Academics
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Expressive Arts

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Be Creative

We encourage a student's life-long relationship with the arts, challenging her to find her own confident artistic voice and to gain a respect for artistic tradition based on our belief that the arts are an intrinsic part of the human experience.
 
Performing arts and the visual arts are combined into one brilliant department at Miss Hall's. Through our Expressive Arts program, each student can try out new forms of creativity or continue to study an area of interest. Every week, it seems, there's a new chance to perform or display your work on campus and in the Berkshires. 

Music Courses and Ensembles

List of 7 items.

  • Music Fundamentals

    This is a one-semester course, open to students in all grades,
    designed to teach students pitch and rhythm notation, meter,
    intervals, scales, and key signatures. Classroom instruction will
    be based on the software program Exploring Music Theory in
    Ars Nova Practica Music in a lab setting with midi keyboards.
    Towards the end of the semester, students will create an
    independent project, using the skills and tools learned.
    Grade Level: 9-12
    (1/2 credit; first semester)
  • Music Ensemble

    Student musicians have the opportunity to perform in Music
    Ensembles organized by the Music Department. These
    ensembles include Instrumental Ensembles, Vocal Ensemble,
    and Grace Notes. With a full year's participation in a Music
    Ensemble, students have the opportunity to earn one-half
    academic credit. Music Ensembles may be taken as a credit
    bearing course only in addition to the normal student course
    load.
    (1/2 credit for full year participation in any of the following)
  • Instrumental Music Ensemble

    The exact nature of the instrumental ensemble is determined
    by the temperaments, inclinations, and abilities of the various
    players plus the size and instrumentation of the group. The
    ensembles perform in the school's concert series and on other
    special occasions.
    Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor Grade Level: 9-12
  • Vocal Ensemble

    This ensemble is offered for all students who wish to
    participate in the experience of group singing. The group
    studies the principles of vocal music: breathing, tone
    production, fundamentals of articulation and diction. The
    group performs in the school's concert series, during the coordinate
    concerts with other schools, and on other special
    occasions.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12
  • The Grace Notes

    The Grace Notes singing group is a student-led a cappella
    ensemble that is assisted by the School's vocal music director.
    Membership is selected by audition in the spring semester. In
    order to be eligible to audition a student must have attended at
    least one year at Miss Hall’s. The group performs in the
    School's concert series, during the co-ordinate concerts with
    other schools, and on other special occasions. The Grace Notes
    often function as ambassadors for the school.
    Prerequisite: Audition
    Grade Level: 10-12
  • Senior Recital

    Music students who have actively participated in music
    courses, ensembles, and/or the private music instruction
    program throughout their years at Miss Hall’s may choose to
    perform an individual or shared recital during their senior year.
    In order to qualify for this Hallmark event, a student must have
    achieved a certain level of advanced performance, so that they
    can share their passion and achievement with the community.
    Students must propose their intention by the spring of their
    junior year and, upon recommendation from the Music
    Department and their private music instructors, may begin the
    planning process. During the fall semester of senior year senior
    musicians who qualify, will work with the Director of Music
    and their supporting music teachers to prepare a wellconstructed
    program, schedule a performance date, and create
    supporting concert materials, i.e. promotional posters, concert
    programs, and personal artist’s statement. In order to present
    an event,demonstrating their best work, deadlines for all
    planning stages must be met. This is a significant event in a
    student’s senior year and should be the culmination for the
    student’s Miss Hall’s music experience and an opportunity for
    them to share their voice and creativity with the community in
    a joyful experience.
    Prerequisite: Recommendation by Music Department
    Grade Level: 12
    (no credit)
  • Private Music Instruction

    Private instruction in voice, instruments, and music technology
    is available to students. The lesson fees vary with the
    instructor. A signed parental permission slip is required for all
    students taking lessons. The student has the option of taking
    the lesson as a credit course. Private music instruction for
    credit must be taken in addition to the normal student course
    load.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12
    (1/4 credit; one semester participation)
    (1/2 credit; year-long participation)

Visual Arts Courses

List of 16 items.

