About Us

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, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017 LOTC (field learning) experiences and guest speakers

Click the links for a printable flyer to discover the highlights of 2015-2016 and the highlights of 2016-2017. You can also learn more about University School and read our recent newsletters: Fall 2016 , Winter 2017 , January 2017, February 2017, March 2017, April 2017, May 2017, June 2017, July 2017, August 2017, September 2017, October 2017, November 2017, December 2017, January 2018, February 2018, & March 2018.

* In the March 2018 issue and in a full-page question and answer format with USL's Head of School, "Talking Education with Jason Kreutner," the Charleston Mercury explored the educational philosophy of University School and how it prepares students emotionally, academically, and socially to thrive as independent citizens of America and the world.

* downloadable flyer (PDF) - "The Trajectory for a Third Grader at USL "

* downloadable flyer (PDF) - "Why University School "

* downloadable flyer (PDF) - "Highlights of 2014-2015"

* downloadable flyer (PDF) - "Highlights of April 2015 "

* downloadable flyer (PDF) - "Recap of First Semester, 2015-2016 "

* downloadable flyer (PDF) - "Highlights of 2015-2016"

* downloadable flyer (PDF) - "Highlights of 2016-2017"

* downloadable flyer (PDF) - "Cultural Experiences for 2017-2018 "

* Grades 3-12. Co-educational, non-sectarian, non-profit independent school with tax-exempt status, 501(c)(3). USL is a member of the Palmetto Association of Independent Schools.

* 8:1 student to teacher ratio.

* Geared to students who are curious, hard-working, passionate, empathetic, nice, high-achieving, and above-average.

* Results - In University School's 10th anniversary year, our first high school class will graduate in May. It is only fitting, therefore, that the first member of USL's high school, senior Allison Horan, would be our first recipient of a National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student award for the 2017 competition. Commended Students placed in the top 5% of the more than 1.6 million students who entered the competition by taking the 2015 PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). To learn more about Allison's experience at USL, please see this October 26, 2016, article from the Moultrie News about her. Congratulations, Allison! Kudos also to classmate Anne Adragna for her outstanding performance, placing in the top 6%!

* Results - Three of our 7th grade students qualified for State Recognition based on SAT scores received during 2016-2017 academic year (Bailey Chave, Conor Seng, and Leo Vaglienti). They earned the award by scoring at or above the national average (better than 50% of the nation’s high school juniors and seniors) on at least one part of the SAT. A USL 7th grade student has garnered State Recognition every year that the School has been in operation, and over 40% of our students have achieved State Recognition in our history. Congratulations! Twice in University School's ten years of operation we have led the state in the number of students, in public or private school, earning State Recognition!

* 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 - In early-February, 2017, the results for the Scholastic Art & Writing competition for the Southeast Region were revealed. This competition is for 7-12th graders, and this year our 7th-12th graders entered 100+ works of fiction, nonfiction, humor, personal memoir, and poetry and received an amazing 59 awards!  79% of our students were honored. 12 Gold Keys were won, and these pieces will move on to the national level. Typically the number of submissions in the region numbers in the tens of thousands and for the country is 300,000+. For some context, please know it is our practice and belief to have all students take part in this competition.  University School is not a single discipline school (i.e. our main focus is not just the arts, or writing, or STEM).  Instead, we want our students to learn from amazing teachers and to be challenged in a wide array of subjects.  Combined with all of the experiential learning we do through our LOTC program, our students become well-rounded academically, socially, and emotionally to the highest order.  We also love to test ourselves and hold ourselves accountable by having our students lead tours, encounter the public and all sorts of people through LOTCs, take part in national assessments, and participate in academic competitions.  We are not sequestered on campus, but we are a national leader in exploring the greater world.  So, our setting the bar high for all of our students and competing in the Scholastic Art and Writing competition is a natural thing for us! Our talented and driven group of learners have been inspired and guided to become better and more confident writers by their devoted teachers, especially Middle & Upper School English teacher Sara Peck -- success that has been recognized by the Scholastic Writing Awards!

In mid-March 2017, Senior Anne Adragna won a Silver Medal with Distinction for her Writing Portfolio in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards national competition! She is one of only 15 students to earn this award, and this includes a $1000 scholarship and an invitation to the award ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City in June! With the guidance and inspiration of Middle & Upper School English teacher Sara Peck, Anne has garnered 7 Gold Keys, 7 Silver Keys, a National Silver Key, and this Award.

