American School is one of the oldest and largest distance education institutions in the world. From our beginning, we have been chartered as an institution “not organized for the distribution of profits to its members” and have continued on that not-for-profit basis for more than a century. Our current purpose and philosophy is as follows:
The American School, a not for profit distance learning institution utilizing the home study method, is dedicated to providing quality secondary instruction at a reasonable cost to those students who are seeking an alternative means of completing their high school education.
We have called the Chicago area home for much of our 120-year existence, but the American School was founded in Boston in 1897 by R.T. Miller and a group of graduates and faculty members from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. By 1900, students had enrolled from all over the United States, and two years later, the Armour Institute (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) invited American School to move to Chicago to conduct a five-year educational experiment. During that time, the School added several more courses and eventually moved to a new location in the Hyde Park neighborhood near the University of Chicago. American School stayed in that location until 1996, when it moved to its current location in Lansing, Illinois, a far south suburb of Chicago.
In our history, we have helped more than three million students earn their high school diplomas. Several of our students have become famous in entertainment, sports, the arts and the business world. They include actress Jessica Alba, tennis legend Andre Agassi, basketball player Wilson Chandler, singer Tiffany Evans, singers the Everly Brothers, baseball legend Bob Feller, tennis star Anna Kournikova, Rhodes Scholar Robert Morstein-Marx, entertainers Donny and Marie Osmond and the Osmond Brothers, author Christopher Paolini, motorsports star Travis Pastrana, tennis champion Mary Pierce, Pulitzer Prize winner Shulamit Ran, Grammy award-winning singer Selena, members of the Flying Wallenda circus family, artist Jamie Wyeth and many more.
American School has no owners or stockholders but instead is controlled by a Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees elects the President and Executive Committee which lead the School on a day-to-day basis. Only seven people have followed in R.T. Miller’s footsteps as American School President, the most recent of whom is Tim Pivarnik.