Father Ryan Academics

As a diocesan Catholic high school, the academic program at Father Ryan High School seeks to meet the academic needs of a wide breadth of students. While we have the widest range of academic abilities in the diocese, our students have maintained an ACT average of 31.6 or above in the top 20% of the class for the past five years, with 90 individual students earning perfect scores on both portions of the ACT and/or SAT or on the entire test. We understand that students applying to Father Ryan have a multitude of God-given gifts; therefore, the school’s mission is to place them in the correct academic levels and provide the appropriate resources to support them.

Through the school’s evaluation of placement testing, counselor and teacher recommendations, previous standardized test scores, and grades from the most recent school, and in consultation with parents, students are placed in courses which take into consideration the course objectives and goals as well as the aspirations, academic skills, and emotional maturity of the student.

Course Levels

Academic departments generally offer courses on four levels: Advanced Placement (College Board courses), High Honors, Honors and College Preparatory. Students are not placed in the same level in all subject areas. They are placed in different levels depending on their aptitude and performance in the various disciplines.

The College Preparatory courses at Father Ryan High School are rigorous programs of study which prepare the students for the demands of competitive colleges. Honors, High Honors and Advanced Placement courses are filled by qualification, application, and recommendation only. They are designed to meet the needs of students who have a high level of responsibility, who are capable of independent work, and who possess highly-developed thinking skills. Students enrolled in these courses who do not continue to demonstrate these qualities will change to a different level.

Father Ryan also offers two programs for students with learning differences. Students in these programs qualify for a range of services, depending upon the learning difference and its impact on student learning.

Select a Department:

List of 13 items.

  • Academic Guidance

    Academic Guidance manages the school schedule and assists students in choosing the most challenging and appropriate academic schedule for him/her. Every student is assigned a faculty or staff advisor who assists academic guidance in monitoring student progress and scheduling. The Academic Dean, Assistant Academic Dean, and Director of College Counseling assist both students and teachers in choosing the best academic plan for each student.
  • Accreditations and Affiliations

    Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and Southern Association of Independent Schools. Father Ryan was the first school in the nation to receive dual accreditation from these two organizations.

    Membership in the following:
    Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, The College Board, Cum Laude Society, Independent Schools of the Nashville Area, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Catholic Education Association, National Honor Society, Southern Association for College Admission Counseling, National Association for College Admission Counseling, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Southern Association of Independent Schools and Tennessee Association of Independent Schools.
  • College Counseling

    Father Ryan High School is a college preparatory school. All students who apply to attend Father Ryan should have the expectation of attending a post-secondary institution of higher learning. From freshman year through graduation, students are prepared for studies beyond high school. Our College Counseling Department is very active and assists our students in moving forward with post-secondary plans.
  • GPA

    Father Ryan High School has a weighted GPA. It includes all subjects, and factors in additional weighting for Honors, High Honors, and AP courses.
  • Grade Scale

    Father Ryan High School issues numeric grades to its students, according to the following grading scale:
    A = 90-100
    B = 80-89
    C = 70-79
    F = Below 70
  • Graduation Requirements

    The minimum number of credits required for graduation is 28 credits. This is the minimum, although students are strongly encouraged to take more than 28 credits. Most graduates earn 30 credits or greater; some earn 35. Father Ryan offers more than 160 courses for credit.
    • Theology – 4 credits
    • English – 4 credits
    • Mathematics – 4 credits (Algebra I, II, Geometry, and 4th math)
    • Social Sciences – 3 credits (One must be U.S. History)
    • Science – 3 credits (One physical and one biological recommended, plus one additional)
    • World Languages and Cultures – 2 credits (in the same foreign language)
    • Wellness/Physical Education – 1 credit
    • Fine Arts – 1 credit
    • Wellness/Health - 1/2 credit
    • Technology - 1/2 credit
    • Electives – Sufficient to meet graduation requirements
  • National Merit

    The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) – a test which serves as an initial screen of more than 1.5 million entrants each year – and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements.

    Since 2000, Father Ryan has had more than 189 students recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program.
  • NCAA Eligibility

    Students pursuing athletics at a NCAA division institution must meet eligibility requirements. We recommend student-athletes review the following information beginning their freshman year to schedule the appropriate core courses to meet NCAA standards. 

  • Online Courses

    Currently, Father Ryan offers summer school online courses science, theology, and wellness. Students not enrolled as full-time Father Ryan students may take these classes for credit. Father Ryan continues to increase its offerings in the online arena, not to replace classroom instruction, but to allow students to augment it with additional course offerings.
  • Study Abroad

    Father Ryan has two study abroad programs in the summer that allow students to live with families, attend classes, tour the key landmarks of the city, and experience the culture. Students earn ½ elective credit in World Languages and Cultures. They may do this every summer in which they are enrolled at Father Ryan, or do it as a one-time experience. Cities included are Salamanca, Spain, and Paris, France. In addition, Father Ryan offers numerous 10-12 day trips abroad for cultural enrichment over the course of the academic year.
  • Summer Enrichment Program

    The Summer Enrichment Program gives students an opportunity to earn extra credit in courses from virtually every department in our curriculum. These projects are designed by our teachers within each department to be educational, engaging, interactive and exciting.

    This program offers students a chance to start the next academic year on the right footing. Father Ryan is one of the few schools in Middle Tennessee that offers a voluntary Summer Enrichment Program for the benefit of its students.
  • Summer School

    Father Ryan Summer School offers make-up credit, new credit, and non-credit enhancement classes during the month of June. These classes are open to both Father Ryan students and students from other private schools. Students who do not pass a core course, who passed but do not feel they mastered the necessary material, or who would like to earn an elective credit over the summer – classes are available for all these reasons. Online classes are also available for summer school students through Father Ryan.
  • Testing Results

    Father Ryan High School is proud to provide an outstanding education to students of all levels, including those with a range of learning differences. Unlike other areas, in which their gifts shine, standardized testing is not the field in which students with learning differences excel. Scores are broken down into deciles (10%) to allow for those differences. Class profiles for the ACT over the past five years reveal the following:

    Class Rank Deciles
    1st Decile
    2nd Decile
    3rd/4th Deciles
    5th/6th Deciles
    7th/8th Deciles
    9th/10th Deciles

    Advanced Placement Results
    Father Ryan offers 26 College Board Advanced Placement courses each year. Students enrolled in these classes are required to take the AP exams administered by the College Board in May of each year. Below is a breakdown of the AP results over the last six years:

    Percentage of Students Taking AP Exams
    Total Number of Exams Taken
    Percentage of Students Earning Qualified Status or Better

Accreditations and Affiliations