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Upper School Distinctives

Millennium Charter Academy is distinct from other schools in a myriad of ways.  Each of these distinctions finds its roots in the classical education model that has developed and been implemented over the centuries in the Western world.  This classical model is a long tradition of education that has emphasized seeking after truth, goodness, and beauty by the integrated study of the liberal arts (grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music), the reading of great literature, the appreciation of beautiful art, and the contemplation of one’s own humanity.  The purpose of this education is not the training of a child, but the formation of an adult.  Classically educated individuals are equipped for living virtuous lives and for flourishing as strongly thinking and deeply caring citizens regardless of their own career paths.  In order to reach these lofty goals that have been handed down to us, we at MCA have developed a unique curriculum that has some outstanding characteristics.

Beginning in Dialectic School (grades 6-8) and continuing through Rhetoric School (grades 9-12), our students study not only English, history, math, and science as the broad topics that they are, but they also begin to take Exploratory Courses, which are based upon the school’s philosophy of education, and a deep appreciation for schole (restful, low-stress learning). All Exploratory Courses are driven by each teacher’s passions and specializations, which have been acquired and nurtured throughout a lifetime.  Students who are interested in the performing, musical, and visual arts could deeply explore these fields by taking Beginning Band, Choir, Studio Art, Theatre Arts, Ballet, or even something as specific as Clay Creatures.  A passion for reading could be stoked by Reading Refuge, Introduction to Classical Mythology, Hobbits and Heroes, or one of our many literature-based electives.  Those with a love for the natural world may enroll in Journaling through Nature, Green Thumb, Animal Advocacy, or Mysteries of the Body.  At Millennium Charter Academy, the offerings are unique because our faculty are!

For grades 9-12, Millennium Charter Academy meets and exceeds the state standards for graduation. In following the classical model, English and history courses are taught in parallel, creating a sequence of courses in humane letters. In the Humane Letters seminar, a two-period course taken each of the four years of Rhetoric School, students embark on an integrated study of literature, history, and philosophy. Rather than read secondary texts and have teachers lecture at them, students are engaged in reading and discussing original texts and source documents, and writing essays about issues that emerge from their study. Historical lectures frame and supplement the discussions. The Humane Letters seminars encourage our Rhetoric School students to understand and analyze the enduring principles of Western civilization through careful, integrated study of both history and great literature. This study is like life: cross-disciplinary and open-ended.  This sequence is rounded out with a course in Fine Arts Survey and another in a Philosophy of Anthropology. Four years of mathematics and four years of science complete the core curriculum. High school electives are offered in three clusters: humanities, STEM, and entrepreneurship

Because we are preparing students for an open-ended life, we employ a distinct tool in both our Dialectic and Rhetoric Schools — paideia seminars.  These paideia seminars are a collaborative, intellectual dialogue facilitated with open-ended questions about a text.  Because there are no simple questions with a paideia seminar, there are no single right answers.  There are, rather, deep-questions that encourage students to think even more deeply.  These formal, thoughtful discussions engage students to build intellectual and social skills that they will need to thrive in today’s society.  
 
In our never ending pursuit to prepare our students for life beyond our walls, we acknowledge that there is more to education than developing students intellectually and socially.  To help and nurture character growth in our students, we have implemented an advisory program.  The Advisory Program provides a system of support for students by designating a singular contact person for families and teachers.  Primarily, an advisor works in conjunction with the family, the classroom teachers, coaches, specialists, and other support staff and administrators to help the student progress academically and in terms of moral character.  The advisor monitors student progress and offers encouragement, support, and assistance on academic, behavioral and developmental issues.  As the primary advocate for the Upper School student the advisor attempts to establish a close rapport with the student as they work together to determine strategies for strengthening academic growth and character development, as described by the goals and philosophy of this Academy.  Secondarily, the advisor works to establish a positive peer support network through various team building activities and events.