2018

  • Thanksgiving Holiday, Nov. 21-23

    MUS offices will be closed Wednesday-Friday in observance of Thanksgiving. Have a safe and warm holiday!
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  • Holidays Approach, Excused Absence Policies Apply

    As the holidays approach, please review the school policy for excused absences:
     
    Except for sickness, please use the Excused Absence Form to request an absence from school. Excused absences include a death in the family, medical procedures, observance of a religious holiday, attending school-sponsored activities and events, family vacations, non-school athletic competitions, and/or any other planned absences from school. Complete and return this form to the appropriate school office TWO DAYS PRIOR to the date of absence. Failure to complete this form can result in no academic credit issued for a student’s missed assignments.

    The form and explanation are found on both parent resource boards of our website. Log in to the website, click the Resources tab, and click on either the Lower School Biz or Parent Quick Links board.
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  • Inclement Weather Policy

    In the event of a school closing or change to school hours because of weather conditions, MUS will use Owls Alerts to notify you via email, phone message, and text. In addition, we will post pertinent information on our website, in our social media, and through local news stations. Coaches will text information to their teams about practices and games.
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  • Ryan Sellers to Lead State Classical Association

    At the 40th annual Tennessee Classical Association meeting this month, Instructor in Latin Ryan Sellers was elected the organization’s president. TCA is the only professional organization in the state specifically for teachers of classical Greek and Latin. 
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  • Questions about Standardized Testing?

    College Counseling has prepared a letter, beneficial to all – but critical for juniors – answering questions about standardized testing. Preparing for ACT or SAT exams can be confusing, so check out this letter on the College Counseling Resource Board for help.
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  • Murphy Confirmed Lower School Principal

    Headmaster Pete Sanders announced the appointment of Mr. Loyal Murphy ’86 as the principal of Memphis University School’s Lower School at a faculty meeting November 7. Murphy has been serving as interim principal since July 1.

    “After a review of Mr. Murphy’s work over the last four months and feedback from various sources close to the Lower School, it has become evident that he is the right person for the job,” Sanders said. “Creative in his approach to challenges, he has embraced the role with unwavering commitment to the students and with enthusiastic support of the school’s mission.”

    In Murphy’s 28-year career at MUS, he has served as a math teacher in both Upper and Lower Schools, soccer coach, Lower School advisor, and assistant principal of the Upper School in charge of discipline.

    “He knows MUS deeply, from the perspectives of student, alumnus, teacher, administrator, and parent,” Sanders said. “In his professional development of recent years, he has studied operations at other schools and focused on best practices in the classroom and in administration.”
    Murphy earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Rice University, and he began teaching at MUS in 1990. He and his wife, Lisa, have been married 25 years, and their son, Patrick ’16, is a junior at Notre Dame University.
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  • Exam Study Sessions Begin Nov. 26

    Exam study sessions will begin in the Hyde Library Monday, November 26. Running each evening from 6-9 p.m., these sessions are designed to provide MUS students with a quiet and distraction-free setting to complete homework, study for tests and quizzes, and prepare for semester exams. They are proctored by faculty members and will continue throughout exams. The fee for attending is $200. The schedule is as follows:
     
    Monday, November 26, through Thursday, November 29, 6-9 p.m.
    Monday, December 3, through Thursday, December 6, 6-9 p.m.
    Monday, December 10, through Thursday, December 13, 6-9 p.m.
    Monday, December 17, and Tuesday, December 18, 6-9 p.m.

    Please email Director of Counseling Joe Abrahams if you would like to register your son.
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  • Three Owls Honored at TAIS Biennial Awards

    The Tennessee Association of Independent Schools honored three MUS educators during the biennial awards dinner Sunday, November 4, at the Hilton Memphis. The Sawney Webb Award, honoring administrators who have made outstanding contributions to independent-school education, was presented to Headmaster Emeritus Ellis Haguewood and the Hubert Smothers Award, presented to teachers who have evidenced excellence and a deep commitment to the teaching profession, was given to Hyde Library Director Bonnie Barnes and Instructor in Latin Ryan Sellers.
     
