An award-winning independent school in Mount Pleasant, SC

New Families

Here’s some helpful information for families with students enrolled at University School of the Lowcountry (USL). Much of this information is included in the Student Handbook distributed to students at the beginning of each academic year. Still, you may find it helpful to bookmark this page as it is likely to be updated more frequently than the Student Handbook.

Please visit the Parent section of our website to access the USL calendar, parent volunteer opportunities, tuition payment links and other useful information throughout the year. It is conveniently located at the very top of our webpage.

The school provides all textbooks and other reading materials.

Students will want a bag that can accommodate their materials. 

Each division will provide a school supply list for their respective grades in July each year.

IS and MS students will use a USL-assigned laptop while on campus. 

US students can use an assigned laptop or bring their own for use on campus. Whether they use a USL or personal computer, students must abide by University School’s policies for acceptable use of technology. 

Each student will have a cubby for on-campus storage, and IS and MS students will also have an assigned wall hook for their personal belongings, such as bookbags and jackets.

During school hours, parents and guests must access the campus by pressing the button by the double doors under the awning and get visually identified and buzzed in.


Student Drop Off and Pick Up

The flow of cars at drop-off and pick-up is the same. Parents should drive in from the entrance off of Coleman Boulevard and keep their passenger side door closest to the Education Building. 

At Drop Off (7:20-7:40 AM)

Students will head inside, unpack, and assist with jobs to ready the campus. At 7:40 AM, the orange cones are pulled back into the building, and all students arriving after this time should head directly to the gym for Morning Meeting.   

During the Day

Please note that the covered walkway between the Education Building and the Gym will be blocked with cones.

At Pick Up

A USL staff member will motion for cars to pull up and park under the awning, and they will use a walkie-talk to communicate to the teachers inside to send out the student when their vehicle pulls up. Students will walk to their respective vehicles. The line at pick-up is longer, so vehicles should loop around the traffic circle. This means going straight after pulling in from Coleman Boulevard, which helps keep us from potentially blocking Coleman Boulevard. Please do not turn right after entering from  Coleman Boulevard because this blocks that exit point and is unfair to families waiting to pick up who are already in line.

The IS dismisses at 2:55 PM, and students can be picked up then. IS students waiting for the MS/US dismissal will be supervised until that time. The MS/US dismisses at 3:10 PM. At 3:20 PM, all students remaining will proceed to Extended Day.

Please do not drive against the line because space is limited, and it is unsafe.

Please share this information with anyone who picks up your child.

Looking for help with carpooling? Please contact Tasha Tirpak.

School Hours

Students can arrive in the morning between 7:20-7:40 AM.

The school day begins for all students at 7:40, which marks the start of the all-school Morning Meeting.

Any student remaining after pick up at 3:20 is automatically placed in Extended Day. 

The Intermediate School’s hours are 7:40 AM-2:55 PM.

The Middle/Upper School day runs from 7:40 AM-3:10 PM

Extended Day

In order to meet the needs of our families, we offer an after-school option for our students. In a supervised environment, Extended Day provides a time for children to complete homework, relax, learn/read independently, and play games. Extended Day will operate on normal school days only — not holidays, etc. 

The Extended Day program starts at 3:20 PM and ends at 5:30 PM. Students may enroll in Extended Day on a drop-in basis or on a regular weekly schedule. Any student remaining after pick up at 3:20 is automatically placed in Extended Day.  When picking up, parents must sign out their child. Fees will be billed monthly according to the sign-out time for the days the student was in Extended Day. Parents should send a written note or email Tasha Tirpak in advance of drop-in stays.

IS and MS students will use a USL-assigned laptop while on campus. 

US students can use an assigned laptop or bring their own for use on campus.  Whether they use a USL or personal computer, students must abide by University School’s policies for acceptable use of technology (an abridged version appears below).

Acceptable Use Statement

Students are asked to sign the following agreement:

University School of the Lowcountry (USL) embraces technology as one vital means to a comprehensive education. Students are encouraged to use school computers for any legitimate academic inquiry. Though faculty and staff members are always available to guide projects and enable research, it is understood that much of this work will be conducted independently.

I recognize, therefore, that as a responsible member of the University School community, I must observe at all times the principles of honor, civility, and fair play that govern school life. When I log on to a computer at University School, I am signing my good name, promising with this declaration that I will not abuse the system nor that special trust University School USL places in me.

