American School Celebrates 118th Birthday

It's December 17, and on this date in 1897, American School received a charter from the state of Massachusetts to operate as an "educational institution not for profit."  That charter still guides us 118 years later, but not even our great founder, the legendary R.T. Miller (pictured) could have envisioned what his school would one day become.  We started as a study-by-mail program offering courses such as Electrical Engineering, Machine Shop Practice and Mechanical Drafting primarily to people with jobs who wished to study at home to advance their careers.  After five years in Massachusetts, we moved to Chicago in 1902 at the invitation of the Armour Institute, and Chicagoland has been our home ever since.  With the move, our curriculum expanded to include courses in law, commerce, fire insurance and high school completion.  We exhibited at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis and soon had students in more than 40 countries around the world.  In 1907, we moved to our own headquarters in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, a historic landmark which still stands to this very day.  A key moment came in 1922 when a principal from Benton Harbor, Michigan, approached us and asked if students at his school could take our courses to make up credits.  That idea was the seed for our Independent Study Program which today serves thousands of high schools across the country.  As American School continued to grow, we offered our own diplomas and our first post-secondary scholarship in 1938.  Our materials were used to help train soldiers in World War 2, and in the 1970s we became the first home study high school to earn accreditation by a regional accrediting body.  Today we are accredited by three such groups and offer accredited high school courses and diplomas in paper-based and online formats.  We also have this blog and our social media pages as additional ways we communicate with students and stakeholders online.  What does the future hold?  We plan to continue to evolve as a leader in distance education, adding more courses and services to benefit our students.  As an "educational institution not for profit" we've put our students' needs first for the last 118 years and we always will.  Thank you for choosing us and for helping us celebrate our 118th birthday!