About South Academy of International Languages


South Academy of International Languages (formerly known as E.E. Waddell Language Academy, and before that, Smith Academy of International Languages) is a language immersion magnet school located in Charlotte, North Carolina. SAIL has teachers and staff from around the world, providing language immersion education in six languages to more than 1,300 students in grades K-8. We offer language immersion education in Chinese, German, French, and Japanese. Spanish is offered in middle school as an elective. Our school serves as a state and national model, and we are regularly visited by educators from around the globe. We are one of 172 public schools in the Charlotte – Mecklenburg School District.




The foreign language immersion programs in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system were initiated in the 1990s by then superintendent Dr. John Murphy as part of district-wide magnet school offerings. The first immersion program was opened in August of 1992 at Bruns Avenue Elementary School. It was an early total immersion program. The language of instruction was German. The first students were admitted to Kindergarten and First Grade immersion classrooms; the program grew by one grade level per school year as these original students progressed to the next grade, so that by 1996 Bruns Avenue Elementary had a K-5 total immersion program in place, with a complementary late immersion component for students entering in 2nd and 3rd grade. After the initial success of the Bruns Avenue program, immersion programs were set up at other schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district. An early immersion program in French was started at Reid Park Elementary in 1994. Then in 1995 a two-way Spanish immersion program was established at Collinswood Elementary and in 1996 a partial immersion program in Japanese was introduced at Sedgefield Elementary. In 1997 rising sixth grade immersion students transitioned to a partial immersion program at Smith Middle School.


By 2001 three of the early immersion programs had combined at one site. Bruns Avenue now housed the K-5 French, German, and Japanese Immersion programs. In 2003 these immersion programs moved to the site of Smith Middle School and combined with the existing 6-8 partial immersion programs to become the K-8 Academy of International Languages. By 2006-07, the school added the Chinese Program offering Mandarin as the fourth immersion language option. By 2011 the school moved to the former E.E.Waddell High school and assumed the name E.E. Waddell Language Academy. In August 2021, students moved to a brand-new school at 8300 Nations Ford Road : South Academy of International Languages.





S.A.I.L students (formerly knows as E. E. Waddell Language Academy) welcome world leaders to Charlotte. The students' speeches, delivered fluently in seven languages, focused on two key themes: "Preparing for our global future" and "Charlotte makes it possible". The children spoke in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.