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University School

K-12 Public School

image of the University School building

Tennessee Department of Education

Washington County School District 

Laboratory School for
ETSU Clemmer College of Education (CCOE) 

East Tennessee State University School is a great place to work and learn.  Our school has a tradition of excellence that dates back to its beginning in 1911.  In July of 1996, University School added another chapter to its rich history by implementing a year-round calendar.  In doing so, we became the first K-12 laboratory school in the nation to take this innovative step.

The faculty, administration, and staff of University School are committed to providing a learning environment that nurtures the academic, social, and emotional growth of every student.  We also recognize the importance of our role as a laboratory school.  We have a special responsibility to model exemplary instructional practices to education students at East Tennessee State University and public practitioners in the region and nation.  As we work preparing students in the 21st century, we are committed to achieving these important and complementary aims.

Educators in contemporary schools encounter new challenges every day.  Unfortunately, yesterday's solutions are not always effective in solving today's problems.  It is important that we as a community of parents, teachers, support personnel, administrators, and students embrace together the opportunity to face these educational challenges.  The faculty, administration, and staff of University School welcome your participation.  We hope you will communicate with us openly and will become actively involved in your children’s education.


The present University School has been a part of ETSU since it began in 1911 as a two-year normal school. The program and scope of University School has expanded significantly since those early days when the school was a department of the college and held classes in a section of the administration building.

Originally, the school provided for the first seven grades under the direction of four teachers. By 1914, the 8th grade had been added, and a few years later the terminal year was changed to the 10th grade.

The first move occurred in 1915 when classes were transferred to a building known as the "Model School". In 1929 this building was replaced by the present structure (Alexander Hall) and the name was changed to "Training School". This name was derived from the fact that the program was designed to provide training for college students who were preparing to enter the teaching profession.

After a program of advanced planning, grade 11 was established in 1947; and a grade 12 curricula was prepared in 1948. In the spring of 1949 the first class was graduated from the Training School, and those students became charter members of an alumni association. The name "Training School" was officially changed to the present "University School" by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the State Board of Education.

The number of University School faculty has grown from four teachers in 1911 to more than forty faculty members.  The student enrollment is approximately 540.

By Tennessee statute, T.C.A. 49-8-105 (a), the University School is recognized as fundamentally different from other schools located within the Washington County school district. The statute provides that ETSU as a state university in the state college (Tennessee Board of Regents) system:

“It is authorized to maintain a training school for grades one through twelve (1-12)…for the purpose of providing practice teaching experience for teachers in training, and the students enrolled in the school shall be taught the same course of study as prescribed by the state board of education for the public school system in grades one through twelve (1-12) or the grades appropriate for the school.”



We believe University School facilitates academic excellence by:

  • Enabling all students to attain maximum academic achievement
  • Nurturing an enthusiastic learning community
  • Encouraging and empowering our students to think creatively and critically
  • Providing opportunities for each individual's personal growth

We believe University School promotes authentic partnerships between members of our community—parents, students, teachers, administrators, staff, College of Education (COE), E.T.S.U., and the community at large by:

  • Collaborating on shared projects which enhance our role as the COE Laboratory School
  • Establishing and maintaining mutual respect
  • Fostering open and honest communication

We believe University School promotes a positive learning community by:

  • Respecting and affirming diversity
  • Modeling honesty, integrity, and trust
  • Providing for individualized learning styles in a student-centered curriculum
  • Evaluating and implementing research-driven educational practices

"Every child valued. Every child challenged. Every child successful...whatever it takes"

As a model K-12 school, we are committed to an integrated academic curriculum which prepares all students and future educators to contribute to and succeed in a technologically oriented and global society.

University School of East Tennessee State University serves a dual function.

1.   The primary function is to provide a rich college preparatory curriculum that promotes the continuous academic, social, and emotional growth of each child in grades K-12.

2.   The secondary function of the school is to help the College of Education at East Tennessee State University achieve its mission of preparing professional educators by:

·        Providing university students with opportunities to observe innovative instructional practices;

·        Providing university students opportunities to work with and teach K-12 pupils under the direction of skilled mentor teachers;

·        Serving as a research laboratory for the advancement of programs and new ideas in the field of education;

·        Serving in a leadership role for the educational community.

University School and College of Education faculty and administration believe that the two broad functions described above are complementary. When teachers, professors, administrators, and students work collaboratively in the interests of educational excellence, all stakeholders benefit.

Environmental Policy
Recycle LogoUniversity School is committed to the advancement of Natural Resource Conservation and Environmental Stewardship in both our school and global communities.

Please visit our Accreditation Main page to find out more information about School Recognition and our AdvancED Accreditation review process

International Programs
Internation TripUniversity School students benefit from the unique opportunities presented when we establish global partnerships with schools from around the world.  Students and faculty members from partner schools exchange thoughts and ideas enriching the learning environment for everyone involved.  University School has participated in partnerships with Colegio Americano de Guayaquil, Ecuador,Kongzi Academy, in Nanjing, China, and Manangatang, Australia. 
International Association of Laboratory Schools
University School is a member of the International Association of Laboratory Schools
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