  • Studio Art I

    This studio-based course is a foundation course in art helping
    students establish creative confidence. Students gain a solid
    understanding of the formal elements and principles of art
    while learning about the many ways in which to infuse their
    work with meaning and personal vision. Assignments include
    historical and contemporary approaches to color theory and
    two-dimensional design. Students keep a daily sketchbook,
    participate in group projects and critiques, venture out on field
    trips, and complete individual projects throughout the year.
    Studio Art I emphasizes success and progress at the individual
    level, allowing students to find inspiration in the world around
    them and to communicate their voice visually.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Studio Art II

    Students in Studio Art II continue to develop skills and
    techniques for the studio, while also strengthening their artistic
    voice and creative confidence. Students paint and draw subject
    matter such as still-life, portraiture, landscape, perspective,
    gesture, and abstract. Familiar and new media are explored
    such as charcoal, ink, watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastels, spray
    paint, digital illustration, printmaking, and collage. Historical
    and contemporary examples of art help bring perspective to
    class work. A sketchbook serves as a key component of the
    course and is used on a weekly basis for planning projects,
    experimenting with new techniques, and practicing skills. Field
    trips complement the curriculum as the class explores the local
    art community and seeks out inspiration. Through a
    combination of directed assignments, collaborative projects,
    group critiques, and independent pieces, students learn new
    skills, techniques, and concepts to find success as developing
    artists.
    Prerequisite: Studio Art I or equivalent experience. Students
    who have not taken Studio Art I must have instructor's
    approval based on 5 examples of relevant work.
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Studio Art III

    Studio Art III is for students who flourish when working
    independently on projects. Students propose projects for
    themselves in areas of studio art that challenge and interest
    them while also keeping them engaged at a rigorous pace.
    Some directed assignments are given to help expand students'
    skill sets and understanding of art. A sketchbook serves as a
    key component of the course and is used on a weekly basis for
    planning projects, experimenting with new techniques, and
    practicing skills. Students complete the course with a strong set
    of pieces to add to their portfolios.
    Prerequisite: Studio Art II or equivalent experience.
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Independent Study in Art

    This year-long or semester-long course is designed for seniors
    who have completed all the available sections applicable to
    their focus in art. An independent project/study is developed in
    collaboration with the instructor connected to a specific
    medium or area of interest. Students are encouraged to follow
    emergent ideas but are also expected to present a cohesive
    body of work at the end of each semester. Students present
    project proposals on a bi-weekly basis, set their own goals for
    growth, and demonstrate that they are able to work in a
    focused and self-directed manner. Weekly critiques are held
    with all the students in this course to discuss as a group the
    concepts and challenges related to the art-making process.
    Mid-year, each student is tasked with pulling together a
    “Review Board” - a team of people from whom they would
    like artistic advice. The student presents their current work and
    then the Review Board gives them recommendations on future
    exploration of materials and themes.
    Prerequisite: Completed Hallmark Art Intensive
    Grade Level: 12
    (1/2 credit; one semester)
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Photography I

    This year-long course introduces students to the concept of the
    photograph as a means of visual communication and as a path
    to creative confidence. Students encounter photography
    through traditional wet darkroom processes, digital techniques,
    and alternative methods. This foundational course familiarizes
    students with elements of design and composition, helping
    them develop their critical thinking skills. Photography I
    involves students with the basic mechanics of the 35mm film
    camera and the darkroom through correct exposure, film
    processing, and printing techniques. Adobe Lightroom and
    Photoshop Elements are used to digitally edit, manipulate, and
    produce archival digital prints. Students are encouraged to
    explore subject matter of interest to them, including
    portraiture, landscape, and nature photography as well as
    documentary and abstract approaches. Through a combination
    of darkroom and digital work, group projects and critiques,
    fieldtrips, and demonstrations, students gain confidence in
    their ability to communicate strong visual messages with their
    images.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Photography II

    This year-long course is designed to continue where
    Photography I ends by building on the knowledge gained in the
    first year’s study of photography. Rigorous film and digital
    coursework encourages students to challenge themselves and
    expand beyond their comfort zone in this ever-changing
    medium. During this yearlong course, topics such as advanced
    portraiture, studio lighting, large format, and alternative
    methods are covered and regular class critiques keep members
    of the class involved with students at varying levels of
    photography coursework. In the lively environment of the
    photography lab, students begin to view their photographs
    objectively, to exchange ideas and criticisms, and to learn
    about the broader historical, social, and contemporary contexts
    of photography. During the second half of the year, students
    enrolled in Photography II are strongly encouraged to design
    dynamic and personal photographic projects that build upon
    areas they have explored in the past, and to continue
    developing their personal, creative vision.
    Prerequisite: Photography I or equivalent experience. Students
    who have not taken Photography I must have instructor’s
    approval based on 5 examples of relevant work.
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Photography III