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  • Hurst Named School Heisman Winner

    Senior Ethan Hurst, a varsity swimmer, has been named a Wendy’s High School Heisman winner for MUS. Applicants must be athletes in one of the 47 school-sponsored sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games or by the National Federation of State High School Associations. In addition, they must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or greater, and they also must be proven leaders and role models within their school and community.
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  • Ma Wins First Bee Battle

    Last week Mrs. Michelle Crews and Mr. Dax Torrey officiated the first school spelling bee for the year. Approximately 20 students participated, and many competed valiantly, but the final three from this round were eighth grader Kevin Ma, first place; seventh grader Qasim Akbar, second place; and eighth grader Varun Krishnamurthi­­­. Ma took the day by spelling voltaic and munificent. The next round will take place November 14, so stay tuned for updates!
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  • Latin Composition Contest Results

    Seniors Jack Dabov, Call Ford, Ben Gilliland, Bailey Keel, and William Quinlen recently participated in the 2018 SCRIBO Latin Composition Contest, an international creative-writing contest sponsored by the Ascanius Youth Classics Institute. Keel earned a medal for scoring in the top-20 percent of all students in the competition and the Fabula Optima ribbon for having the highest-scoring composition for all Owls. 
     
    To learn more about the contest, go to their website HERE.
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  • Meet French Instructor Elizabeth Howorth

    Mrs. Elizabeth Pounders Howorth joins the faculty as interim instructor in French. During Mrs. Rebecca Keel’s maternity leave, Howorth will teach Honors Accelerated French I, Honors and Honors Accelerated French III, and AP French IV.

    Mrs. Howorth received a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Vanderbilt. She taught French at St. Mary’s from 1997-2002, she served as a Good Morning America consumer trends associate and a media marketing manager for Reuters News, and she was a senior global communications, marketing, and sales advisor for FedEx. Since 2012 she has owned and operated ep communications.
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  • Owl Afternoon College Visits

    We host colleges and universities as they visit our campus and meet one-on-one with our students. Receptions are held in Morgan Foyer of Humphreys Hall after school. The next visits are:
     
    Wednesday, October 31, 2:15 p.m.
    Eckerd College
    Illinois Wesleyan University
    Saint Louis University
    St. Lawrence University
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  • Mid-South Chess Day at MUS Oct. 13

    Mid-South Chess is holding three tournaments in our Campus Center Saturday, October 13, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tournament A is from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Tournament B is 1-3 p.m., and Tournament C is 3-5 p.m. Registration for each is 30 minutes before start time. Register online HERE. For prices and more information click HERE or call (901) 276-4663.
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  • PSAT Testing Oct. 10

    Students in Grades 9-11 will take the PSAT test Wednesday, October 10. They should be well rested and have a good breakfast. The senior class will be in a program with College Counseling during the test period.
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  • Teen Read Week Oct. 9-12

    MUS will celebrate Teen Read Week in the Hyde Library the week of October 9-12. Students are encouraged to check out a book and come by the library for cookies and snacks after lunch on Tuesday and Thursday. Lower School students are encouraged to enter the Battle of the Books contest! 
     
    Reading widely and deeply is a highly effective way to prepare for college and life, so encourage your son to read!
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  • National Merit Commended Owls

    The National Merit Scholarship Program has honored eight Owls with the designation of National Merit Commended Student. Seniors James Blatchford, Call Ford, Kyle Gan, Ben Gilliland, Ethan Lam, Ev Nichol, William Quinlen, and Brandan Roachell are among 34,000 U.S. students honored for their outstanding academic performance on the PSAT.
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  • Owls Named National Merit Semifinalists

    Seniors Eddie Feild, Ethan Hurst, and Hudson Miller have been named Semifinalists in the 64th National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among 16,000 U.S. students honored as Semifinalists for their outstanding academic promise, now competing for some 7,500 scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of those will win Merit Scholar titles and financial awards.
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  • Founders Day at MUS

    In celebrating the 125th anniversary of the founding of Memphis University School, we designate September 13 as Founders Day to commemorate the opening day of the original school in 1893 and to honor the two teachers whose vision brought it to life, James White Sheffey Rhea and Edwin Sidney Werts. 
     
    Rhea, a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College, and Werts, a graduate of the University of Virginia, were experienced young teachers who had become friends and colleagues as instructors at the Knoxville Classical School. Keen to open a prep school of their own, they were advised by an exceptional educational mentor, President of the University of Tennessee Dr. Charles W. Dabney, to consider Memphis as the location. 
     
