"The high school consists of over 300 students who are fully engaged in an atmosphere that values intellectual curiosity, spiritual growth, honor, trust, and a respect for their fellowman." -Greg Self, High School Principal
In keeping with the mission of Madison-Ridgeland Academy (MRA), the high school strives to provide a superior educational experience for our students while encouraging and enabling each student to reach his or her individual potential. Our dedicated faculty recognizes and respects the unique ways in which each student learns best, teaching an academically rigorous curriculum while simultaneously going beyond the classroom walls to provide “real life” experiences. As students become lifelong learners, they are encouraged to think critically, creatively, and independently.
As a result of the extensive academic, athletic, artistic, spiritual, and community-service opportunities that are available, our students become confident leaders who have positive influences on their communities.
High School Curriculum
Students in the high school consult with their parents, counselors, and the high school principal as they make decisions concerning their courses throughout their high school careers. While there are certain required courses that must be part of the program of studies each year, a broad selection of elective courses exists at every grade level with more offerings in the 11th and 12th grades.
Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and Dual Credit Classes
Because MRA is a college preparatory school, all courses are designed to prepare students for college. Although these courses reflect the rigorous curricular requirements for students entering college today, they are taught at appropriate developmental levels for high school students.
The Honors, Advanced Placement, and Dual Credit courses offered by MRA are challenging and demanding enough to merit a weighted grade. Honors courses receive 1.025 – 1.05 weight, and Advanced Placement/Dual Credit courses receive 1.10 weight each grading period when averages are calculated. Students in Honors courses are expected to use higher order thinking skills in the reading, writing, and content analysis at the entry level of each course. Advanced Placement courses are designed to contain college level material and to prepare students for the Advanced Placement exams offered in the spring. Students may earn college credit or advanced placement from the many colleges participating in the program. Motivation, preparation, and a strong academic record are three keys to success in an Advanced Placement course.
Dual Credit is an opportunity for MRA juniors and seniors to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. Students demonstrating college readiness through a college placement exam can earn college and high school credits in the same course by attending classes on the MRA campus. Highly qualified faculty members of the MRA instructional community teach all Dual Credit courses. MRA partners with Mississippi College and Holmes Community College to offer a variety of courses in the core curriculum.
- Computer Science
- Health, Physical Education, & Drivers Education
- Visual & Performing Arts
- World Languages
The Bible Department is committed to teaching the Scriptures in a way that addresses both the head and the heart. The faculty of MRA takes a scholarly approach to the material, one that is designed to familiarize students with the varied historical contexts and literary forms in and through which God has revealed Himself. However, we also believe that knowledge of the Scriptures is a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Therefore, we seek to provide biblical training that both encourages our students, and has considerable effect on their lives. We want their “knowing” to significantly influence their “doing.” We desire to challenge our students to investigate God’s Word and Truth and then to internalize and integrate God’s Word and Truth into their lives.
MRA is committed to a non-denominational approach to biblical instruction that focuses on the essential elements of historic Christian faith. The school has a student population with a diverse spiritual background, understanding, and commitment. MRA’s Bible classes offer insight and wisdom that each student may appropriate as his or her own. All high school students are required to earn one-half credit of biblical studies in order to graduate.
The goal of the Computer Science Department is to develop the most current skills in computer programming, web design, and multimedia. All MRA students are required to complete a one-half credit in computer science. Our assortment of computer science courses allows students to follow a sequence to maintain competency with current computer trends. Using professional programs such as Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop, and Java provides a foundation for artistically oriented students.
This department recognizes that thriving in a technology driven society requires students to effectively use the full range of digital tools. The Computer Science Department strives to provide state-of-the-art educational opportunities for all students. Through the work of this department, MRA graduates demonstrate an understanding of the use of technology as a means for communication, research, analysis, and self-expression. Additionally, our graduates are sensitive to the broader philosophical, moral, and ethical issues connected with the use of digital technology.
As a part of MRA’s 1:1 program, every student in grades nine through twelve uses a school-issued, wirelessly networked MacBook Air. Members of the Computer Science Department work with all MRA teachers and students in mastering these powerful and flexible tools. In addition, students with a special interest in technology are encouraged to enroll in one of the elective courses offered by the Computer Science Department.
The English Language Arts curriculum is conceived as a continuum of experience and training that will enable students to use the English language with success and skill in each stage of growth. Language as thought and behavior, as the spoken and written word, as a tool of analysis and persuasion, as a medium of imagination and memory, as a record of history and culture, and as the common coin of human communication - each and all of these uses and manifestations of discourse are the continual subjects of the English Language Arts curriculum.
The curriculum is joined in links shaped mostly by age-appropriate considerations. It is the premise of the curriculum that language skills and linguistic sensitivity are hallmarks of an intelligent, inquisitive, creative person at any age after infancy, and that the language experience and training offered to six, twelve, or eighteen-year olds can and should be equally challenging, rich, and stimulating. Matters of standard usage are always of importance, but not to the exclusion of inventiveness, experimentation, and interpretation.
The goals of the curriculum are that students will learn to express themselves with precision and confidence and to read with accuracy and sensitivity.
The goals of the physical education programs are to learn the rules and concepts of sport activities as well as to develop motor skills. Furthermore, the Physical Education Department stresses sportsmanship along with the enjoyment of physical activity. A variety of sports are taught, including basketball, football, soccer, softball, track, and volleyball.