Acceptable Use Policy

The USL network and computers are intended for educational and administrative purposes. The use of these is a privilege that comes with certain responsibilities. In order to use computers and technology at USL, you must agree to abide by the Acceptable Use Statement, the following rules, the spirit of this document, and the honor, civility, and behavioral standards that are expected of you. These statements apply to all USL computers regardless of their location and to personal computers used at University School.

Overall Philosophy for the use of computers and technology: L.A.R.K.





For example, if you are wondering whether you should do something on a computer, online, etc., then you should ask is your action legal, acceptable, responsible, and kind. If the answer is “no,” then do not do it.

Cell Phones and Smart Devices Policy

1 . USL embraces the positive aspects of technology and also cautions about the effect it can have on young people. Because of this, we have a different cell phone/smart devices policy for each division.

2 . Communicating with your child at University School is easy. One can just call the school or email Tasha Tirpak in the office if you need to get a message to your child, and your child can call you from the office. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged for students, if they have one, to leave their cell phones/smart devices at home, with their parents, etc.

3 . If a parent wishes for their child to bring a cell phone/smart device to school, here are the guidelines:

Intermediate School

Students will place their smart devices in the designated location upon arriving and will pick it up at the end of the day.

Middle and Upper School

Students will place their smart devices in the designated spot in the Office and will pick it up at the end of the day.

For overnight trips, US students with smart devices can bring them.

There may be a time when 12th graders can have their cell phones and use them during the day in a conscientious and responsible fashion.

If a student must text a parent because their parent is unavailable by phone, then the student should ask permission, get their phone, and send the text while in the office.

COVID Protocols

Students and faculty/staff may choose to wear a mask at any time. 

We have an array of masks for students and faculty (N95 and surgical).

Every room on campus has a hospital-grade HEPA purifier in it.

We’ll eat outside. Students can bring refillable water bottles and drink from them anytime (only water in the main buildings. All other drinks remain in the Gym or outside).

Get tested and wear a mask if you have symptoms.

Individuals with a positive COVID-19 test should stay home until they have had no fever for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication AND improvement of symptoms AND at least five days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions.

Stay up to date with COVID-19 and other regular (flu, etc.) vaccines.

We’ll share additional protocols, if any, for transportation when we begin LOTCs in late-August/first week of September.

Empathy and consideration of others are values that are hard-wired into University School. We also believe in talking to the experts and hearing for ourselves from them. We’ve benefited from several relevant guest speakers since March 2020 who have spoken directly with our students and staff:

(1) Dr. Kirsty Wild and Judith McCool, population health professors from the University of Auckland for comparison and insights from New Zealand (a country of equal size to S.C. but deaths only in the double-digits)

2) Dr. Zihai Li, one of the world’s leading immunologists at the Ohio State University Medical Center, to learn more about vaccines and the human immune system

(3) Dr. Kent Stock, RSFH physician who has treated over 8,000 COVID patients in the Charleston area. He helped us understand the terrible cost that our healthcare system has borne during the pandemic

(4) Dr. Jacob Steere-Williams, College of Charleston historian of epidemics, for context about past epidemics to shed light on COVID

(5) Alan Hawes, a former photojournalist turned nurse who documented COVID patients in a nationally-recognized photo essay published on

Our COVID policies stem from these principles, and I know that the members of the USL community will overwhelmingly understand and support them.

2020-2021 was a successful year of learning at USL

Modeling what is possible during the pandemic and advocating for all of South Carolina’s schools

It is part of our mission to seek to advocate and act as role models for what is possible in schools. This included advocating in the Summer/Fall/Winter of 2020 for making use of long-term tents by schools during the pandemic. At the time, with the status of a return to normal uncertain, safe learning outside provided a powerful third option between remote learning and having classes exclusively inside. It allows students and faculty to connect and work together in person. We lobbied state and federal legislators about this issue and sought attention from the press to inform the public.

Read more about USL’s work to bring more students back to schools safely through outdoor learning in this Post and Courier piece from October 2020, Is S.C. solution to safe school in the era of coronavirus under a big tent?

USL lobbied Mount Pleasant and state governments to make tents a safe outdoor learning option for all SC schools

Updated August 9, 2022

Snack and Lunch

When packing food, bring snacks and a lunch that will not need to be heated. 

Here are some other items to remember for food:

A) Please check with the School before bringing in food for special occasions like birthdays. These should be done on LOTC days to avoid disrupting traditional school days, etc. Celebrating birthdays and other special occasions beyond cupcakes and special treats should be done outside school (for example, bringing balloons, etc.). If you have any questions, please check with Jason Kreutner.

