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MC Partners with Saint Augustine School to Offer College-level Math Course to Qualified Students

Dr. Blake Thompson, left, MC president, and Dr. David L. Herndon, Saint Augustine School headmaster, sign the dual enrollment agreement June 30.
Dr. Blake Thompson, left, MC president, and Dr. David L. Herndon, Saint Augustine School headmaster, sign the dual enrollment agreement June 30.

A dual enrollment agreement between Mississippi College and Saint Augustine School has set the stage for qualified students at the classical Christian K-12 institution to attend a college-level mathematics class and receive corresponding collegiate credit as part of their instruction at the Ridgeland school.

Dr. Blake Thompson, MC president, and Dr. David L. Herndon, Saint Augustine School headmaster, signed a formal memorandum of understanding June 30 that cements the partnership. It will guarantee the academic rigor of the coursework required in the class will match the quality offered at MC.

According to the agreement, MC will ensure appropriate faculty qualifications for those who provide instruction for the dual enrollment course. The teacher will have the same academic credentials and/or professional experience required of any member of the MC faculty.

The agreement covers mathematics and English coursework up to 27 total credit hours. St. Augustine School will offer a three-hour dual-credit college algebra course this fall, with the potential for additional math and English classes in the future.

Saint Augustine School is the sixth educational institution to sign a MOU with MC to provide college-level classes at their respective schools. Mississippi College has similar agreements with Clinton High School, Jackson Preparatory School, Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Tupelo Christian Preparatory School, and Saint Joseph Catholic School in Madison.

Thompson said the agreements help strengthen MC’s efforts to attract top academic talent locally.

“Through these agreements with mission-minded institutions, we’re creating a pipeline program for MC,” he said. “Offering college-level classes to high school students strengthens their high school experience and perhaps piques their interest in attending Mississippi College after they graduate.”

Michael Wright, dean of enrollment services at MC, said the agreement will allow students at Saint Augustine School to start earning college credits while simultaneously fulfilling requirements for their high school diploma.

“By partnering with like-minded schools like Saint Augustine School, MC is able to offer college-level courses to mission-fit students at a bargain price,” Wright said. “That’s a really good deal for families of these students who are trying to navigate how to afford college.”

Herndon said Saint Augustine School was seeking to partner with a higher education institution that closely aligned with his school’s vision for its students.

“MC is a great fit because we believe there is much missional overlap between the two educational communities,” Herndon said. “Additionally, we have a large percentage of our graduates attending classes and thriving in the like-minded Christian culture MC has established.

“In addition to all the practical skills and wonderful life lessons we learn from studying math, our students will earn a full credit towards both their high school diploma and college transcript. Hosting this class on campus affords us great flexibility to seamlessly merge its content and scope within our schedule and model, allowing students the opportunity to earn college credit during school hours without having to leave campus.”

Kayton Barnes, a 2014 MC graduate, will teach the algebra class at Saint Augustine School this fall. She is a former adjunct professor of mathematics at MC who has also taught college prep algebra at Jackson Prep.

“Mrs. Barnes is a highly decorated educator in the field of mathematics, and we are greatly blessed to have her as part of our faculty,” Herndon said. “She has years of experience teaching math, working with curriculum, and training other teachers.

“Even more importantly to us, she loves Jesus and will intentionally cultivate virtue in our students and train them to love God’s truth, goodness, and beauty that we discover through the exploration of mathematics.”

Wright said Barnes has the full support of the Department of Mathematics at MC.

“Kayton is highly thought of by our Department of Mathematics faculty,” he said. “The chairs of the Mathematics Department and the English Department work directly with the teachers of these courses, who have been fully trained, have the necessary credit hours, and are deemed worthy of providing college-level instruction. The majority of these teachers are MC graduates, alumni who our professors have taught and have signed off on.

Herndon said in time that he would like to see Saint Augustine School increase the number of college-level classes it offers.

“We are very interested in discussing the expansion of this agreement and look forward to a long-term partnership with MC,” he said.

Incorporated in 2013, Saint Augustine School is a nontraditional, collaborative-model, classical education school. Its stated mission is to cultivate excellence, wisdom, and joy by assisting parents in the education of their children, so they may grow into a thorough understanding of God’s truth, goodness, and beauty.

The oldest institution of higher education in the state and the second-oldest Baptist-affiliated college in the country, Mississippi College is committed to excellence and innovation in teaching and learning. Its vision is to be known as a university recognized for academic excellence and commitment to the cause of Christ.