  • Resume and Audition Prep
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Graphic Design
  • Ceramics: Wheel Throwing
  • Literary Arts: Creative Writing

Physical Education & Wellness

Physical Education is based on the national standards for physical education developed by the National Association of Sports and Physical Education. The program provides opportunities to try new skills and introduces steps that lead to living a healthy lifestyle. Heart rate monitors are used so that students learn not only how the body responds to exercise, but also the intensity at which they should be exercising. Atlanta Girls’ School believes that good physical and emotional health promotes academic success and provides a life-long appreciation for wellness. Health education is an essential aspect of girls’ development, and because our Fitness & Wellness curriculum is delivered within the context of our PE courses, PE is mandatory. Exceptions are only granted in extenuating circumstances.

Courses Offered
  • Physical Education & Wellness 9
  • Conditioning
  • Get Moving Aerobic Exercise