B) If your child has special dietary needs, please let us know – including acceptable treat substitutes. For example, some of our students cannot eat cupcakes, etc. that are brought in for birthdays. However, the School will purchase and maintain a supply of treats for these students when a special food is brought to school. Please just tell us, and we’ll purchase them for your child.

C) For profound food allergies, please be sure to include the information on your student’s medical form and communicate this directly with Tasha Tirpak, Tiffany Thompson, and Jen Payes. If needed, adjustments will be made to account for this and keep the student safe.

D) Many teachers in the MS and US will allow students some time to have a snack at the start of class. Because of the carpets, students will need to be mindful of this when choosing the drinks and snacks they will bring to school (for example, foods like Cheetos and sugary drinks should be avoided).

E) USL works with an optional food delivery program called Food for Thought (FFT). Children and faculty/staff may take part. Deliveries start in late August each academic year, so please feel free to explore their site, etc. to learn more. 

FFT is a school lunch program geared towards parents of children in school who are looking for fresh, healthy, and affordable lunch choices for their kids. The focus is on fresh, local, and organic meals, conscious of allergens and dietary needs. Food for Thought, a subsidiary of Dish & Design Catering, is located in Mt Pleasant. Parents now have the option of ordering a fresh and made-to-order meal that also caters to the special needs of children with allergies. With a 24-hour minimum notice policy, Food for Thought provides ease and convenience for busy parents on the run. The large a la carte menu offers lots of variety and allows parents to build a lunch desirable to their children’s tastes and/or needs. There is no minimum order requirement, and lunches are delivered free of charge to the school cafeteria or designated area.  All the lunches are organized by classroom for ease of distribution. Each lunch box is labeled with the name of the school, the student’s name, the teacher’s name, and the contents of the order. There is a three-checkpoint process to make sure that no lunch is left behind and guarantees every child will receive their lunch box. With an easy-to-use website, parents can go online and order as they prefer, whether it’s month to month, week to week, or 24 hours before the lunch is due. Payments are made online and charged to a credit card.  Parents may pay for their orders in one of two ways:  either by paying lunch at lunch or by depositing money into a personal online account that they may draw from and replenish as needed.

Moodle is the site for our online home for all of our courses. Each student has their own username and password, and each year’s Moodle is archived for access.  Some assignments, especially for L&L, are submitted exclusively on Moodle. For some projects, teachers will create a ‘drop-box,’ letting students submit/save important documents onto the central server. If you are sick, you can look on Moodle for your assignments. The assignment capabilities of Moodle are designed primarily for parents and absent students. We want USL students to organize and plan ahead for their school and personal lives, and they should be writing all of their assignments down in their planners (issued by USL) as they are announced.

The Moodle link for the current academic year is in the footer on every page of the website. You can also get to Moodle using the link here. The links to archived Moodles appear below.

Parents do not have separate accounts, so students should share their Moodle account info.

Login info consists of two parts – a username and a password. Students log in with their first initial and last name together (for example, jkreutner) as their username. Students control their passwords. If they forget it, they must ask Mr. Kreutner to reset it to password, and then when they are signed in they will be prompted to create a new password.

All elements of Moodle are archived.

As noted above, students should not rely on Moodle exclusively as the source of their assignments: they should be using their planner in class.  They should check the L&L Moodle page each day. L&L is conducted exclusively online, and assignments are only posted there (and should be transferred into their planner). For example, there will always be “prep” located here for students to complete before guest speakers, LOTCs, etc. These items form great conversation starting points for parents to discuss a speaker or field trip with their child in advance and in comparison to the actual experience. Most IS students and some older students will need oversight by parents to build the habit of checking L&L on Moodle daily and completing this preparation, and a student consistently taking care of this work on their own is a hallmark sign of independence at University School.  

Students should learn from their prior submissions on Moodle. They cannot be misplaced, and students can grow and improve by examining what they have done earlier and any comments they have received.

Faculty and students should park in the large paved lot (entrance off Coleman) or use the grass spaces adjacent to the Education Building along Vincent Drive. The parking spots in the immediate area around the Education Building are for daytime guests and parents dropping off/picking up for Hibben Preschool. 

Student handbooks are distributed during the Orientation Days at the start of the school year.

Last updated September 28, 2023