James Madison Preparatory School opened its doors in the fall of 2000. Fifty-three students showed up on the first day, a tree was planted, and Madison Prep became real. JMPS had received its charter from the State Charter Board a year earlier, having received the highest score ever given for a charter school application up to that time. The first year only 9th, 10th, and 11th graders populated the campus, but by Year Two, the school had grown to include 7th, 8th, and 12th graders, too.
Over the years the mission of the school has not changed, but the student population has gradually changed as the reputation of the school as an academically serious, character building institution has grown. More and more families choose James Madison for these qualities. The more students who are interested in challenging academics and solid personal character join the school, the closer the school comes to its original vision, which was conceived and developed by David and Stephen Batchelder, brothers from Minnesota. The vision the Batchelder brothers were aiming for at James Madison – and still are – is a Midwestern, traditional education from about 50 years ago, with some positive modern influences sprinkled in.
The first graduating class at James Madison Preparatory School was the Class of 2002. There were four graduates that year. The largest graduating class was the most recent, the Class of 2010, which had 21 graduates in it. Students who make it all the way through to graduation at Madison Prep are people who have proven themselves to be scholars and solid citizens, ready to embark on the world, and imminently ready to take on college life.
The JMPS Graduate:
The James Madison Preparatory School graduate will have a broad educational foundation from which to work. This will serve him/her well no matter if the next step is college, work, the military, or starting a business.
This educational foundation will be comprehensive, with the graduate able to understand and speak intelligently about such diverse topics as the Civil War, Shakespeare, basic automotive repair, cell mitosis, the French Revolution, quadratic equations, résumé writing, fascism, Walt Whitman, the Punic Wars, macroeconomics, Greek mythology, Buddhism, Plato, the rules of punctuation, Euclidean geometry, Nathan Hale, investment strategies, Michelangelo, the Federalist Papers, Charlemagne, table manners, D-Day, Charles Dickens, Bach, the methods used for mineral identification, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the battle of the Marne, and Watergate.
And this is just the beginning. The bright future of the Madison Prep Grad is truly exciting. The James Madison Preparatory School graduate will be an educated person reminiscent of the educated person of 100 years ago: well-versed in the classic subjects, but always ready to handle the practical challenges of everyday life. And to be well-educated is to be more fully human. As Aristotle said, “The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.” James Madison Preparatory School graduates will be able to reach higher and go further, because the foundation from which they spring will be wider, taller, and more complete.