An in-depth study of English grammar and vocabulary. Students will also read classic literature and discuss it in class. They will also work on developing writing skills. Texts studied may include Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
An examination of the history of the United States, including its political, economic, military, and artistic themes, from the pre-Revolutionary War era through modern times.
An introduction to necessary pre-algebraic concepts, as well as a comprehensive review of computational skills. Our enriched class lays the foundation for an array of courses, including algebra, geometry, calculus, chemistry, and physics.
An introductory science course focusing on matter, force and motion, and environmental science.
Introduction to Classical Languages
A review of basic English grammar and vocabulary, through the study of Latin and Greek roots. Students will explore how our Western culture and the English language have been influenced by Greek and Roman civilizations. They will also study beginning Latin.
Introduction to the Fine Arts
A basic introduction to drama, music, poetry and visual art, through a chronological study of the major artistic time periods, from ancient Greece through Romanticism. Students will participate in individual and group projects involving each of the four arts.
A class focused on the basics of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Themes such as heroism and justice are encountered in texts such as Shane, stories by Poe, and The Last Battle.
Introduction to Ancient History
An examination of the roots of civilization as based in the cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome. Students investigate the political, economic, military, artistic and literary qualities unique to the periods and regions.
Foundations of Algebra
An introduction to necessary pre-algebraic and algebraic skills. Our enriched class lays the foundation for an array of courses, including geometry, advanced algebra, calculus, chemistry, and physics.
A course which explores the plant and animal world through an investigation of anatomy, classification, basic life processes, and ecological significance of organisms. The class includes multiple projects/dissections, and a significant unit on native plants and animals.
A review of basic English grammar, and a study of the fundamentals of Latin grammar. Students are also introduced to Roman culture and begin to translate basic texts.
An introduction to fundamental concepts such as line, color, shape, balance, and composition. Students also study and practice calligraphy.
An introduction to basic music theory, such as notation using the treble, bass and movable-C clefs, modes and scales, key signatures, and basic rhythm and meter. Students learn to play the soprano recorder and perform in public concerts. Students also listen to recordings of works by various composers and discuss the pieces as a class.
A continuation of the grammatical and writing focus of the 7th grade course, including the practice of the five paragraph essay form (which shall be continued in the high school Humane Letters courses). Literature studied includes Beowulf, The Chosen, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Lord of the Flies.
An investigation of the development of Western civilization from the fall of Rome through the Renaissance, including Byzantine and Islamic culture. Consideration of both the distinguishing features of each civilization as well as themes which connect different groups/periods builds a foundation for the further exploration of European history in the high school Humane Letters courses.
A review of basic equation solving with the real number system, and an introduction to the use of algebraic and linear functions to solve equations with two variables. Polynomials, rational/irrational numbers, algebraic fractions, and the quadratic formula are also covered in this class.
A study of numerous earth science phenomena with an emphasis on identification, description and modeling. The four main units of the course: astronomy, geology, geography, and meteorology will include the writing and presentation of major projects, and will also focus on skills such as unit-measurement conversions, map-reading, and the comprehension of various heat/energy cycles.
A continuation of the 7th grade course, emphasizing the mastery of grammatical details such as endings/forms, passive and active voices for all tenses, and translation of intermediate texts. Roman culture is also explored further, through the reading of literary and historical documents.
Continued exploration of concepts such as line, color, shape, balance, and composition. Students also study and practice calligraphy and the great works of past artists.
A continuation of the 7th grade course, expanding the theory to include the harmonic level with intervals and triads. Students learn to play soprano, alto and tenor recorders, allowing for more complicated performance repertoire. Students also listen to recordings of works by various composers and discuss the pieces as a class.
A cornerstone of the liberal arts curriculum at Mesa Preparatory Academy is the Humane Letters Seminar. In the 9th through 12th grades, English and History are combined in our Humane Letters courses: these are 2-hour long, daily seminars, directed Socratically and revolving around readings from Western Civilization's best works in philosophy, drama, history, autobiography, poetry, novels, and essays. Students learn to read carefully, discuss clearly, and write coherently.
