About Molalla River Academy
Learning at MRA is characterized by a process of collaboration and a sense of family. Students are part of multi-age learning groups. They participate in hands-on activities and cooperative projects that are not only focused in their own classrooms, but also extend to other classrooms, and where appropriate involve the greater community in which they live. Students and teachers consider the entire school as an extended family.
The collaborative spirit of MRA is enhanced by the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum which integrates the arts and sciences into core learning areas. Creative theme-based units combine art and science elements for a well-rounded education that supports the continued development of all students.
The unique philosophy of MRA is based on the assumption that:
learning is a natural and normal component of life, inseparable from all other parts;
learning occurs most readily when people learn by experience and see how that knowledge can be applied in the world;
people learn better when subjects are related to their interests and past experiences;
children, parents and teachers together provide the most appropriate educational opportunities for each child;
education is determined by the ability to apply knowledge and skills in an appropriate manner, not by the number of facts one can recite;
learning is best achieved in an emotionally safe, nurturing environment;
a sense of community enhances learning;
each person is valued as s/he is, not just for what s/he can become.
The philosophy of the Molalla River Academy is based on learner-centered theories and practices of education. This approach values individual learning styles and positive reinforcement while promoting understanding and creativity. With alternative curriculum design and project-based learning as its hallmarks, MRA provides a valuable option for families in Molalla, Oregon.
To guide students in becoming responsible lifelong learners and compassionate community members through interdisciplinary studies in the arts and sciences within a safe and nurturing environment.
Molalla River Academy is a small learning community founded on the premise that education is decisive and enduring to the degree that it supports the development of intellect, character and creativity.
Our Core Values
We promote academic excellence through integrated, thematic curriculum.
We create a safe and comfortable learning environment.
We foster a sense of community.
We practice authentic assessment.
We create ongoing opportunities in the arts and sciences.
We encourage problem solving through hands on experiences.
We promote activities and behaviors that develop physical, social and emotional wellness.
The MRA Experience
The MRA Academic Experience
Molalla River Academy offers an exceptional academic program. Because learning is recognized as a lifelong process, our students learn to view themselves as lifelong learners. They see learning as enjoyable and exciting. Skills such as problem solving, thinking deeply and independently, working collaboratively with others, and expressing their thinking through the arts and sciences are encouraged and developed at each grade level.
The curriculum has been developed so that each student develops ownership in his or her particular learning process. Both traditional and non-traditional teaching methods are employed giving all children the opportunity to experience, explore, and become enthusiastic about many subjects. Through our unique approach students are encouraged to utilize and celebrate their talents, interests, and strengths. The curriculum supports children who find challenges along the way as well as children who strive for that extra challenge and need to be pushed ahead. The safe, comfortable environment allows children the freedom to ask questions, be creative, and gain confidence and competence in their learning and in themselves. Whether in the classroom, on a field trip, or while developing a project, the enriched environment and curriculum provide students with developmentally appropriate opportunities to learn using both the brain and the heart.
The MRA Social Experience
Learning at Molalla River Academy involves all abilities of the student. This not only includes the ability to work independently, but also the ability to work and play cooperatively and collaboratively with others. A quality education helps children learn how to work with others, discover, understand, and appreciate diversity, and develop strong strategies, skills and responsibilities as citizens.
Because every student is uniquely intelligent, each student deserves to be recognized and appreciated as a capable learner. It is especially important to expose children to multiple ways of learning, and acknowledge their own and others talents. We help them learn to interact and work together. Our students learn together in the larger school community through buddy time, school assemblies and school activities.
The MRA Emotional Experience
At Molalla River Academy we recognize that students learn better when they feel emotionally safe and feel ownership in the lesson. Positive emotional associations are critical to developing the patterns and connections required for the brain to learn. The optimal developmentally appropriate learning environment is low threat, high challenge, and supportive of the child’s self-esteem.
To encourage this positive environment, individual classrooms use projects/themes, or anchors, around which to develop the skills and concepts essential to each level of learning. The use of a project or theme provides a vehicle for teaching the curriculum. The project or theme captures the students’ imaginations, and provides them with interest and positive emotional ownership in the learning process. A well organized theme or project integrates a variety of subject matters and can help students draw on their strengths, leading toward deeper understanding.
Providing students with a developmentally appropriate learning environment that is emotionally safe and comfortable is essential to successful learning. As a result, children feel free to create, express emotions, make mistakes, learn from the mistakes, and explore their unique ideas and opinions.
Meeting Oregon's Learning Standards
MRA works closely with the district to ensure that the school's educational program is designed to meet the Oregon Content and Performance Standards. With a unified vision, well-focused curricula and dedicated staff in a small learning community, lessons are carefully crafted so topics naturally build on one another. We feel that all students, including those with special learning needs, are engaged in a way that empowers each to find his or her own path to success.