All MPA Upper School students are eligible to work toward a single Certificate of Distinction in one of four areas: Fine Arts, Global, STEM, or Literary Arts.

We believe exposure to a variety of subject matter, disciplines, and experiences creates independent, critical thinkers who are able to problem solve with more tools at their disposal. We also recognize, however, that some students have a passion within a discipline that drives them. For these students, the Certificates of Distinction Program recognizes that passion while staying committed to a balanced education. It was designed with the belief that Upper School students can be architects of their education.

We expect and encourage students to explore as many courses in a variety of areas in ninth and tenth grades. This is a time to discover new interests and skills that may lead to a focused passion. Since all requirements must be met by spring of senior year to receive a Certificate of Distinction, we suggest students make a decision to pursue the certificate by their junior year. Portfolio building may begin after ninth grade.

Students who are interested in a Certificate of Distinction should first discuss their plans with a teacher within the certificate area: potential Global scholars should approach a world language or social studies teacher; Fine Arts scholars should approach a fine arts teacher; STEM scholars should approach a science or math teacher; and Literary Arts scholars should approach a language or literature teacher. The packet includes all requirements, forms, and information to guide students through the process of achieving a Certificate of Distinction.

This program is designed for passionate students who want to take on additional work and independence beyond an already-rigorous education. Though each Certificate of Distinction has its own requirements, each focuses on four areas: Academics, Service, Experience, and Enrichment. Significant time, work, skill, and internal motivation is needed for this program, which encourages students to show initiative, take responsibility, and show leadership through managing and documenting their experiences.