The Upper School curriculum is focused on active learning in an atmosphere of respect for knowledge and emphasis on guided inquiry. In all disciplines, students are encouraged to learn content in the context of big picture trends, theories and criticisms. Students and teachers work as partners in the educational process.
- Concurrent Enrollment at the University of the South: Each semester, a number of qualified juniors and senrios enroll in coursework for credit at the University of the South. In recent semesters, SAS students were enrolled in introductory and advanced calculus courses, politics, history, geology, sculpture, economics, poetry, and upper-division Spanish literature courses. These courses are provided at no additional cost to the student.
- Advanced Placement and Honors: By design, we do not offer specially designated AP courses as we feel that these courses put an emphasis on memorization of a broad range of material not in keeping with the SAS educational philosophy of interactive learning and thoughtful in-depth study. Nor does the school offer honors courses, reflecting our belief that students learn best in a diverse environment and through cooperative work. However, the level of challenge in our standard curriculum is such that a number of students choose to take AP exams each spring, most commonly in calculus and English literature. In 2015, 14 students took AP exams in five subjects.
- Grade-Level Program: In addition to regular courses, each grade level participates in two retreat days a year to enhance friendships, provide out of class experiences, and build class cohesion. The themes and activities are a reflection both of the students' shared course work that year and of expanding rings of self-understanding as they discover their place in the world.