On October 25, 2017, USL won First Place Team at the South Carolina Independent School Association Middle School Math Meet today, and this included having the top two high scorers for the whole competition! Our other team placed Third overall! This is our fifth year of participating in this competition, and we’ve now won four times and placed second once! Congratulations to all of the participating students and our Middle School Math teachers: Nikki Brockman, Chelisa Elmore-Williams, and Tiffany Thompson. Thanks to Mrs. Brockman and Mrs. Thompson for leading the team to Sumter for the competition. The following were our participating students: Charlotte Adragna (10th Place Overall Individual - tie), Merritt Baldwin, Emma Bluestein (10th Place Overall Individual - tie), Dylan Brockman, Bailey Chave (2nd Place Overall Individual), Mikhael Douglass, Caleb Herold, Mia Leone, Mariam Nguyen, Caitlin Parkman, and Leo Vaglienti (1st Place Overall Individual). Our consistent success is quite a testament to our Math program at University School, and the credit goes to our Math teachers in all three divisions: Mrs. Brockman, Ms. Donoghue, Mrs. Elmore-Williams, and Mrs. Thompson. Our students also benefit from our individualized approach to the subject. In the Middle School, for example, students take classes at the level where they need to be. This includes 8th graders taking Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II. No other school in the state does this.

On January 12, 2016, we won Second Place Team at the South Carolina Independent School Association High School Math Meet! As our current highest grade is 11th, this is an amazing accomplishment -- including a top 3 individual high scorer! This is our second year of participating in this competition, and we’ve now placed Second and Fourth. 



On February 21, 2017, our Middle School Quiz Bowl team won 2nd place at the State Championship in Columbia! The competition began a few weeks ago with 36 teams in nine regions, and the region winners met today in three groupings. We won our semi-final matches and then persevered through the finals to the Championship Game. It was a thrilling and close game against Cardinal Newman, and we came up short by 25! All of the teams represented their schools with dignity, and our thanks to Cardinal Newman and SCISA for hosting the competition. We had a great time! Congratulations to mentor Anna Misciagna and team members Charlotte Adragna, Bailey Chave, Kessler Kreutner-Eady, Caitlin Parkman, Conor Seng, and Leo Vaglienti. In our 4th year of fielding a Middle School team, we have won our region 4x and been State Runners-up 2x!

* 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 and click here for the full list of artistic and cultural performances that the students will experience and learn from in 2017-2018.

* Learning by Doing - Service to the Community - University School has participated in the Trident United Way's Day of Caring since 2009, and most recently contributed over 500 hours of service at 12 nonprofits and public schools across the Tricounty area (for the 2016-2017 school year). USL students also host community groups, schools, homeschoolers, and the general public for shows and speakers 6-7 times per year.Click here for the 2016 slideshow of our day!

* 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. On Sunday, October 22, 2017, the Post and Courier examined University School's hallmark Learning Outside the Classroom program through the prism of examining faiths first-hand. USL students visited a Lutheran and a Roman Catholic Church as part of a study of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation ("Students trace Martin Luther's legacy in Charleston churches").

Since 2010, University School students have visited the following houses of worship: St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church, Holy Ascension Orthodox Church, Seacoast Church, Emanuel AME Church, Christ Our King-Stella Maris School, Synagogue Emanu-El, US Army Chaplain Center and School & Museum (Fort Jackson, Columbia), Louis Gregory Baha'i Museum, Hindu Temple and Cultural Center, Washington National Cathedral, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim Synagogue, Central Mosque of Charleston,The Saint Louis Cathedral (New Orleans), Ebenezer AME, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (Montgomery, AL), All Saints Lutheran Church, Amish homesteads (Bird-in-Hand, PA) and Amish vacation village in Pinecraft, FL, The Unitarian Church in Charleston, Charleston Tibetan Society (Buddhist), Brith Sholom Beth Israel Synagogue, St. Michael's Anglican Church, Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, Mepkin Abbey, and both churches at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was pastor (Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA).

* 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. We are a school, serving grades 3-12, that explores elections and the democratic process, and this means hearing from different candidates, learning about different parties, and exploring issues of governance and civics.  Exit polling is an annual endeavor at University School of the Lowcountry.  This enables students to see firsthand the ebb and flow of turnout rates for the different types of elections because of the pattern of Congressional (and occasionally statewide and more) races in even-numbered years and municipal elections in odd-numbered years.  The students have learned about the candidates, marketing, and the issues facing the community. On November 7, 2017, as we do every year on Election Day, for the Mount Pleasant mayoral and Town Council races, Charleston City Council races, and Isle of Palms mayoral and Town Council races. Each student interviewed voters at two precincts in two different municipalities, and USL visited 26 total voting sites. Students then compiles the information and predicted the outcomes using our exit poll results. WCBD-2 featured our efforts ("Lowcountry students conduct exit polling following elections") and you can read more and see our results here.

