University School at a Glance
The below points highlight some of the key attributes of University School. To gain a sense of the daily workings of the school, please review reflections and pictures from 2007-2008 , 2008-2009 , 2009-2010 , 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013.
* After exploring University school during the final weeks of the 2012-2013 school year, reporter Stratton Lawrence penned this story about what he discovered ("Learning Should Be Fun: A Revolutionary School Experience in Mount Pleasant").
* Grades 3-12. Co-educational, non-sectarian, non-profit independent school with tax-exempt status, 501(c)(3).
* 8:1 student to teacher ratio.
* Geared to students who are curious, hard-working, passionate, empathetic, nice, high-achieving, and above-average.
* Results - Seven University School 7th graders receive state recognition on the Duke TIP SAT for 2011-2012. Over 40% of USL students have received this honor in our history. Congratulations to Anne Adragna, Sophie Bello, Olive Gardner, Allison Horan, Clayton Johnson, India Manigault, and Jeanne-Marie Martin. The Island Eye News spotlighted one our students, Allison Horan, for this achievement.
* Results - Since the 2007-2008 school year, USL students have taken the Stanford Achievement Test and performed exceptionally well. These results were linked to each student's performance on the OLSAT ability test. This allowed for achievement test comparisons of USL students with other students of equivalent ability. Most USL students score 3-4 levels higher than their grade and outperform their ability peer group.
* Results - University School of the Lowcountry 8th graders took the PSAT in October 2012 along with sophomores and juniors across the country. As with our results on the Stanford Achievement test that we administer to all of our students every March, our 8th graders excelled on the PSAT and performed superbly in comparison to students several grade levels above them. Their average score on Critical Reading was higher than 74% of all 10th graders and for Writing was higher than 76% of all 10th graders (over half of them performed better than 90% of all 10th graders). Their average cumulative score in Reading, Writing and Math placed them in the 60th percentile of college-bound 11th graders.
* Results - University School won First Place Team at the South Carolina Independent School Association Middle School Math Meet on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, and this included having two of the top three high scorers for the whole competition.
* Learning by Doing - USL features "Learning Outside of the Classroom." Regular interaction with and service to the community are hallmarks of our program. The Lowcountry is our classroom, and students spend one day per week "learning by doing" through experiences that challenge and inspire them. This entails over 30 field trips per year. Explore the "Current Students" page to learn more about this year's experiences and find links to prior years.
* Learning by Doing - Faith Exploration - In order to prepare to be better informed citizens of the community and the world, University School students learn first hand about faiths by going to houses of worship to explore and talk to adherents of that religion. Since 2010, University School students have visited the following houses of worship: Holy Ascension Orthodox Church, Emanuel AME Church, Christ Our King-Stella Maris School, Synagogue Emanu-El, US Army Chaplain Center and School & Museum (Fort Jackson, Columbia), Hindu Temple and Cultural Center, Washington National Cathedral, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Central Mosque of Charleston, The Saint Louis Cathedral (New Orleans), The Unitarian Church in Charleston, Charleston Tibetan Society (Buddhist), and Mepkin Abbey.
* Learning by Doing - Citizenship and Government - In order to prepare to be better informed citizens of the community and the world, University School students conduct exit polls across the Lowcountry and then make informed predictions based on their results. Click here to learn more.
* USL is a laptop school. Each teacher and student is provided a wireless notebook computer for use at University School (1 to 1 ratio).
* USL students come from across the tri-county area: Charleston, Daniel Island, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Sullivan's Island, and West Ashley.
* All students receive high-level instruction in Spanish, Mandarin and Latin. USL is the only school in the state that has students receiving high-level instruction in three languages at the same time.
* Our prudent financial model has enabled us to have no increases in the costs to attend USL for three of the last six years, for a total of $1000 in six years. Approximately 25% of the student population receives financial assistance. For more information, please see the Admissions page.
