Mt Hood Center Academy is an independent day school providing top-tier, K-8 education for prospective students of Boring, Sandy, Gresham and the greater Portland metro area. At MHCA, we cultivate an engaging and active environment full of innovative spaces and opportunities for experiential learning. We are proud to offer your child a challenging curriculum that incorporates equine education, Spanish dual-language studies, debate, wellness & nutrition, and more. Our 18 acre campus supports year-round activities, programs, events, and celebrations for your child. To serve as a partner between a child's education and their family, MHCA teachers and staff build transformative relationships with each student by encouraging creative solutions, promoting collaboration, welcoming questions, and exploring each child's innate capacities. At MHCA, we value effort, creativity, compassion, and using one's skills to contribute back to their community.
Our Farm to Table program is the study of agricultural practices in the Pacific Northwest through experiential activities integrating science principles with local opportunities. The goal of this program is for students to developing an understanding, awareness, and appreciation for the food networks that they rely upon. With a greater understanding of food networks and farming, our students can make educated decisions regarding diet and food sources. The program progresses through the school year following these 5 topics:
Food Systems: The food system begins on the farm and ends at the dining table. It includes agricultural production, food processing and distribution, and consumption and nutrition.
Agriculture: The historic and current agricultural practices of the world.
Nutrition: Learning about the macronutrients in food, feeding livestock, and dietary choices.
Gardening: The basics of growing food from seed, nutrient & fertilizer management, and basic farming technology.
Cooking: Students will learn the fundamentals of cooking - including food preparation, storage, seasonal changes, and basic cooking techniques.
Students will learn basic tenets and instruction about debate skills, hold mock debates with Instructor moderation and engagement. This debate program will have an emphasis on discourse and supported positions. Your child will learn to analyze topics, discern relevant information, formulate a position, and then defend that position with logic and reason. The goal of this program is to provide students with the verbal and expository tools to debate a founded position.
This is a 3rd to 8th grade program
Understanding the history of our country and its documents is paramount to being a productive citizen. Only through education and increased awareness can young minds begin to properly understand and navigate their rights as an American citizen. We believe this knowledge is foundational in an individual’s understanding of their own freedoms and choices, as well as the freedoms of those around them. To that end, MHCA students will learn about the following:
- The Bill of Rights
- The US Constitution
- The history of amendments
- How the constitution affects the world today
- How to include those that have been excluded from the constitution
MHC Academy's Spanish program is integrated into all areas of the curriculum. All classroom teachers are bilingual with the goal of students learning conversational and functional Spanish. By integrating Spanish lessons into our general curricula, students are provided with ample lingual exposure that aids in you child's familiarity with speaking and listening in another language. Our philosophy is that students should be fully prepared to participate in local agriculture and other areas of life, which requires more than conversational Spanish.
Beginner students will learn how to greet someone in Spanish - including related manners and gestures, how to introduce themselves or others by name, numbers, the alphabet, colors, animals, descriptive terminology, adjectives, nouns, verbs, reflexive verbs, and weekly farm-to-table vocabulary.
Intermediate students will additionally learn how to identify and compare details on familiar topics, how to identify and express emotions, weather terminology, comparative adjectives, conjunctions, and more in depth instruction on reading, writing and functional Spanish.
Relevant cultural lessons will also be included along with the language. Cultural lessons can range from far away places to equine related Spanish speaking communities and local Pacific Northwest Spanish-speaking communities.
Instruction in test taking is important to ensure a smooth transition from middle school to high school as well as ability to take proficiency exams usually tested in the lower grades. Additionally, the study skills necessary to perform well on tests are universally applicable and beneficial in many facets of life.
Our goal is to have students become comfortable with various testing models - by providing them the tools and methods best suited for learning and recalling tested material. Students in grades 3-5 will have 2 weeks of targeted instruction while the middle school students will have 3 weeks.
Wellness and nutrition is a facet of our farm to table program. As an equine based school, it is not only important that our students know how to properly care for their horse, but also how to care for their own bodies. The goal of this program is to provide students with all the knowledge necessary to make conscious, healthy choices in their daily activity and nutrition.
Horsemanship is an all-encompassing learning experience led by local trainer Stacey Riggs of Riggs Horsemanship. Students who may or may not have ever been on a horse are taught so much more than just how to ride. They learn all aspects of horse care, stable maintenance, grooming and riding. Our goal is to have the student learn all facets of how to care for and enjoy any horse.
Fundamental skills each student will learn include:
- Mounting: In order to ride a horse, each student must know how to get on a horse! Students will be taught how to correctly and safely mount and dismount a horse.
- Balance and Control: Sudents will next learn how to develop their seat and center of balance after they've mastered mounting. One of the most important parts of developing balance and harmony with any horse is learning how to "post." Posting is sitting and rising with the two-beat rhythm of a trotting horse to allow the student to move in harmony with their horse.
- Stopping and Steering: Once students have developed their balance, they'll be taught to stop and steer a horse using verbal commands and physical signals. Stopping and steering are essential to learning correct and safe riding.
- The Aids: Once students have developed their seat and have learned to sop and steer, they will learn four physical aids to communicate with the horse. These four aids include the seat (weight), the legs, the hands, and the voice of the student. After learning the aids the students will apply these physical pressures when asking their horse to walk, trot, canter, and halt.
All students will participate in widening their minds to the greater world culture at large with this unique perspective. They will learn about different world cultures through exposure to celebrations in timing they are held in each culture. For example, October is Indigenous People month and information regarding this culture will be incorporated into the World Cultures Curriculum for that month.
Our goal is to expand the cultural and social awareness of our students so that they may approach life from a broader perspective - taking into account the various cultures and traditions that exist in the U.S. and abroad.
Friday mornings are an all class (K-8) activity, usually in the main arena where MHC Academy hosts community members to learn about different careers and hobbies. These assemblies provide an opportunity to educate our entire student body on enriching topics with the occasional involvement of local experts, distinguished members of various communities, and/or guest speakers.
2020-2021 school year experiences included learning about the care of goats, llamas, and horses, berry farming, barrel racing, and horsemanship from experts such as Buck Brannaman, international horse and rider training expert, and Mark and Lee Bolender.