    This year-long course offering is for motivated students who
    wish to pursue an individual area of interest to create a
    portfolio of personal images. Students work independently at
    the advanced level and select from an array of topics that have
    been introduced and explored in Photography I and II.
    Although students create independent projects, they are part of
    a larger group that participates in critiques, fieldtrips, and
    demonstrations on technique. This is an ideal course for a
    student who has discovered a love of photography and wishes
    to explore further in an area of interest that is unique to her. At
    the end of this course, each student has created a portfolio that
    consists of analog or digital prints in a presentation book, a
    CD, and an artist's statement.
    Prerequisite: Photography II or equivalent experience.
    Grade Level: 10-12
  • Ceramics I

    This year-long course is designed to introduce the student to
    the processes and techniques involved in the production of
    ceramic art, including construction methods, glazing, and
    firing of work. Students will learn numerous hand-building
    techniques (pinch, coil, slab, etc.), as well as gain an
    introductory experience in the use of the potter’s wheel.
    Additionally, students will be exposed to a variety of historical
    and contemporary ceramic artworks, including the sociopolitical
    issues which have shaped the history and development
    of this medium’s long and diverse history. Along with
    developing an understanding of the historic and aesthetic
    accomplishments of the past, and the formative influences on
    the contemporary ceramic artist, students will also be exposed
    to the diverse cross-cultural solutions to humanity’s need for
    utilitarian and sculptural expression.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Ceramics II

    This year-long course is designed to build upon existing skills
    acquired in Ceramics I. Students will further explore hand
    building techniques (pinch, coil, slab, etc.), as well as the use
    of the potter’s wheel. Students will be expected to be more
    self-motivated and directed as they respond to class
    assignments. Additionally, students will be exposed to a
    variety of historical and contemporary ceramic artworks,
    including the socio-political issues which have shaped the
    history and development of this medium’s long and diverse
    history. Along with developing an understanding of the
    historic and aesthetic accomplishments of the past, and the
    formative influences on the contemporary ceramic artist,
    students will also be exposed to the diverse cross-cultural
    solutions to humanity’s need for utilitarian and sculptural
    expression. Emphasis will be placed on developing a
    functional understanding and employment of the formal
    elements and concepts of three-dimensional design. All this is
    intended to build a vocabulary of technical and aesthetic skills
    necessary for the development of individual expression.
    Formal group critiques of finished works will provide each
    student with the opportunity to form and articulate an aesthetic
    opinion, give and receive constructive criticism, and further the
    development and exchange of creative ideas.
    Prerequisite: Ceramics I or equivalent experience.
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Ceramics III

    Students in this year-long course have been prepared to engage
    in more self-directed objectives and avenues of aesthetic
    exploration. By working and consulting with the instructor,
    students will set goals for themselves as they pursue their
    interests in both content and methods of
    fabrication/construction. Students will be encouraged and
    expected to engage in establishing greater facility with the
    medium, deeper understanding of the principles and concepts
    of 3-dimensional design, and more purposeful exploration of
    their aesthetic ideas. Emphasis will be placed on further
    developing and displaying a functional understanding and
    employment of the formal elements and concepts of threedimensional
    design. All this is intended to further build and
    test the vocabulary of technical and aesthetic skills necessary
    for the development of individual expression. Formal group
    critiques of finished works will provide each student with the
    opportunity to form and articulate an aesthetic opinion, give
    and receive constructive criticism, and further the development
    and exchange of creative ideas.
    Prerequisite: Ceramics II or equivalent experience.
    Grade Level: 11-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Filmmaking

    In this yearlong course, students will encounter and investigate
    the basics of film creation, from beginning to end, by looking
    at classic films and iconic filmmakers’ directing styles and by
    learning the vocabulary and genres associated with this
    medium. As they work toward making their own films,
    students will practice script writing and storyboarding and will
    create shot lists and field logs. Using DSLRs, students will
    learn the basics of production including basic camera
    functions, lighting, shot types, and sound editing. In postproduction,
    students will use industry-standard video editing
    software to edit their footage and create final short films ready
    for film festival submission.
    Prerequisite: Any Expressive Arts course or permission of
    instructor
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Gallery and Arts Administration

    Students will learn about the business side of the art world in
    this one-semester, project-based class. We will visit galleries
    and museums to learn about curation, communication,
    community engagement, fundraising, selling of art, marketing,
    event planning, and collecting feedback. Students will work as
    a team to establish a mission statement for our pop-up gallery,
    serve as the jury for the selections, and producing an event for
    the opening of show in the gallery as a final semester project.
    Prerequisite: Completion of one credit in a studio art (art,
    ceramics, or photo)
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1/2 credit; first semester)
  • Understanding Art

