American School in Switzerland

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The American School In Switzerland (TASIS)
Montagnola, Collina d'Oro, Lugano, Ticino
Type Boarding and Day
International school
Established 1956
Founder Mary Crist Fleming (September 10, 1910 -- January 27, 2009)
Sister school The American School in England
Headmaster Christopher Nikoloff
Faculty 110
Grades Pre-k through Post-Graduate
Enrollment 700
-Elementary: 215
-Middle: 110
-High: 375
Average class size 13
Student to teacher ratio 6:1
Campus Main campus in Montagnola
Color(s) Blue and Red
Athletics Basketball, Soccer, Swimming, Lacrosse, Volleyball, Golf, Tennis, Badminton and 20+ recreational sports
Mascot Tigers
Average SAT scores (for 2013) 589 Verbal
585 Math
585 Writing
Yearbook "La Collina d'Oro"

European Council of International Schools (ECIS)

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Nationalities Represented 62
Languages Spoken 42

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.

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.


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, an elegant 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 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 introduce students to the challenges and benefits of doing good for others.

The high school Global Service Program gives every student the unique opportunity to connect across borders through comprehensive, hands-on experiences that build empathy and encourage personal responsibility. Envisioned by Jan Opsahl ’68, the School’s first international student, the Global Service Program includes local organizations dedicated to refugee support and care for the elderly; projects across Europe including KIVA in Albania and Habitat for Humanity in Hungary, and work with global nonprofits such as Caring for Cambodia, Nuovo Fiore in Ethiopia, and WISER in Kenya.

Summer programs[edit]

The TASIS Summer Programs include courses for children ages 4+ to 18. The Lugano campus offers three academic programs:

TASIS Summer Program (TSP, ages 14–18) offers students language courses in French, Italian or English, and performing and visual arts courses in Musical Theater, Digital Photography, Architecture & Design, and Fashion & Textile Design. Academic subjects are balanced with sports and activities along with travel throughout the region.

The Middle School Program (MSP, ages 11–13) offers structured language learning in English as an Additional Language, French, and Italian, and a Musical Theater course. MSP is designed to challenge students academically and socially and includes a variety of sports, activities, and travel opportunities.

Both TSP and MSP offer special sports programs for young soccer and basketball players. AC Milan Junior Camp is managed in collaboration with AC Milan. The Armani Junior Basketball program is run in collaboration with Pallacanestro Olimpia EA7 - Emporio Armani Milano.

Le Château des Enfants (CDE) provides a unique blend of traditional camp activities for boarding (ages 6–10) and day (ages 4+-10) students with French, English, and Italian language-learning activities. The program aims to help children develop greater independence and self-confidence.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 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. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°58′58″N 8°55′00″E / 45.9829°N 8.9168°E / 45.9829; 8.9168