American School in Switzerland

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The American School In Switzerland (TASIS)
The American School In Switzerland (TASIS) is located in Switzerland
The American School In Switzerland (TASIS)
The American School In Switzerland (TASIS)
CoordinatesCoordinates: 45°58′58″N 8°55′00″E / 45.9829°N 8.9168°E / 45.9829; 8.9168
TypeBoarding and Day
International school
FounderMary Crist Fleming (September 10, 1910 -- January 27, 2009)
Sister schoolThe American School in England
HeadmasterChristopher Nikoloff
GradesPre-k through Post-Graduate
-Elementary: 215
-Middle: 110
-High: 375
Average class size13
Student to teacher ratio6:1
CampusMain campus in Montagnola
Color(s)Blue and Red
AthleticsBasketball, Soccer, Swimming, Lacrosse, Volleyball, Golf, Tennis, Badminton and 20+ recreational sports
Yearbook"La Collina d'Oro"
AffiliationsEuropean Council of International Schools (ECIS) New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Nationalities Represented62
Languages Spoken42

The American School In Switzerland (TASIS) is a private coeducational boarding and day school for elementary, middle, and high school students. Located in Montagnola, a village south of Lugano in canton Ticino, TASIS enrolls approximately 700 pupils from around the world, including 270 middle and high school boarding students. TASIS is the oldest American college-preparatory boarding school in Europe.


TASIS was founded in 1956 by M. Crist Fleming. For the first few years, the School was located in Locarno, then in Lugano-Loreto, until the purchase of the 17th-century Villa de Nobili in Montagnola in 1960. The school and campus continued to grow throughout the years, adding a post graduate program in 1959 and summer programs in 1972. Since then, TASIS has expanded to include schools and summer programs in England, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, France, Spain, and Puerto Rico.

In 1983, the US Secretary of Education honored Fleming for her "significant efforts and tremendous contributions towards the furtherance of education at the international level." He stated that the TASIS schools had "introduced thousands of Americans to European culture and civilization" and many foreign students to "the best that America has to offer in its education, culture, and opportunities."

The school is owned by the TASIS Foundation, a nonprofit organization. A Board of Directors is responsible for all aspects of the School's operations. TASIS is accredited by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges and the Council of International Schools.[1]

The school's crest reflects the virtues and values of the school: the tower represents culture humanitas, the lamp wisdom sapientia, the book knowledge scientia, and the sun truth veritas.

Villa De Nobili, 1972



TASIS's (upper) secondary education (Middle and High School) is not approved as a Mittelschule/Collège/Liceo by the Swiss Federal State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).[2]


The TASIS campus is located on the Collina d'Oro, or 'hill of gold', overlooking the city of Lugano and Lake Lugano to the North. The most notable campus building is Villa De Nobili, a 17th-century mansion that still contains the suits of armor placed there when the building was owned by the Marchese De Nobili, Italian Ambassador to Switzerland. It houses dormitories, classrooms, administrative offices, and the school's dining room. Other historic buildings include the 18th-century Hadsall House, which once served as a British consulate building; the 17th-century Casetta, and the 15th-century tower, Casa Fleming.

In 1997, TASIS received cantonal approval for the Global Village Master Plan, an ambitious long-term project tailored to the needs of the school that also serves as a model for sustainable design and community living. Since 1996, Architect and urban designer David Mayernik has created and renovated nine buildings, and the Master Plan is scheduled for completion in 2020.

Campus buildings include classrooms, dormitories, computer labs, a 30,000-volume library, two gymnasiums, art studios, photo labs, music rooms, a theater, two dining halls, and a snack bar and student lounge.

Recent additions to the campus include the Ferit Şahenk Fine Arts Center (2012), and the Campo Science Center (2014).


Students are encouraged to develop both as learners and as global citizens. Course content is oriented towards the classical liberal arts tradition, and TASIS makes use of its location to visit many of the sites where this cultural heritage is displayed.

Elementary students follow the Core Knowledge Foundation curriculum as well as an Italian Section curriculum in liaison with cantonal law. Middle and High School students follow a robust, challenging program which includes English-as-an-Additional-Language (EAL) content courses, Advanced Placement courses, and the International Baccalaureate program.