    Understanding Art is a general introduction to various
    strategies for identifying meaning in works of art, both
    historical and contemporary. This course will provide a
    framework for engaging with visual art and is intended to
    provide students comfort, and agency to evaluate and
    understand their visual experiences. This will encourage an
    understanding of themes and concepts found in art. It is
    important that you bring an open mind and a desire to develop
    skills of critical looking and thinking. Students will become
    familiar with formal visual analysis of works of art
    (formalism), as well as learning the contextual significance
    through exploring issues such as media, technique, the history
    of individual artists, schools, movements, periods and styles,
    cross-cultural influences, politics, religion, gender, class,
    function, etc.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12
    (1/2 credit; first semester)
  • Garment and Textile Design

    This one-semester course introduces students to the fashion
    industry. The history of clothing and fashion is studied
    together with contemporary designers and trends, and students
    gain an understanding of the greater cultural and global context
    in which everyday clothing is created. The course includes
    basic sewing skills and knowledge of sewing machines as well
    as more theoretical design and draping concepts. Students
    create mood boards, critique each other, and venture off
    campus on various field trips.
    Prerequisite: Completion of one credit in a studio art (art,
    ceramics, or photo)
    Grade Level: 10-12
    (1/2 credit; second semester)
  • Independent Study in Art

    This year-long or semester-long course is designed for seniors
    who have completed all the available sections applicable to
    their focus in art. An independent project/study is developed in
    collaboration with the instructor connected to a specific
    medium or area of interest. Students are encouraged to follow
    emergent ideas but are also expected to present a cohesive
    body of work at the end of each semester. Students present
    project proposals on a bi-weekly basis, set their own goals for
    growth, and demonstrate that they are able to work in a
    focused and self-directed manner. Weekly critiques are held
    with all the students in this course to discuss as a group the
    concepts and challenges related to the art-making process.
    Mid-year, each student is tasked with pulling together a
    “Review Board” - a team of people from whom they would
    like artistic advice. The student presents their current work and
    then the Review Board gives them recommendations on future
    exploration of materials and themes.
    Prerequisite: Completed Hallmark Art Intensive
    Grade Level: 12
    (1/2 credit; one semester)
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Hallmark Art Intensive

    In this rigorous year-long course, students from different
    studio disciplines (Ceramics, Photography, Filmmaking,
    Textile & Garment Design, and Studio Art) learn how to create
    concept-driven work and engage in sustained inquiry. The
    students will engage as a group to offer support, ideas, and
    feedback on works in process. Students will culminate the year
    by curating a solo show featuring 20 pieces that reflects their
    voice and growth as an artist.
    Elements of the course include daily instructional support on
    techniques, concept development, studio practices, time
    management, and skills related to giving and receiving
    feedback.
    There will be bi-weekly project and reflection sheet deadlines,
    and, in the spring, the final solo show will be attended by a
    “Expert Team” identified by the student and the teacher. All of
    the work from this course is ideal for a portfolio for the college
    admission process.
    Prerequisite: Application and permission from the instructor
    Grade Level: 11-12
    (1 credit; full year)

Theater Arts Courses

List of 3 items.

  • Drama and Performance

    This year-long course is designed to give students experience
    in the art and craft of acting on the stage and to deepen their
    knowledge and understanding of theater. Exercises,
    improvisations, and work on texts will help students free their
    imaginations, develop flexibility and expressiveness in both
    voice and movement, and explore the emotions necessary to
    bring life to a role. Students engage in intensive play and scene
    study, role analysis, character development and improvisation.
    Through extended study of plays from different periods, they
    gain knowledge of theater history and an awareness of various
    theater styles. The final exam consists of a presentation of
    scenes and monologues.
    Students may take this course for more than one year.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Theater Ensemble

    Two major productions are presented each year, usually a
    drama or comedy in November and a musical in late February.
    Auditions are open to all students interested in acting,
    regardless of prior acting experience. The plays emphasize
    commitment to a group project, especially the importance of
    ensemble theater, rather than the "star system." One-half
    academic credit is given for a full-year's commitment.
    Prerequisite: Audition
    Grade Level: 9-12
    (1/2 credit for participation in both productions)
  • Technical Theater

    Technical Theater Students are given the opportunity to work
    in a variety of production capacities to learn by doing such
    activities as set and lighting design, painting. costume
    production and stage managing. Students learn the technique
    and craft necessary to realize the scenery of the two dramatic
    productions presented each school year plus a chance to learn
    lifetime skills. Technical Theater provides a great opportunity
    for women to acquire confidence and training in the use of
    power and hand tools. One-half academic credit is given for a
    full year's commitment.
    Prerequisite: None
    Grade Level: 9-12
    (1/2 credit for participation in both productions)

