Academics at USN

Students FirstAcademic Excellence

Students come first at University School of Nashville. A commitment to a spirit of curiosity and an academic atmosphere defines teaching and learning in our classrooms.

The Lower School learning community emphasizes mutual respect and individual responsibility, with an emphasis on inquiry and exploration as students learn and grow.

In Middle School, content in subject areas helps students develop their capacities to think, read, write, listen, and speak, as well as their abilities to manage their time, materials, and ideas.

The High School faculty continues to foster students' independence and initiative by providing courses which increase students' facility in abstract, critical reasoning through engagement in complex, non-routine challenges.

Purpose & Meaning

"Our aim is to have our pupils grow power, power in every direction; power to think, to feel, to do, to be ...

School life should be, through all its years, a happy, earnest living through which there may be happy, earnest learning."

-Dr. Richard Thomas Alexander, PDS Director (1915 – 1924)

Unmistakable, Unparalleled, Understanding | A 9-part Video Series

Educational Philosophy
USN Guiding Principles

In 2015, faculty, staff, and administrators, developed our Guiding Principles to apply to teaching and learning at USN. These principles were identified as the primary educational objectives in all of our K-12 classrooms.

List of 10 items.

  • 1. Personalized Inquiry:

    Students formulate their own questions and develop appropriate and personalized lines of inquiry.
  • 2. Written Expression:

    Students read, understand, and produce articulate analytical, personal, and creative writing, including pieces that express and support an opinion while demonstrating awareness of other opinions.
  • 3. Cultural Competency:

    Students express cultural competency including understanding and awareness of diversity.
  • 4. Experimental Solutions:

    Students identify, define, and solve problems within scientific, creative, mathematical, and other disciplines through experiment and awareness of precedent and empirical data.
  • 5. Multiple Languages:

    Students communicate in more than one language.
  • 6. Idea Synthesis:

    Students research independently, evaluate source quality, and appropriately synthesize their own ideas with those of others.
  • 7. Community Solutions:

    Students lead or collaborate to solve a community problem.
  • 8. Artistic Expression:

    Students create or perform a piece of art — instrumental, dance, vocal, visual, literary, theatrical — with skill and passion.
  • 9. Body & Spirit:

    Students make healthy life choices, showing respect for their bodies and spirits through physical activity, balanced perspective, and fulfilling relationships.
  • 10. Responsible Citizenship:

    Students apply ethical and responsible citizenship to matters of choice, demonstrating concern for others and care for the natural world.

Beyond AcademicsStudent Support Services

Meeting the needs of the individual student is an integral part of a USN education. Recognizing that each student holds different experiences and learns uniquely, we offer a team of counseling, math, literacy, and learning specialists across all three divisions to ensure all students are supported, challenged and encouraged to grow and learn with trusted adults as guides. In collaboration with classroom teachers, our team of counselors provides individual, small/advisory group programming, and year-long initiatives. Learning specialists use a variety of methods including push-in, pull-out, small group, and full class strategies to meet the diverse needs of our learners.
USN Mission: 
University School of Nashville models the best educational practices. In an environment that represents the cultural and ethnic composition of Metropolitan Nashville, USN fosters each student’s intellectual, artistic, and athletic potential, valuing and inspiring integrity, creative expression, a love of learning, and the pursuit of excellence.