* Learning by Doing - Arts - Art classes are designed for immersion in the multiple media and forms of expression, and they allow for each student to develop and gain confidence in his/her artistic ability. Classes are year-round on Friday afternoons. Students also learn and create art projects related to their studies in their classes, especially Global Languages and Humanities. USL also engages in collaborative opportunities in the arts with community partners like Redux Contemporary Art Studio, ArtBuzz Kids, The Artists' Loft, and other arts organizations. University School also regularly (4-5x per year) hosts cultural performance groups and shares these events with the greater community. For 2017-2018 we are hosting Pacific Islands Dance Arts of the Carolinas, the Plantation Singers, the Fabulous Chinese Acrobats, a Senegalese Drum and Dance troupe, YALLFest author Soman Chainini (The School for Good and Evil trilogy), and MacMillan Imprint publisher Erin Stein. Several of our Learning Outside the Classroom experiences (field trips) are also arts-focused. For example, in 2016-2017, this included trips to Frank Lloyd Wright's Rosenbaum House, Muscle Shoals and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Helen Keller's childhood home (Ivy Hall), and the historic courthouse in Monroeville -- all in Alabama as part of a weeklong Middle School trip. Students will also attend a production of Othello, the Mayhem Poets, Jazz through the Ages with Charlton Singleton, and Harriet Tubman at the Gaillard Center. At the Dock Street Theatre, we will see "To Kill a Mockingbird " and "Shakespeare in Love." Students will watch a performance of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker at the College of Charleston's Sottile Theatre. Click here for the full list of artistic and cultural performances that the students will experience and learn from in 2017-2018.

* Learning by Doing - College and University Preparation - Our rich and individualized academic program and our hallmark Learning Outside the Classroom program help foster critical thinking, develop one's ability to flourish in a wide array of situations, and stoke creativity and seeing connections among disparate topics as one explores the world first-hand. Although students begin taking part in programs and explorations at the College of Charleston in 3rd Grade, we regularly expose our students to a wide range of colleges and universities, professors, disciplines, so they can make informed decisions based upon real world examination. For example, USL students have explored an array of activities at the following colleges and universities through field trips, courses, weeklong divisional trips, etc.: College of Charleston, The Citadel, Charleston Southern University, Trident Technical College, The University of Washington, University of South Carolina Honors College, Georgia Tech, Tulane University, Emory University, Rice University, Reed College, George Washington University, University of South Florida, Western Carolina University, Auburn University, The University of Texas-Austin, Savannah College of Art and Design, Tuskegee University, and The University of Virginia. Our Upper School students are guided by three counselors, each with a unique perspective. Roger Smith, our Director of College Counselor, has a long history as an independent school college counselor, and he meets with Upper School students regularly beginning in the 9th grade. Don Burkard, recently retired from the College of Charleston after a 30-year career as Dean of Students and Vice President of Enrollment Management. He helps guide our 11th/12th graders, and his insider perspective is key in helping our students to determine the best fits for the next step on their journey through life. Jason Kreutner, Head of School, serves as the third college counselor and, because of his deep knowledge and history with each student through L&L class and the field trip program, writes the Counselor Recommendation for each college to which a senior applies.

