Frequently Asked Questions


  • Why choose private education?
    • 1 in 4 schools is a private school
    • 1 in 10 children attends a private school
    • Private school students perform better on standardized achievement tests than their public school counterparts
    • Sixty-seven percent of private high school graduates attend four-year colleges, compared to 40 percent of public high school students
    • Private school students’ participation in community service projects is significantly higher than their public school counterparts
  • Why should I consider The Episcopal School of Knoxville?

    In addition to maintaining high academic standards and a student-teacher ratio of 9-to-1, ESK believes in educating the whole child through instruction in religion, character, and community service. We take pride in a warm, family-centered environment that provides students with the emotional security necessary to achieve their full potential as students and as citizens.

  • What about the cost of an ESK education?

    The Board of Trustees sets The Episcopal School of Knoxville’s tuition on a competitive scale. ESK receives no funding from the Episcopal Church or the State of Tennessee. We seek grants from numerous sources, as well as donations to offset the cost of educating students. Some financial aid is available. We recognize that financial decisions around education are different for every family. If resources are available for private education, we believe these resources are often best spent early in a child’s educational career. At ESK, we take pride in inspiring a love of learning, curiosity, and a sense of wonder that will last a lifetime. We focus on the building blocks of future academic success so that our students go on to both independent and public high schools where they are tremendously successful.

  • But ESK doesn’t have a high school—what does this mean for my child?

    As a Junior Kindergarten through eighth grade institution, everything is tailored to the unique developmental needs of early childhood, elementary, and middle school students—from curriculum to the structure of school life. Ages 3-14 can be tricky times for children and families. We have carefully crafted the ESK experience to inspire a love of learning and provide support specifically for this foundational time in students’ lives.


    At 14, students are ready to explore new social situations and take on different roles and responsibilities in new environments. ESK kids really know who they are when they leave us, and they go on to be leaders in various high schools. Our alumni are student government presidents, academic stars, talented musicians, and athletes at Webb, Catholic, West High’s IB program, and Bearden, as well as numerous boarding schools across the country. We believe it’s our foundation that launches them.


    And, finally, it’s tough to know where your child will go to high school when they start kindergarten! Children change and life circumstances do, too. From the time students enter middle school at ESK, we are helping them think about this important choice. We offer extensive high school counseling, guidance, and placement services to ensure that all students go where they want and where they will be most successful. We believe this to be an added value of the ESK experience.


    Although Junior K-8 education is what we do, we are always thinking about the needs of our community, today and in the future. The administration and Board of Trustees are always monitoring the demand for a high school among our families and in the Knoxville area. Any decision regarding a possible high school addition will be thoughtfully and carefully considered to ensure continuity of quality to our existing program.


    We know that families worry about the competitive nature of high school admissions in the area, specifically at Webb and West High’s IB Program. Rest assured that qualified ESK students who choose these schools have no trouble getting in and thriving once admitted. It is not necessary to make the switch in middle school to ensure entry into these programs in the ninth grade.

  • Where do students go to high school after graduating from ESK?

    To date, all of our graduating eighth-graders have been accepted into their school of choice. These schools range from local private and public schools to area boarding schools such as McCallie, Baylor, Chatham Hall, Woodberry Forest, and the Asheville School.

  • At 20-years-old, ESK is younger than other schools in the area— should this be a concern?

    No, because we believe our youth is an advantage! We came on the independent school scene just as multiple revolutions were taking place in education across the nation: new ways of teaching, new focus on technology, and new emphasis on collaborative learning and academic extension, among others. Our youth and our small size have allowed us to be nimble and flexible, and to build these innovations into our core curriculum without having to unwind older ways of doing things.


    We currently boast of leadership in multiple areas. We are the only private STEMspark school in the area; the only PK-5 with full-time classroom assistants; the only Farm-to-Table program; the only school with structured guidance classes and the Tribes Agreements.  We can truthfully say that we have always been, and continue to be, on the cutting edge of important trends in education. And, already, our graduates are distinguishing themselves in high school, college, and careers.

  • What does the Episcopal affiliation mean for my child?

    ESK is a private, independent school and a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. This means that we are independent of any church or state institution in funding, admissions, and curriculum. Without receiving any financial support from the Episcopal Church, ESK is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools and affiliated with a time-tested Episcopal school model that has served students for hundreds of years across the globe.


  • How do I schedule an Admissions tour?

    Admissions tours can be scheduled through the Admissions Office with Corinne Mattern at (865) 777-4212 or at

  • What can I expect on an Admissions tour?

    Admissions tours are designed to give prospective families an overview of The Episcopal School’s facilities, curriculum and philosophy, as well as provide an introduction to the faculty and staff.

  • What is involved in the Admissions process?

    Upon receipt of the application, you will be contacted to schedule an assessment and classroom observation time for your child.


    JK-3 and JK-4 applications will be asked to spend an hour for evaluation either on a Monday or Friday.


    Kindergarten and first-grade applicants are invited to attend a group play date and take a combination assessment of the Gesell Developmental Observation Tool and the Fluharty Preschool Speech and Language Screening Test in January or February.


    Rising second- through fourth-graders spend the full day at school for their evaluation and visit their current grade. Teachers use our classroom assessments for evaluation: the QRI for reading and the chapter tests in math.


    Fifth- through eighth-grade applicants will also spend a full day at school. In addition to the campus visit, Middle School students are required to take the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE). The ISEE is offered online at the ESK campus on Dec. 3, 2018 (rising 9th grade). Click HERE to register, or to find alternate dates and locations.

  • What is the application fee?

    The application fee for our Junior Kindergarten program is $50; the K-8 application fee is $85. Both fees are due at the time of application, and cover administration and evaluation costs.

  • When should I apply?

    The application deadline for first round admissions decisions for the 2019-2020 academic year is Feb. 28, 2019. First round admissions decision letters will be mailed on March 1, 2019. After that date, admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis and are based on availability. While we accept applications year round, we strongly suggest you begin the application process as soon as possible. Click HERE to apply online.

  • When will I receive notification of acceptance?

    Decision letters are mailed on March 1 for applications received by Feb. 28, 2019. After March 1, decision letters are mailed upon completion of the application and appropriate assessments.

  • What happens if my child is accepted?

    If your child is accepted, you will receive a contract along with your acceptance letter. For first round acceptances, we request that contracts be returned with a $1,000 deposit by March 11, 2019. (This non-refundable deposit is credited towards tuition). For applications received after February 28, we request a response within 10 days. Contracts that are signed and returned must be voided in writing by May 31, 2019 to avoid full payment of tuition.

  • What if my child is not accepted?

    If your child is accepted but placed on a waiting list due to lack of availability, we will notify you immediately should space become available. If your child is not accepted for other reasons, we will discuss those reasons with you and offer a recommendation (i.e., reapply the following year; other educational choices).

  • What should I expect after I enroll my child?

    Upon receipt of the contract, you will receive a Student Handbook including the school’s uniform policy, as well as information about the Parents’ Association and upcoming school events.


  • Does my child need to be potty trained?

    All children are required to be fully toilet trained before entrance to Jr. Kindergarten and Kindergarten.  While all teachers of young children routinely remind the children to use the bathroom, children are ultimately responsible for identifying the need to go and taking care of this task independently.  “Pull-ups” are not allowed during any part of the school day.

Financial Aid