* Many aspects of a student's course of study are individualized based on a student's interests and abilities. This includes our program for job shadowing to explore careers of interest to each student. Click here for an overview of the 2012-2013 Job Shadow program.
Bulls Island Expedition
specimen collection and identification on one of the largest undeveloped stretches of beach on the Atlantic coast
* A key aspect of USL is the involvement of teenage and young adult mentors in the lives of our students. We have a mentor from every major high school option for our students, and the mentors are regularly involved in our students' lives at school and at evening and weekend school-sponsored activities. USL students also mentor younger students from Hibben Preschool.
* Inquiry-based, hands-on curriculum that features multiple teaching styles and multiple forms of assessment.
* University School has been awarded Darkness to Light's Partner in Prevention distinction every year since 2011. We are part of the inaugural class for this, and it honors our commitment to the prevention of child sexual abuse and to helping children grow up healthy and whole. USL faculty is trained in Darkness to Light's Stewards of Children program every August, and all parent volunteers for overnight trips take the same program and have their backgrounds checked.
* Regular service to and involvement with the greater community.
* Program designed to exceed the entrance requirements of all area public and private high schools, including Academic Magnet, Wando, Bishop England, Porter-Gaud, and Ashley Hall.
* Memberships: Palmetto Association of Independent Schools (PAIS), South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA), Association for Experiential Education (AEE), Independent School Management Consortium (ISM), S.C. Association of NonProfit Organizations (SCANPO), and National Business Officers Association (NBOA).
* Accreditation: University School is accredited by the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) (initial accreditation in 2008 and reaccredited in 2011). USL also intends to earn Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) accreditation.
* Standardized Testing for College Admissions Preparation and Accountability - PSAT administration in 8th grade, Stanford Achievement Test (national and independent school norms) administration in all grades, and participation in Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP) for 7th Graders (take the SAT).
* Significant opportunities for earning high school credit - Although many middle schools provide an option to earn credit in Algebra and/or a Global Language, University School provides opportunities to advance and to earn high school credit in Algebra, Algebra II, and Geometry (enhancing one’s options to take AP/IB/college-level math and science courses before graduating from high school). Students in USL's Middle School for all three years will graduate having completed Spanish I, Spanish II, Latin I, and Latin II for high school credit. Similar opportunities are available in other Global Languages.
*Tuition Assistance at University School - USL is committed to providing access to families who would not have the opportunity to attend at full tuition. We want to make our program accessible to qualified students in the Lowcountry. By having tuition assistance, many families realize that a University School education is within their financial reach. For the 2012-2013 school year, approximately 25% of the student body receives tuition assistance ranging up to 90%. For more information on this program, please see the Admissions page.
Founder & Head of School
Jason Kreutner, raised in Mount Pleasant and a current resident, is founder and Head of University School of the Lowcountry. He has extensive experience as an educator and leader in independent schools and is a recipient of a National Association of Independent Schools NAIS Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads -- (2006-2007 cohort). Prior to establishing USL, he was Dean of Students and then Director of Studies at Charleston Collegiate School, served as Upper School Dean and History Department Chair at Porter-Gaud School, and was Dean of Students and Humanities Instructor at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, SC. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the South Carolina Honors College (Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae) and received his master’s degree from Emory University in History. Kreutner was recognized by the South Carolina Independent School Association as the Headmaster "Rookie of the Year" for the 2007-2008 school year. In 2013, he received SCISA's Dr. Charles S. Aimar Educational Leadership Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding leader among the association’s 100+ schools. He consults and has provided guidance to several existing and new independent and public schools. Mr. Kreutner is married to Ashleigh (Tasha) Eady, a member of the corporate management team for Gilligan's restaurants. They have one daughter, Kessler, and a son, John Ross. In addition to his work in education, he is Head Coach of Snee Farm Swim Team. In 2008, Mount Pleasant Mayor Harry Hallman awarded him the key to the city for his work with Snee Farm Swim Team since 1990.