Expressive Arts Photos

  • Classical Music Night

    12 photo(s)

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  • Holiday Concert

    16 photo(s)

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  • Dress Rehearsal for Decision Height

    25 photo(s)

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  • MHS Unplugged

    9 photo(s)

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  • Theater Ensemble Visits N.E. Air Museum

    4 photo(s)

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  • Songfest - 5.21.18

    12 photo(s)

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  • Independent Study in Art Opening - 5.14.18

    11 photo(s)

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  • Gala of the Arts - 5.4.18

    The Horizons Arts Council (an on-campus Horizons site) hosted the annual Gala of the Arts (GOTA) on Friday, May 4. This year’s event, “A Night at the Oscars,” showcased the work of student videographers on campus. After entering the Woods Theater via the red carpet — complete with photo booths and performance art! — 17 short films were screened and awards distributed by a panel of faculty judges.

    22 photo(s)

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  • Classical Music Night - 4.24.18

    Classical Music Night featured solo and group vocal and instrumental performances, as well as the popular combination of the MHS Chamber Choir and Instrumental Ensemble.

    10 photo(s)

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  • Jazz and Rock Night - 4.23.18

    Jazz & Rock Night was terrific, with a variety of musicians, including two students performing original compositions that brought audience members to their feet.

    12 photo(s)

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  • "Mocha Family" by Charlotte Adelson '19
    2018 Berkshire County High School Art Show Selections

    10 photo(s)

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  • Winter Art Exhibit - 1.19.18

    The Winter Art Exhibit took place on Friday, January 19. This year the exhibit was expanded to include displays in Linn Hall and the Main Building. Independent Art Students were also on hand at their exhibits to answer questions about their work. The Klein Arts Center featured new work from the Ceramics, Photography, Studio Art, and AP Studio Art classes, plus a showing of short films produced by students in Ms. Lane’s Filmmaking class.

    26 photo(s)

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  • Classical Music Night - 1.16.18

    The Music Department presented Classical Music Night at Centennial Hall.

    10 photo(s)

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  • Music Department Holiday Concert - 12.14.17

    The annual holiday concert featured soloists and ensembles in Centennial Hall.

    6 photo(s)

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  • 7:7 Gallery Opening - 12.8.17

    The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in downtown Pittsfield was hopping on Friday night, as students in Ms. Spangler’s Gallery and Arts Administration class hosted “7:7,” a show featuring the works of seven young artists. The gallery was bustling with students, faculty and former faculty, staff members, Trustees, and MHS friends.

    13 photo(s)

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  • Jazz and Rock Night - 12.1.17

    12 photo(s)

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  • MHS Theater Ensemble Presents "You Can't Take It With You" - 11.9.17

    The MHS Theater Ensemble presented the play "You Can't Take It With You" as their fall production. Performances took place November 10-12, 2017. Photos by Sophie Lane '96.

    23 photo(s)

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  • Theater Ensemble in Rehearsal - 11.6.17

    The MHS Theater Ensemble presents "You Can't Take It With You" November 10-12. Rehearsal photos by David Smith.

    12 photo(s)

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Meet the Faculty

List of 9 members.

  • Sophie Lane 

    Expressive Arts Department Chair
    Maryland Institute College of Art - M.A.
    Wellesley College - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Deborah Duff 

    Director of Music and Choral Director
    New England Conservatory of Music - M.M.
    Wheaton College - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Gary Grosenbeck 

    Ceramics Teacher
    University of Minnesota - M.F.A.
    SUNY Oswego - B.F.A.
    Read Bio
  • Jennifer Jordan 

    Director of Theater and Dance
    Ohio University - M.F.A.
    Marymount Manhattan College - B.F.A.
    Read Bio
  • Yelena Levina 

    Instrumental Music Instructor
  • Bing Liu 

    Instrumental Music Instructor
  • Amy Renak 

    Instrumental Music Instructor
  • Rob Sanzone 

    Instrumental Music Instructor / AV Coordinator
    University of Massachusetts - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Elizabeth Spangler 

    Studio Arts Teacher
    Colorado College - MAT
    Bates College - BS
    Read Bio

News from Expressive Arts

492 Holmes Road Pittsfield, MA 01201
Phone: (413) 443-6401

About us

Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Miss Hall's School is a private, college preparatory, boarding and day high school for girls in grades 9-12.
Copyright © 2018 Miss Hall’s School