* Learning by Doing - Topics related to the Military - Although the topic is the military, it really could be about any subject area that we explore at University School through our field trips. On our Middle School trip to Georgia in January 2015, we visited Fort Gordon near Augusta.  It primarily houses Signal units -- dedicated to communication, military intelligence, and information management for the military.  As is the case with all of the topics we explore, our Learning Outside the Classroom program allows our students to see and experience for themselves activities related to our military.  Instead of just reading books or sending cards and packages to soldiers, we believe visiting 1-2 military installations / museums / National Park sites a year allows our service members to know that our school and students are interested in them and want to know more about what they do.  Then our students can make up their own minds, with first-hand evidence, about subjects related to the experiences they have had -- science, military, historical, religious, political, etc. -- through our LOTC program. At Fort Gordon, students toured the base and the Signal Museum, learning the roots of the Signal Corps in the Civil War.  What began with flag semaphore (communicating with flags) has now evolved to include cyber warfare (protecting America and fighting America's enemies electronically).  We also met with the Installation Support Detachment's honor/color guard, and they taught each student how to fold the flag and how the colors are presented.  It was a meaningful and rich experience! Since 2007, University School students have had the following experiences: US Army Fort Jackson graduation, Graduation at Marine Corp's Depot Parris Island (x3), D-Day Museum in New Orleans, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site at Moton Airfield (AL), SPAWAR and Joint Base Charleston, Fort James Jackson (Savannah), Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Castillo de San Marcos (St. Augustine), McEntire Joint S.C. National Guard Base (Eastover), Mighty Eighth Museum (Savannah), Patriots Point (x3), Fort Moultrie, S.C. Military Museum (Columbia), Fort Sumter (x3), Charleston Air Force Base (x3), Commemorative activities for the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, Army's Pre-positioned Stocks Afloat (keeping equipment on ships across the world in case it is needed), Arlington National Cemetery, Tour of the USS Truxtun (DDG-103), The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and all the major war memorials in D.C., National Park Service field expedition to Morris Island for a study of the Civil War battles raging around Fort Wagner, George Patton Waters - grandson of George Patton – presentation, Maj. Gen. James Livingston, USMC, Medal of Honor recipient – presentation, Alan Moskin - US WWII vet and concentration camp liberator – presentation, Colonel Mac Radcliffe, USMC, (retired) – presentation, Col. Scott Kindsvater, USAF, Commandant, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB – presentation, Lt. Col. Drew Schnyder, USAF, Flight Surgeon – presentation.

* 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, Summerville, Awendaw, Isle of Palms, Mount Pleasant, James Island, North Charleston, Sullivan's Island, and West Ashley.

* All Intermediate (grades 3-5) and Middle School (grades 6-8) 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 minimize tuition increases and provide an incredible value in relation to our peer national-caliber independent schools. These principles can be seen in our 2016-2017 school year audit from the accounting firm of Glaser and Company.  USL has its business-side in good order and carries no debt.  Although financial measurements will never be a true indicator of the School’s success, some are very important for the long-term health and viability of the school.  One of these is how much of every dollar the School spends that goes to supporting its mission. In the case of University School for 2016-2017, $0.93 of every dollar spent went back to supporting the mission of the School. For our peer schools, the average range is $.68-75.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 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.

* Memberships: Palmetto Association of Independent Schools (PAIS), National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA), Association for Experiential Education (AEE), Independent School Management Consortium (ISM), S.C. Association of NonProfit Organizations (SCANPO), Southern Association for College Admission Counseling (SACAC), 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, 2014, amd 2017). 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.

In December 2017, USL hosted an accreditation visit and received our annual financial audit.  These forms of external review of University School are vital in validating and providing useful into our operations and the learning experience for our students.

A three-person team, comprised of college professors and independent school educators, from the South Carolina Independent School Association visited University School as part of our every-three-year accreditation cycle.  They explored all aspects of USL, observed classes, and talked with a variety of members of our community.  USL meets or exceeds all of the accreditation criteria, and their feedback was effusive and helpful.  Here is the summary from their report: "The team would like to commend the school on the following:
1. Meeting individual needs of students
2. The strong teacher/student relationships
3. Challenging learning opportunities
4. Small class sizes
5. Excellent test scores
6. Building a good teaching/administration team
7. Outstanding opportunities for field trips"
The team was extremely impressed with the school and had only one minor suggestion for our Board related to long-term planning.

* Standardized Testing for College Admissions Preparation and Accountability - PSAT administration in 8th-11th grades, Stanford Achievement Test (national and independent school norms) and Otis-Lennon School Ability Test administration in grades 3-8, SAT and/or ACT administration in Upper School, and participation in Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP) for 7th Graders (take the SAT). USL provides standardized test preparation for the SAT and ACT.

* Significant opportunities for earning high school credit in Middle School - 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 and other areas of interest. Students move into the Upper School with between 2 and 10+ high school Carnegie Units.

* 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 2016-2017 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. His leadership of USL was spotlighted in USC's alumni magazine, Carolinian ("Chalkboard Champs"). In the March 2018 issue and in a full-page question and answer format with USL's Head of School, "Talking Education with Jason Kreutner," the Charleston Mercury explored the educational philosophy of University School. He consults and has provided guidance to several existing and new independent and public schools. He is a member of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, where he serves on the Church Council and teaches 5th-6th grade Sunday School. 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. Mr. Kreutner is married to Ashleigh (Tasha) Eady, a member of the management team for Ooh!Events. They have one daughter, Kessler, and a son, John Ross.