The world no longer cares how much you know; the world cares about what you can do with what you know.

~ Tony Wagner, Innovation Education Fellow, Technology & Entrepreneurship Center, Harvard

Shipley Graduates
  • are independent and resilient thinkers
  • know how to think critically and creatively problem solve
  • express their thoughts clearly in writing and orally
  • appreciate the value of active listening
  • are compassionate participants in the larger community
  • are prepared to interact within a constantly changing world
A Shipley education is a Positive Education. This means our evidence-based approach simultaneously advances academic excellence, well-being, and character development— and prepares students to create change in the world. The Upper School Program intentionally and strategically integrates foundational and explorational learning to create a learning community that inspires students to be critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, and effective communicators who participate compassionately in the world. As students grow in confidence and recognize their strengths, we actively engage them in rigorous learning experiences while helping them to develop resilience and value intellectual humility. In this process students will navigate learning within and across disciplines and connect personally with intellectual challenges. Through a combination of experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, students explore their interests and have the ability to help shape areas of focus for continued growth and learning.

In addition we build positive engagement, well-being, resilience and achievement through the relationships in the classroom, advisory program and a myriad of extracurricular activities.

Cornerstones of Shipley’s Upper School Academic Program

Individualized attention to course planning leads to discovery and building of strengths.
Our upper level courses and individualized academic course plans give students the best combination of college-level preparation with an emphasis on discovering and cultivating their talents and passions.

Foundational Knowledge and Probing Questions:
In the first two years, students acquire foundational knowledge and disciplinary frames of mind so they can investigate, articulate, test, and refine good questions. Students are also exposed to all disciplines so that they can make informed decisions about what they are interested in exploring.

Rigor Redefined – Seeking Challenges to Experiment and Explore:
Beginning in the junior year, our upper level seminars and electives actively engage students in high-level writing, reading, research, problem solving, and thinking within and across disciplines and areas so they connect personally with intellectual challenges.
Connections, Confidence, Collaboration, and Community
In 9th grade we begin to create the connections and open the path for students to develop confidence, to collaborate, and to create a deep awareness of their role in the Shipley community - and in the world. Our service learning program plays a key role in this process and is designed to help students develop compassionate participation in the world.
As students prepare for the interconnected world of this century, their culminating capstone senior requirement is a student-designed service learning project with a non-profit organization that draws on their talents and synthesizes their experience.

Graduation Requirements and Recommended courses of study
4 credits
History and Social Sciences
2 credits (3 recommended, one must be United States History in Grade 10)
3 credits (4 recommended)
3 credits (one life science, one physical science, one elective major course form the Science or STEAM departments)
World Language
3 consecutive credits of one language
Interdisciplinary Studies
1 credit
Performing Arts
1 Course (or 2 years in an ensemble, participation in 2 main stage productions, participation in 2 years of DECA, 
Model Congress, or Model UN)
Fine Arts
1 course, must be completed in grade 9
SEED Seminars
1 course each year (includes three-week Senior Service Project)
Physical Education/Athletics
Yearly requirement
Community Service
40 hours over four years

  • The required student load in grades 9 through 12 is five major courses each year. The minimum graduation requirement is 20 courses.
  • There are 16 specific credits required, as well as non-credited yearly requirements such as Physical Education and Grade Level Seminars.
  • 40 hours of community service are required for graduation.
  • Though two units of history and science are required, it is recommended that students take three credits of each.
  • It is recommended that students pursue mathematics through the senior year.

Meet the Team

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Kris Ryan

    Kris Ryan 

    Head of Upper School
    Phone/Extension: 4128
  • Photo of Patricia Lein

    Patricia Lein 

    Academic Dean/Associate Head of Upper School for Academics
    Phone/Extension: 4190
  • Photo of Anna Dejdar

    Anna Dejdar 

    Dean of Students/Associate Head of Upper School for Student Life
    Phone/Extension: 4297
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.