Enriched opportunities include SAT prep courses, an IB support class, a nightly EAL language lab, and academic help centers for math and writing. The University and College Counseling team works with students as soon as they arrive to ensure they are on the right track to meet the requirements of their top choice schools.

All High School, Middle School and Elementary School students are required to wear school uniforms.[1]


TASIS offers competitive soccer, volleyball, basketball, swimming, tennis, badminton, track, cross country, and lacrosse (boys only) at the varsity and junior varsity levels. Students travel throughout Switzerland and Europe for tournaments.

TASIS is a member of the Swiss Group of International Schools (SGIS) conference and were SGIS champions in 2012/13 in varsity boys soccer, varsity boys volleyball, varsity boys basketball, varsity girls basketball, mixed doubles tennis, and middle school boys skiing.

Recreational sports available include, spinning, Pilates, yoga, hiking, dance, gymnastics, indoor soccer, and lacrosse.

High School soccer teams are a part of the AC Milan Scuola calcio, which is managed in collaboration with AC Milan coaches.

The arts[edit]

TASIS has a tradition of strong arts programs. Performing Arts opportunities include drama, music theater, and instrumental and vocal music. The Palmer Center (2009) offers rehearsal and performance spaces. The Visual Arts is centered around the Ferit Şahenk Fine Arts Center (2012), with purpose-built Photography, Architecture & Design, Ceramics, and Painting studios.


Travel is an integral part of a TASIS education. TASIS pioneered the concept of academic travel, and since the school's inception, one week of each semester has been dedicated to travel that enhances the academic program. Trips have included physics classes visiting CERN, art history students exploring Rome and Florence, biology students pursuing field studies at an organic farm in Switzerland, photography students finding inspiration in Venice, and university visits to the US and the UK. Other destinations have included Paris, Rome, Madrid, Istanbul, Dublin, New York, Jordan, Kenya, Cambodia, Prague, Berlin, Morocco, Barcelona, and Lisbon.

Most weekends, TASIS faculty members sponsor subsidized trips to nearby destinations. These can include skiing/snowboarding at nearby resorts, attending concerts or art exhibitions in Milan or Zurich, visiting markets in Austria or Germany, or camping and outdoor adventure trips to the Alps and Dolomites. Juniors and seniors in good academic standing may travel independently.

Every January, the campus relocates to the Alps for "Ski Week" in the resort towns of Crans Montana (High School) and Verbier (Middle School).


All three divisions of TASIS include service programs that teach the importance of doing good for others.

The high school Opsahl Global Service Program (GSP) promotes the value of learning about organizations, raising awareness and funds, and finally visiting the organization for a truly hands-on, life-changing experience.

The GSP supports organisations local to Lugano and around the world.

In Lugano: Casa Elisabetta, Intergenerations, Red Cross Refugees, and OTAF.

Global: Cambodia (Tabitha and PEPY); EcoVisio Moldova; Gram Vikas India; Hope & Homes for Children Romania; Mission Morocco (Hayati); Nepal; Nuove Fiore Ethiopia; Serving Southern Africa (Zambia); Understanding Ulgii (Mongolia); WISER Kenya.

The GSP was founded by Jan Opsahl '68, the school's first international student.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "TASIS The American School in Switzerland: TASIS at a Glance".
  2. ^ "Maturität - Maturité - Maturità" (official site) (in German, French, and Italian). Berne, Switzerland: Swiss Federal State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, SERI. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  3. ^ "Everest News".
  4. ^ Archived from the original on 2010-06-21. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b "The world's most exclusive boarding schools". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Jack Savoretti". Outline Magazine. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  8. ^ Josue, Michele (Director) (2012). Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine (Motion picture). Logo Documentary Films. Event occurs at 12:04. ...Matt and his dad chose TASIS, the American School in Switzerland, in Lugano, Switzerland. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  9. ^ "Switzerland: The World's Most Exclusive Boarding Schools | Rhombus Lifestyle". Rhombus Lifestyle. 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  10. ^ MediaTI (2016-09-23). "L'avvocato di Angelina Jolie ha studiato a Lugano - Ticinonews". (in Italian). Retrieved 2018-08-14.

External links[edit]