Academic Challenge

Our son has been challenged and given opportunities that have facilitated his growth academically and socially. He has great connections with his teachers, and I appreciate how much teachers comment on the report card.
Parent Comment, 2019 SAIS Survey

Advanced Courses

SAS offers advanced courses in physics, chemistry, and biology as well as allowing juniors and seniors to choose from an array of English courses, and sciencehistory, and arts electives.

College Courses

Outstanding juniors and seniors are encouraged to take college courses for credit (and for free) at the University of the South, one of the country's top liberal arts colleges. SAS students learn to hold their own and excel in a college setting with college-aged classmates. Students learn to balance a college course workload and to communicate with college professors before getting to college.

In recent years, SAS students enrolled in the following courses at the University of the South:

  • Introduction to Educational Psychology
  • Differential Equations
  • Elementary Arabic
  • Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • Elementary German
  • Organic Chemistry
  • World in the 20th Century
  • World Politics
  • Elementary Spanish
  • Comparative Politics
  • Introduction to Political Theory
  • Linear Algebra
  • American Government and Politics
  • Elementary Russian
  • Advanced General Chemistry
  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Studies in Fiction
  • Calculus II
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Experience, Expression, and Exchange
  • Music of Western Civilizations
  • Latin 303: Catullus
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Elementary Chinese


Each year, approximately


of SAS seniors graduate with college credit

More than the Core

Reading, writing, and 'rthmetic are solidly at the core of our curriculum, but we offer way more than that. In addition to electives and independent study classes, each February, we take a one-week break from regular classes for Winterim, an array of short courses in topics that are not part of our regular studies.

The Value of Heterogenous Classes

One of the greatest challenges students of exceptional drive or talent face when they leave the academic world is learning to work with people who may not be as fast or as dedicated learners. Our heterogeneous classrooms encourage these students to hone the skills necessary to work in a heterogeneous world – humility and patience – and give them the skills to guide their colleagues in group work.

Varied Ability Recognized

Our small school size gives us the opportunity to recognize the special skills and needs of each of our students. Standardized tests are not used to make blanket judgments of a student's ability. An outstanding math student will be challenged to work at a higher level in that subject while also having access to academic support in English, if needed.

Go Math Team!

Perhaps the best news for outstanding students is that at SAS victories in the classroom are as celebrated as victories on the playing fields. Your classmates will take pride in your academic ability and achievements.

Our 2018-2019 Ethics Bowl Team won the state championships and went on to compete at nationals. It was a particularly big accomplishment since it was the team's inaugural year!

Why We Don't Offer AP

At SAS, courses are designed based on the strengths, needs, and interests of our students and the qualifications and passions of our faculty. The concept of teaching to specific tests, particularly multiple choice tests, is not in keeping with the SAS educational philosophy. 

Rigorous courses within our own curriculum and the option for our students to take advanced courses at the University make Advanced Placement courses unnecessary. Although they do not take Advanced Placement courses, SAS students do have the option to take the AP exams and frequently score high enough to receive course credit.

Go Beyond Smart

Making Us Proud

More Enrichment Opportunities

The following list is updated regularly by the SAS College Counseling Office to reflect opportunities beyond SAS-led off-campus and summer programs.

National Youth Leadership Forum: Medicine. This program is designed to introduce high achieving students to a future career in the growing fields of health and medicine.

The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) promotes critical language learning among American youth. The U.S. Department of State, in cooperation with American Councils for International Education, awards and administers merit-based scholarships to high school students for participation in summer and academic year immersion programs in locations where the eight NSLI-Y languages are spoken. NSLI-Y immerses participants in the cultural life of the host country, giving them formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures.

The Tennessee Governor’s Schools are academically-demanding summer programs in a variety of fields on Tennessee university campuses for rising 11th and 12th grade students currently enrolled in Tennessee’s public and private high schools. Students must be nominated by their school.

A Collegetown

One of the great bonuses of attending SAS is the access to classes, cultural events, and lectures at the University of the South

Arts & Public Events