    An advertisement that appeared May 14, 1893, in the Memphis Appeal-Avalanche announced their school would open in September with the goal being “to prepare boys and young men for Yale, Harvard, Princeton, University of Virginia, and other colleges and universities.”
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  • Library Test Prep Help

    The library invites students to check out a test prep book for the PSAT, ACT, or SAT. The school also subscribes to two online test prep sites. Students can learn more by visiting the library welcome desk.
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  • Writing Center and Study/Help Labs

    The Upper School Writing Center is open Monday-Wednesday from 8:15 a.m. until classes end each day. The center provides support for all types of writing endeavors, so take advantage of this new resource. Upper School math and science labs are listed HERE. Both Upper School resources are located in the Counseling Center.
     
    The schedule for the Lower School English and Math labs is posted in numerous locations throughout the Lower School and HERE.
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  • Bookstore Hours

    If you missed Book Sale this week, Schaeffer Bookstore will be open Monday, August 13, from noon - 2 p.m. for purchasing books, spirit wear, and supplies. After Monday, the bookstore will begin regular hours:
     
    Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 11:15 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
    Wednesday and Friday at 8-9:30 a.m.
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  • Naviance Portal has New Link

    Beginning August 1 Naviance, a resource used in College Counseling, will have a new interface for students and parents. The login credentials will remain the same, and the link has been updated on our website and the College Counseling Resource Board. Students and families will use the following address going forward: student.naviance.com/mus.
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  • Safe Home Pledge

    We encourage parents to sign the Safe Home Pledge. By signing this pledge, parents publicly promise that their sons’ parties and gatherings will be supervised, alcohol-free, drug-free, and tobacco-free, and that they will welcome inquiries from other parents about parties or gatherings. If you wish to make the pledge, please log in and sign on the Safe Home Pledge Resource Board under your Resources tab. You will see the message confirming your submission, but your name may not appear until we update the list at the end of each week. Parents must sign the pledge each new academic year for their names to appear. Thank you for keeping our boys safe!

    The goal of the Safe Home Pledge is to encourage communication throughout our community and to provide your sons an environment in which they are comfortable abstaining from illegal drug and alcohol consumption. The school’s expectation for all MUS parents is that they will support this pledge.

    The Pledge

    As a parent of an MUS student, I agree to support the following general guidelines which have been affirmed by MUS and the MUS Parents’ Association concerning out-of-school activities:
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  • Order of the Owl Inducts 26

    Instructor in English Dax Torrey '94 presided over the 2017-18 Order of the Owl induction May 11, as 26 new members were inducted, and nine eighth graders maintained their membership for a second year.
     
    To be eligible for induction, eighth graders must have a weighted academic average of 90, and seventh graders must have a weighted academic average of 93 for the year. In addition, all inductees must demonstrate excellent citizenship in accordance with the school Honor Code and Community Creed. Second-year Order of the Owl eighth graders are Will Chandler, McRae Dickinson, William Gooch, Edward Grinder, Alex Li, Matthew Mellone, Johnathan Ray, Coleman Whitehead, and Christopher Yarbro. First-year eighth graders are Rithvik Giledi, Evan Jones, Cole Latkovic, Reece Needham, Cole Rutherford, Talal Siddiq, Jack Varner, Porter Webber, and Kollin White.
     
    First-year seventh graders are Jack Blackwell, Vince Boberski, Lewis Butler, Clarence Chapman, Charlie Gamble, Jaxon Hammond, Joseph Keeler, Eli Lewis, Kevin Ma, Parth Mishra, Jackson Oswalt, Thomas Preston, Kyan Ramsay, Morgan Temme, Edward Wilson, Jack Zaptin, and Lou Zhou.
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  • Howell Receives 1693 Scholarship

    The College of William & Mary 1693 Scholars Program has awarded senior Jackson Howell with the prestigious Girton and Bright Families 1693 Scholarship. The college's most selective scholarship program awards extensive benefits, including full tuition, and room and board annually to seven students per year. Finalists typically rank in the top 1 percent of their high school senior class, score a 1,500 or higher on the SAT (Critical Reading plus Math), and take the most demanding high school curriculum available to them.
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  • Loyola University Names Kerkhof Ignatian Scholar

    Senior Brad Kerkhof has earned the New Orleans Ignatian Scholarship for Academic Excellence at Loyola University. Ignatian Scholars receive a full-tuition scholarship and on-campus housing allowance, plus admission into the Honors Program. Scholars must also fulfill specialized service requirements as part of this cohort. Qualified applicants must complete a selective interview, achieve a minimum cumulative 3.5 GPA on a 4-point scale in academic subjects, and earn a minimum 29 ACT composite or minimum 1300 SAT combined score.
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  • Vo Earns QuestBridge College Match

