MBA recognizes the need to prepare boys to interact easily with girls in a number of settings. Students of both genders collaborate in book clubs, art shows, service projects, and athletic competition. They also take coeducational trips to explore colleges, the outdoors, cities, and foreign countries – building lifelong friendships.
Educators recognize, from practical experience and quantitative research, that boys have particular learning styles. Researchers have been able to observe physical differences between female and male brains as they function, particularly at high level tasks such as the SAT exam. Understanding these differences allows educators to customize teaching methods to meet the individual needs of young men and women.
As an all-boys college preparatory school, MBA has proven successful. Ninety percent of students scored three or higher on Advanced Placement exams; MBA leads the state in the number of students with National Merit recognition; most recently, MBA has earned two national championships in Debate and national recognition for outstanding artwork, state championships in football and baseball, and a nationally recognized theater program.
The subjective evidence is even more compelling. Nearly 11,000 young men have graduated from MBA over the past 145 years. Our graduates have become leaders within our local community, the country, and throughout the world. They are active volunteers who understand the value in giving back to the community. They have developed a strong work ethic and strength of character that will carry them from the classroom throughout their careers.
The Junior School
The Junior School is designed to meet the particular needs of our seventh and eighth grade boys. This comprehensive program attends to the emotional, social, and moral growth of our youngest men, as well as to their intellectual and athletic development. We recognize that every boy is a Gentleman, Scholar, Athlete in training, and the Junior School provides the tools and support he needs to realize his full potential in the areas of integrity, academics, creativity, and physical fitness.
Boys begin each day in their homerooms where they are greeted by an advisor, who also teaches their first period class. The role of the advisor is to identify and respond to their students’ academic and personal needs, serving as both advocate and mentor. A partnership among students, their families, and teachers is formed based on mutual communication and trust. Frequent e-mail correspondence, in addition to phone calls and conferences, facilitate timely and meaningful contact among the MBA community. Teachers are available 30 minutes before school to provide the boys with additional academic attention.
The core curriculum of the Junior School is fully integrated with that of the High School. Courses are designed to build the foundation upon which all high school academic study is based. Consequently, students in the Junior School have more options available for advanced study in grades 11 and 12; 95 percent of our National Merit Scholars, and the majority of our valedictorians and salutatorians, have had their start here. To complement the core curriculum, a wide variety of enrichment courses are available: choral and instrumental music, forensics, art, and newspaper and literary magazine publications. The rich and varied offerings are designed to reflect and expand upon the diverse academic backgrounds of the incoming students. A typical class, representing educational institutions throughout Middle Tennessee, is comprised of nearly 40 different public and private schools.
Boys excel in extracurricular activities such as Science Olympiad, Envirothon, and MathCounts. In 2012 the MBA MathCounts team swept the top four places in the state, and the Science Olympiad won its second consecutive state title..
A devoted faculty of men and women appreciate the vibrancy of students this age; they know how to harness an adolescent boy’s enthusiasm to en-sure that learning will be both meaningful and productive. Skills in writing, language, critical and creative thinking, scientific experimentation, and problem solving are emphasized within a curriculum that is both focused and flexible. Junior School teachers prepare the boys for high school by helping them develop strong study habits, organizational skills, and a sense of personal responsibility.
Physical activity plays an important role in the lives of boys; the athletic program offers a full range of grade-level interscholastic sports throughout the year, as well as non-team activities and intramurals. The goal is to provide many levels of competition while promoting a high level of physical fitness.
The Junior School is made up of 14 classrooms, a commons room, administrative offices, a conference room, and a student study area in the Jack C. Massey Building. Using Massey Hall as the hub, students take courses in music, theater, and forensics in other buildings on campus. The Ingram Science Building, for example, houses sophisticated laboratory classrooms designated for Junior School students, as well as a research lab, botanical areas, and a lecture hall.
Junior School traditions create lifelong memories. Seventh grade students ride to school with their senior Big Brothers on the first day of school; the Camp Laney retreat encourages bonding among new students and teachers at the start of the school year; and the eighth grade graduation trip celebrates the entire Junior School experience. Collaborative events with the Harpeth Hall Middle School offer age-appropriate academic, social, athletic, and service activities throughout the year. Boys have the opportunity to take weekend excursions, as well as other class trips. Events that bring the Junior and High Schools together include weekly assemblies and activities that encompass service projects and pep rallies.
The spirit of camaraderie among students in the Junior School is remarkable; the boys have an uncommon appreciation for the achievements of their classmates, and they truly enjoy one another. There is a sense of common purpose in all that they do. Whether the boys are playing in the quad, rehearsing for a performance, or studying Latin, the Junior School of Montgomery Bell Academy is a special place for boys at a special time in their lives.
The High School
The MBA High School is defined by academic challenge and intellectual curiosity, a powerful sense of camaraderie, and a breadth of opportunities. Students are encouraged to establish a strong work ethic, to invest in themselves and the lives of their classmates and teachers, and to take risks by pursuing a variety of interests. Over the past century and a half, nearly 11,000 boys have taken this journey.
The transition from the Junior School to the High School begins with a freshman excursion. Whether touring Nashville sights or rafting down the Ocoee, boys develop a deeper sense of togetherness. Students explore the breadth of the campus as their academic and extracurricular options increase. They pursue leadership opportunities in service, publications, and student government. With the help of advisors and college counselors, boys plan their academic and extracurricular choices in preparation for college.
Sophomore year is marked by a better understanding of academic and behavioral expectations. Students accept an increased responsibility for their education and personal conduct. The support of faculty, advisors, and guest speakers (who model courage, loyalty, and sound decision making) is critical at this stage of development. As tenth grade students become more invested in the life of the school community, they begin to understand that MBA is a place where they can lead, inspire, and find lifelong friendships.
Students in their junior year face academic challenge with a shared sense of purpose and heightened camaraderie. Surrounded by a school community that values excellence in learning, boys appreciate the importance of a strong work ethic. They share a vision of high expectations, in leadership activities like theater, debate, music, service, and athletics, and in the college selection process. Pursuing a range of opportunities leads to further academic and personal growth as students establish a foundation for a strong college application.
Seniors begin an important transition by assuming peak leadership positions. They take seriously their roles as big brothers to the incoming seventh graders, in organizing school events, and in setting the tone for the school. The college selection process is itself a rite of passage as students consider their goals for college and career. They savor the camaraderie that comes with their final year of the rituals, traditions, and events that make MBA unique. When faculty, parents, and students join in celebration of Commencement, the MBA Big Red spirit comes alive with affection and loyalty.