Academic Program Overview

  • The MLC Academic Program Overview

    The PPS school board sets our instructional and core program for math, science, language arts, and social studies. The standards for each course are determined by the Oregon Department of Education and the Common Core State Standards.

    By Grade Level

    Classes of students are grouped by grade-level teams

    Kindergarten prepares students for school through developmental reading, math and social skills activities and in-depth subject studies.

    Elementary (1x8) students spend their day in core academic subjects and some afternoon time exploring areas of special interest in a wide-range of student choice elective classes.

    High school offers a range of academic courses to meet core requirements as well as support student interest. Schedules can include co-op classes at other schools, service learning and work experience, as well as courses art institutes, colleges, and universities. Early release, dismissal, and extended lunch need approval.

    At all grades, the MLC program is personalized in keeping with the culture of a smaller learning environment. Instruction has an experiential influence and we use proficiency grades when reporting student progress and final assessment.

    Social/Emotioanl Learning and Culturally Responsive Teaching

    Our school character traits of respect, courage, compassion, integrity, and self-discipline are driving principles and are embedded in the instruction and expectations we have for all students, staff and families. Our entire learning community works together to create an inclusive and equitable environment where children develop curiosity, skills, knowledge, and courage. Our schoolcommunity and students are taught to critically examine dominant culture norms, seek multipleperspectives and counter stories, and our staff are committed to culturally responsive teaching practices to meet the diverse needs of all students.

    Metro/Retro

    Students in grades 7-12 are assigned a metro (high school) or retro (middle school) class that meets regularly and is led by a specific teacher on that respective team. Through this structure, lessons are taught with the goal to continuously enhance school climate through team building, restorative circles, class meetings, social-emotional learning, presentations, career exploration, graduation requirements, and more.

    Conferences

    Conferences are a time for parents/guardians and teachers to share information, problem-solve, and form supportive relationships to help students be successful. It is recommended that you bring your student with you so that they will be empowered as self-directed learners.  They are often the start of an ongoing conversation about your student. If you run out of time, you can always request and schedule a follow-up meeting. Please plan to attend this very important opportunity to support your student’s academic success.

    Proficiency Grading

    MLC uses a proficiency grading system K-12 that clearly communicates what students know and can do in order to best help them succeed. The goal: Give students, teachers, and families an accurate picture of a student’s progress in mastering the Oregon State Standards (which include the Common Core State Standards in Math and Language Arts) so that teachers can provide the specific supports or acceleration each student needs. The proficiency-based approach makes clear what students know and are able to do by measuring academic progress separately from non-academic factors. Proficiency-based grading is intended to encourage looking at students as individuals and honoring a range of learning styles and ways of demonstrating what students know. In high school, our counselor works with all colleges and scholarship entities that require a grade point average by using a conversion formula.

    Portfolios

    In all grade levels, students compile samples of their best academic and metacognition work throughout the year into portfolios. Students in grades K-8 use binders and share their work with parents during conferences and spring portfolio night. In high school, portfolios are digital and students are required to present their portfolios to peers and community members each spring.

    Authentic Audience

    Many of our projects, classes, and electives include elements that incorporate the idea of authentic audience. Examples include theatre performances in which students, parents, and the rest of MLC are invited, poetry classes for which students perform at the Verselandia competition, and electives such as the one in which elementary students are working with architects to design the new playground.