    QuestBridge, a national nonprofit that connects the country’s most exceptional, underserved youth with 40 top-tier colleges and universities, has awarded senior Leon Vo a full, four-year scholarship to attend Colby College. Out of the 15,606 applicants this year, Vo is one of 918 outstanding students selected as a scholarship recipient. QuestBridge winners earned an average unweighted GPA of 3.92, received between 1350-1490 on the SAT and between 29-33 on the ACT, and ranked in the top 10 percent of their class. The scholarships cover the full cost of tuition, room, and board, and they require no parental contribution.
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  • Faculty Induct Nine Springfield Scholars

    Students in the top 10 percent of the eighth-grade class earned the coveted title of Springfield Scholars May 10. The 2017-18 honorees are Simeon Betapudi, Collin Craft, Noah Emmert, Mark Hieatt, Dex Jack, Forest Rudd, Garner Uhlhorn, George Zhang, and Kerry Zhao. During an evening banquet with parents in attendance, teachers selected by each boy offered testimonials, describing their student’s outstanding attributes, plus a few amusing quirks. Springfield Scholars from the Class of 2018, Brad Kerkhof and Rick Reinhard, recalled their own induction as eighth graders and offered words of wisdom regarding Upper School opportunities and challenges ahead. Lower School Principal Clay Smythe ’85 presented each scholar with a commemorative tie, pin, and certificate.
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  • Robert Fudge Wins Distinguished Teaching Award

    Headmaster Pete Sanders has recognized Technical Director of Theater Robert Fudge as the 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award recipient.
     
    The Distinguished Teaching Award is given annually to a faculty member who demonstrates excellence both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. Considered one of the most knowledgeable theater technical directors in the city, Mr. Fudge joined the staff in 2010 and has established a standard of excellence that is manifested every year in the school’s elaborate and beautifully designed stage productions. Known for his quiet professionalism and willingness to go the extra mile, he has also overseen independent study projects, guided students in producing the past three TEDxMemphis events, and expertly managed school and special events held in Hyde Chapel.
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  • Library News

    Students are encouraged to use the free test preparation sites offered by MUS and the Tennessee Electronic Library. Go to http://musowls.libguides.com/onlinelearning for all the choices we offer. From 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. each morning of Underclassman Exams, the Hyde Library will serve breakfast food and drinks to students.
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  • National French Exam Honors

    In chapel this week Instructor in French Becca Keel recognized students for high achievement on Le Grand Concours, the National French Exam. Four students placed in the top-10 rankings in the state: Leo Campbell, 5th place rank in French I; Will Woodmansee, 10th place in French II; and Ryan Gorman, 8th place, and Liam Kaltenborn, 9th place, in French IV.
     
    Madame Keel also recognized these medalists and honorable mention recipients for their achievements:
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  • Admissions Ambassadors Named

    Director of Admissions Peggy Williamson and Assistant Director of Admissions Buck Towner recently announced the 26 sophomores chosen to serve as ambassadors for the coming school year. As official school hosts, they will lead tours of campus for prospective families and help represent MUS at a number of additional events throughout the year.
     
    “We had 42 students apply, so it’s very competitive,” Towner said. “These ambassadors were chosen through an extensive application and interview process and will serve during their junior and senior years.”
     
    The new ambassadors are as follows:
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  • Seniors Honored with Awards

    Fourteen seniors received the following special honors recognizing their academic, artistic, extracurricular, and community service achievements during this school year:
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  • Webb Gift Provides Studio Upgrades

    Thanks to the generosity of Bita and Jim Webb and their son, Jacob Webb ’18, the control room in Bloodworth Studio is now named in honor of the late John Hiltonsmith for his many years of service to the MUS music program. The family’s gift has made possible substantial upgrades in the Hiltonsmith Control Room. The Webbs along with Hiltonsmith’s younger daughter, Julia, and wife, Sherry, were on hand for the dedication on April 23.