Personal Health is offered as a semester course in the ninth grade. Students learn to become health-literate, to maintain and improve health, to prevent disease, and to reduce health-related risk behaviors.
Driver’s Education is a semester course that provides students with thirty hours of classroom instruction as well as six hours of behind the wheel training. The class focuses on basic traffic laws, types of insurance, driver responsibility, DUI laws, and safety. Upon passing the requirements of the course, each student will be given a certificate of completion.
The MRA History Department helps to develop skills, which will enable the students to manipulate the facts of history in evaluating the wisdom of past as well as current policies and events. This department is convinced that these interpretive and evaluative skills will help to make MRA students more responsible citizens of their own nation and the world. Through the study of history at MRA, our students will gain knowledge of western culture and values, an appreciation of other cultures, and an understanding of the geopolitical forces that help to shape all societies. In order to achieve this last goal, the department has enhanced its geographical education program, which is integrated into the history curriculum.
The MRA History Department agrees with Ernest Boyer, who wrote in High School: A Report on Secondary Education in America, "An understanding of one's heritage and the heritage of others - the study of history is an essential part of common learning." The department also believes that an understanding of the historical content and historiographical skills will assist students in their search for the truth.
In order to help our students achieve these goals, the department of history acquaints students with both primary and secondary materials, teaches the skills of historical research and writing, and challenges students to think about the causes and effects of history as well as the facts.
Four credits of history are required: one in Mississippi History (one semester), one in World Geography (one semester), one in World History, one in United States History, one in American Government (one semester), and one in Economics (one semester). Students have an opportunity to take AP World History, AP United States History, AP Government, and/or Dual Credit Macroeconomics in place of the college-preparatory course.
The goal of the Mathematics Department is to teach students to become confident problem solvers through the utilization of creative thought, manipulative skills and appropriate technology. MRA graduates should be able to reason mathematically, understand the logical structure of mathematics and appreciate its power and value.
The mathematics curriculum at MRA is sequential, beginning with simple manipulative experiences in pre-kindergarten and culminating with an in-depth study of calculus in Calculus II. In the high school, four mathematics credits including Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II are required of all students for graduation. Students may choose Algebra III, Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus, DC Statistics, DC College Algebra, DC Calculus I, or DC Calculus II as their fourth mathematics credit.
All courses require that the department chair, the current teacher, and the course’s teacher approve enrollment even if the student has completed courses with year-end grades indicated as prerequisites. This decision will be based on the unique demands of the specific course and on the student’s demonstrated work ethic, reliability, time management, willingness to collaborate, and ability to grasp new concepts quickly.
The Science Department encourages scientific achievement through a supportive atmosphere that provides students frequent opportunities to conduct science in well-equipped and technologically enhanced environments. It is our mission to continuously establish new standards of excellence in the scientific education of our students. As a department, we believe students must (1) develop skills in observation, investigation, problem solving, communication and utilizing technology; (2) acquire knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the natural world; (3) demonstrate effective oral and written communication in problem-solving, critical thinking and computational and research skills; (4) work cooperatively and effectively with others while demonstrating respect for diversity; (5) become morally responsible and active citizens to make informed decisions; (6) establish scientific, academic, and personal confidence that will be utilized by students to explore future educational and career opportunities when they step forward from MRA.
The arts enrich life for all cultures and record the personality of age. Visual and performing arts students discover their creative potential, nurture critical thinking, and acquire techniques for evaluating art forms. Students who participate in the arts develop communication skills and hone life skills such as organization, teamwork, and self-discipline.
It is the goal of MRA’s Visual and Performing Arts Department to develop a commitment to the arts as an integral part of the total school program. Emphasis falls mainly in the areas of classroom aesthetic experiences, student participation and presentation. Students also develop skills necessary for self-expression in the disciplines of the arts. The learning areas are divided into the three disciplines: art, drama, and music. One year of a visual and performing arts course is required for graduation.
Knowledge of another language, whether classical or modern, is an essential element of a MRA student’s education. The Department of World Languages believes that early exposure to foreign language learning in the elementary grade levels is of great benefit to our students in the cognitive, cultural and social spheres. Numerous course offerings in the middle and upper divisions and varied instructional methods allow the needs of all students to be met within the scope of their abilities. The progressive development of linguistic skills involved in foreign language study not only impacts a student’s ability to communicate in the target language but also provides a deeper understanding of the nature of language itself, thus improving a student’s communicative skills in English, as well. Such language mastery forms the basis of excellence and achievement through high school, college, and beyond. The Department of World Languages strives to instill in students an awareness of the roots of both the western and eastern traditions and an appreciation for the multicultural, global society in which they will soon take an active part. Students are provided with the tools to understand and appreciate foreign cultures and value systems, thus enhancing their understanding of their own society and promoting open-mindedness towards others. Knowledge of the world’s diversity gained in foreign language study broadens attitudes of acceptance and equips students with the cultural awareness necessary to assume their roles as caring, capable, and educated young adults in our diverse society.All MRA students must complete courses in French, Latin, or Spanish. Students are encouraged to take a minimum of two years of the same language. Those who demonstrate a superior ability in foreign language acquisition are placed in honors sections. Students are encouraged to continue their language studies beyond the second year and many do so. Students may also take more than one language at a time.