Freshman: American history with representative American literature including selections from Hamilton, Madison, Thoreau, Emerson, de Toqueville, Douglass, Twain, Melville, Crane, Cather, Sinclair, Wilder, and Hemingway. Sophomore: English and European literature, philosophy, and history in tracing the development of political institutions from the late Middle Ages through World War II. Authors studied include Shakespeare, More, Locke, Austen, Dickens, Rousseau, Marx, Dostoevsky, and Solzhenitsyn. Junior: Literature, philosophy, and history of Ancient Greece with readings from Homer, Sophocles, Epictetus, Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle. The students also study Hamlet. Senior: A capstone course in which students draw upon the work of the previous two seminars in examining developments in European literature and philosophy in the transition from Rome, through the Middle Ages and into the Modern Era. Authors read include Virgil, Augustine, Aquinas, Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Descartes, Hegel, Marx, and Dostoyevsky.
Algebra I is completed in the 8th grade and is not shown on the transcript. The standard high school math progression at the school is: Geometry, Algebra II, one semester of Analytic trigonometry, followed by three semesters of Calculus. The students study the subject through Socratic discussion.
Honors Science The standard science curriculum at MPA is: Biology, Physics I, Physics II, and Chemistry. All students graduate with four years of college preparatory science, including a second year of physics. Emphasis is placed on learning through discussion and experimentation, and all of our science courses have a laboratory component.
Honors Foreign Language
All students study Latin in 7th and 8th grades. In high school, the students may switch to a modern language for fours years of study, or they may continue their 3rd and 4th year of Latin, followed by ancient Greek.
Classical Languages: Latin and Greek This language track affords students the opportunity to read and best appreciate some of the world's most rich and influential literature and poetry in their original languages, including Cicero, Caesar, Lucretius, Ovid, Catullus, Virgil, Plato, Herodotus, and Homer.
Modern Languages: French, German, and Spanish The emphasis in the modern language classes is to teach even first year courses entirely in the target language, adding both literature and composition by the second year. The class transitions to a seminar-style course in the third and fourth years, reading and discussing literary texts in the target language, including short stories, novels, plays, and poems. Students are expected to write essays of three to four pages.
Honors Music Theory III & IV/Choir: Students analyze four-part tonal music according to Baroque style. The first year covers harmonic analysisi of triads in major and monor keys as well as common harmonic progressions and cadences. In the second year, the focus expands to include analysis of form. Both years involve public performance of various pieces as a choir. Students also work on developing independence in musical performance.
Honors Poetry I/II: The courses study drama and music in verse and develop a variety of poetic techniques. Authors studied include Molierre, Donne, Coleridge, Frost, Dickinson, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Tennyson.
Drama I/II: Students develop their skills over a two year period by experiencing various aspects of stage production and perfomance. They also explore theater history and read great works of Aeschylus, Plautus, Shakespeare, Moliere, and others.
Studio Art III/IV: Building upon the basic art techniques taught in junior high these courses focus on advanced drawing techniques, art history, and introduction to painting.
The culminating project for an Academy student is the senior thesis. At the beginning of the senior year, the student selects a field of inquiry from the curriculum - literature, philosophy, math, science, the arts - and then selects a faculty member to act as his or her thesis advisor. The thesis is an exploration of one of the "Six Great Ideas" of humanity summarized as Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Justice, Liberty, and Equality. The first semester involves the selection of readings, directed study, note-taking, and conversation with the advisor. The second semester involves the writing of the thesis in sections, with the advisor offering feedback and guidance at each successive stage. The thesis is not a research paper, and it should not attempt to prove a specific point. Rather, the senior is asked to logically develop and assertively present his or her own philosophy on a topic of personal interest derived from the chosen texts. The thesis culminates with the senior defending his or her final draft in front of a committee of three faculty member.