    Standing, from left, are Jacob Webb '18, Director of Music Matt Tutor '91, Headmaster Pete Sanders, Bita Webb, Jim Webb, Julia Hiltonsmith, and Sherry Hiltonsmith. 
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  • Students Receive Special Awards

    At the annual Special Awards and Honor Societies Induction, eight students received special honors and collegiate book awards in recognition of scholastic achievement, leadership, and community service, and 172 students joined honor societies. Faculty, MUS alumni, and special guests presented the awards. Special honorees were as follows:
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  • Transitioning to College

    Sewanee administrator Eric Hartman visited campus last week for a presentation to parents and seniors titled, “Managing What’s NOT on the College Tour.” Hartman, vice-president of risk management and institutional effectiveness at the university, offered valuable information and straight answers about the challenges students can face in college and ways parents can help prepare them.
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  • Delegation Honored at YIG

    A number of students received recognition at the Youth in Government Tri-Star Conference held this month in Nashville. Led by co-advisors Jenny Pratt (instructor in French and Spanish) and Davis Smith (instructor in history), 44 boys attended the event. The following honors were awarded:

    Juniors Joshua Blackburn and Wood Davis: Outstanding Bill Team
    Sophomore Arjun Puri: MUS Delegation Award
    Sophomores Jack Fernandez and Vijdan Gill: Supreme Court “Final Case” Team
    Freshmen Harmon Colvett and Fawwaz Omer: Outstanding Novice Supreme Court Brief
    Freshman Griffin Hood: Outstanding Delegate
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  • Mock Trial Team Reaches State

    After five months of hard work and challenging city finals, the Mock Trial Team placed eighth in state competition in Nashville in March. Serving as attorneys for both the plaintiff and defense sides were seniors William Miller and Stan Smythe and sophomore James Smythe. Performing witness roles for both sides were seniors Smith Duncan and Barry Klug and junior Henry Duncan.
     
    “This team made all of us quite proud in four rounds of intense competition,” said team advisor and English Department Chair Elizabeth Crosby. 
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  • 2018-19 Student Leaders Named

    The following Owls were elected to leadership positions for the coming school year: top row, from left, Student Council President - J.J. Johnson; Student Council Vice President - Call Ford; Student Council Secretary-Treasurer - Trey Fussell; Student Council Commissioner of Student Welfare - JoJo Fogarty; bottom row, Honor Council President - Stephen Christenbury; Senior Class President - John Mann; Student Council Commissioner of Student Athletics - Devin Malone; Student Council Commissioner of Special Activities - Reagan Griffin; and Student Council Commissioner of Social Events - Emerson Manley.
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  • National Honor Society Inducts New Members

    Current members of the National Honor Society tapped 32 junior and senior inductees in a schoolwide ceremony March 23 highlighting the organization’s emphasis on scholarship, leadership, character, and service. Four seniors spoke on these Honor Society characteristics.
     
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  • MATHCOUNTS Champs

    Coach Meredith McFarlin's team of eighth graders Alex Li, Samuel Lim, George Zhang, Forest Rudd, Mark Hieatt, and Kerry Zhao, and seventh graders Aaron Barawid and Parth Mishra won the regional MATHCOUNTS championship in early February at Southwest Tennessee Community College. The fearsome foursome of Hieatt, Rudd, Zhang, and Zhao then advanced to conquer the state competitions in March! The national championship in Washington, DC, will begin mid-May.
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  • Challenged Literature Takes Center Stage

    During a chapel program on banned and frequently challenged books, Chair of the English Department Elizabeth Crosby listed some surprising titles that have fallen into that category at one time or another – Where the Wild Things Are, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Winnie the Pooh, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Odyssey, The Canterbury Tales, The Red Pony, and many other classics.
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  • Science Teachers Partner with Rhodes College

    As partners for Rhodes College’s Collaborative Chemistry Communities course this semester, MUS science instructors are working with Rhodes college science majors and providing them the opportunity for experiential learning by giving them teaching time in our classrooms. The Rhodes students are getting invaluable experience in high school science pedagogy and the dynamics of different classroom environments, interacting with our students and drawing from our faculty members’ experience teaching boys.
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  • Upper School Class Registration

    Registration for 2018-19 Upper School classes will begin in February. Each student in Grades 8-11 will receive a registration form that he should complete in consultation with a parent and bring back to school with a parent’s signature. Next, each student will meet with a registration counselor to discuss and finalize course requests. Registration should conclude in April.
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  • Rogers Leadership Forum, Jan. 19

    MUS will host Mr. Anthony M. Flynn during our annual Rogers Leadership Forum for students January 19. Flynn is founder of The Gifted Education Foundation and author of “The Execution Pipeline: A Step-by-Step Guide to Moving Your Business Idea from Dream to Reality.”
     
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