Christ Presbyterian Academy

Upper School

Equipped for College and Life Beyond

At the upper school level, the Academy aims to maintain a careful balance between teaching skills and information and encouraging students to pursue areas of personal interest and affinity. Purposeful thinking skills and originality are encouraged across all curricular areas.

The individual student remains the focus of the learning environment, as teachers work to provide a supportive educational process that encourages students to take ever-increasing risk and responsibility for their choices, effort, and achievement.

Upper school instructors integrate sound teaching techniques with cutting-edge practices and technology to create exemplary and relevant academic courses. In addition, teachers invest themselves in mentoring relationships with students so that each student is known, appreciated, and personally encouraged to excel. Coursework and learning experiences are designed to communicate the relevance of scripture while encouraging students to live lives of authentic faith.

Visit the Upper School

Upper School Parent Information Sessions are the best way to experience the academic and student life programs at CPA Upper School. The session includes classroom visits, current student panels, and a presentation from key upper school administrators. Click here to fill out an inquiry and register for a parent information session. 

Inquire about CPA Upper School

Quick Facts

Upper School Faculty

Upper school faculty is comprised of 62 experienced, dedicated professionals, 52% of whom hold advanced degrees. 

Teacher-to-Student Ratio

The faculty/staff-to-student ratio in the upper school is 1:8, however, class sizes often vary. 

Average Class Size

Average class size in the upper school is 14-17 students. Class sizes vary per grade and course. 

Student Body

There are 450 total students enrolled at CPA Upper School.

  • Ninth - 102
  • Tenth - 118
  • Eleventh - 116
  • Twelfth - 114

Grading and Course Selection

Part of Christ Presbyterian Academy’s mission is to challenge every student’s academic ability and motivate each student in his/her pursuit of academic excellence.

Our students have diverse ability levels, and CPA offers college-preparatory courses as well as Honors and Advanced Placement courses to meet these needs. The student-placement process will identify and address the specific academic needs of the individual student.

College-Preparatory Level 
Honors Level 
Advanced-Placement Level 

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Advanced Placement & Honors

  • There are 111 upper school courses offered with 43 Honors / Advanced Placement courses available
  • 173 students tested through the AP program, totaling 348 tests
  • 60% of seniors took AP exams
  • 57% of juniors took AP exams
  • 36% of sophomores took AP exams

College Counseling

The College Counseling department works with students in grades 9 through 12 to facilitate the transition between upper school and college. 

The process moves from more generalized programs for freshman and sophomores to increasingly individualized services for upperclassmen. The goals are to assist students with intentional discernment that leads to thoughtful action to help students to examine their interests, goals, and passions and to select appropriate post-secondary institutions. 

Applying to college from CPA is a sacred process (Jeremiah 29:11), relationship-based (with a 35:1 student:counselor ratio in each class, the team's primary objective is to know students well enough to walk effectively with them through this process), and focused on fit (the team helps students and parents determine the best social, emotional, financial, academic, and spiritual fit in a post-secondary institution). 

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Matriculation: Class of 2019

Class of 2019
This year, the Class of 2019 submitted 500 applications (4.76 per student) to 127 unique institutions in 34 states and 2 foreign countries. Offers of admission were extended from 103 of those institutions, and the overall admission rate for the class was 85%. 

Out of those 127 schools, 60 received an application from only one CPA student.

Overall, students will go in 45 directions next year. Students will attend 41 different 4-year colleges and universities in 18 states and one foreign country (Scotland). Two students will be participating in a joint-degree program (or program depending on host country) between The University of St. Andrews in Scotland and the College of William and Mary. 

Thirty-one students have accepted offers of admission from private schools while 71 will attend public universities. Thirty percent of students will remain in Tennessee with Alabama receiving the next largest percentage (21%) and Mississippi the third (14%). 

Head of Upper School Dr. Parker Altman

Dear Parents,

In the upper school at CPA, we seek out ways to provide both intentional and serendipitous experiences ushering students into young adulthood.

During the formative years of an upper school education, students are rapidly gaining greater independence, while also experiencing service to and collaboration in something bigger than themselves. We are designed to be in relationship with one another, and the upper school faculty models this with students as they delve into our relevant and rigorous academic programming, nurture students in their faith development, and equip them with the life skills necessary to engage in the larger culture as well as their own family.

We are intentional in the way we structure our days, in the way we design our curriculum, in the way we hire expert faculty, and in the way we curate experiences through arts, athletics, and spiritual formation. 

While we strive for intentionality, we also embrace the unplanned moments that occur in the life of the upper school as serendipitous opportunities to deepen relationships, build resiliency, and identify God’s hand in all things. The teenage years can be tough, riddled with self-doubt, anxiety, and fear. Students often ask themselves the questions “Who am I?” “Do I have what it takes?” and “Am I loved?” Our faculty lives for these moments in which we can help students answer these questions, both inside and outside the classroom.

My one promise to you in all of this is that while we will make mistakes, we will be relentless in the pursuit--of your child and of the mission of transformation through education.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Parker Altman, Ed. D.
Head of Upper School