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Murray High School

​​​Specialty Centers:
Murray High School

Murray High School was founded as a nontraditional high school in 1988 and converted to a charter school in 2001. With an emphasis on the arts and design, mastery learning, and student choice, the mission of Murray High School is serve students who want to maximize intellectual and creative potential, in ways that may not be possible in a traditional comprehensive high school setting. In July 2018, Murray High School became the first public school in Virginia to join the Mastery Transcript Consortium.​

Murray High offers courses needed to fulfill the requirements to earn either a Standard Diploma or Advanced Studies Diploma. Murray students are encouraged to enrich their high school program through dual credit courses at PVCC, CATEC courses, senior internships, and independent studies.

Murray High School, 1200 Forest Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903
Phone: 434-296-3090 • Fax: 434-979-6479 •


Standards of Learning
* SOL Test required

The English curriculum at Murray High includes a multi-grade, thematic approach. Both the Albemarle County curriculum and the Virginia Standards of Learning are included in the curriculum that emphasizes the continuous development and improvement of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Courses are open to multi-grade levels, and students receive the appropriate level of English credit.

  • English 9
  • English 10
  • English 11*
  • English 12
  • English Literature & Composition, Advanced Placement


Standards of Learning
* SOL Test required
  • Study Skills Math/Algebra Lab — Preparation for Algebra I
  • Algebra I*
    Prerequisites: 8th grade Math and/or teacher recommendation
  • Geometry*
    Prerequisite: Algebra I
  • Algebra II*
    Prerequisite: Algebra I
  • Algebra Functions, and Data Analysis (AFDA)
    Prerequisite: Algebra I
  • Algebra II/Trigonometry
    Prerequisite: Algebra II, Geometry
  • IB Math: Analysis and Approaches
    Prerequisite: Honors Math Analysis/Precalculus
  • Math Analysis
    Prerequsite: Algebra II, Geometry, Trig

Social Studies

Standards of Learning
* SOL Test required

The social studies curriculum is based on the Virginia Standards of Learning and incorporates project-based and inquiry-based instruction. The social studies courses at Murray High School may include but are not limited to the following:

  • World History II from 1500 to Present*
  • World Geography*
  • Virginia and U.S. History*
  • Virginia and U.S. Government
    This course requires that each student complete 10 hours of community service.

World Languages

The main purpose of studying a world language is to understand and communicate with peoples of different nationalities and ethnic groups and to appreciate their contributions to the development of our own nation and culture. The world languages offered at Murray consist of Spanish I, II, III, and IV


The science curriculum is based on the Virginia SOL’s and includes a project-based, inquiry-based approach. The science courses at Murray include but are not limited to the following:

Standards of Learning
* SOL Test required
  • Earth Science*
  • Biology*
  • Oceanography
  • Chemistry*
  • Physics
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Ecology

Fine Arts

These courses are designed to stimulate creativity, develop critical thinking skills, impart technical knowledge, and expand expressive skills through a wide variety of developmental experiences in the arts.

  • Visual Arts - Art: Art I-IV
    Drawing, painting, multimedia crafts, and sculpture are included.
  • Visual Arts - Publishing and More: Creative Writing I and II
    ​This course is designed for students with special interest in writing original poetry, short stories, essays, scripts, and novels. Strategies, style and techniques used by successful authors are studied. The course requires independent study, teacher-student conferences, group discussions, and sharing of work.

Career and Technical Education

  • Design 1 and 2
    This is a foundational design theory course that introduces students to a variety of tools that focuses specifically on the nature of design and aesthetic appeal. Students will identify the specific needs of worldly concern or a customer, generate concepts, pitch ideas, and create physical or digital prototypes for evaluation. Students may interact with a variety of problems or iterate a few designs based on the needs of the class. (CTE Code: 8425)
  • Design Thinking
    This course provides an introduction to design thinking, problem seeking, ideation techniques and strategies, creative cognition theories, creative intelligence, and the methodologies embedded in the design thinking process. (Local Code: 9097)
  • Audio Production 1 and 2
    Students enrolled in this course develop a foundational understanding of sound and how to capture it in a digital form. Students will learn the fundamentals of audio recording and editing, including hardware identification, terminology, and standard recording techniques. Working independently and in mixed-skill groups, they will produce original work in digital formats such as music, broadcast journalism, and creative prose. Students in this class are not required to have any prior experience with music or audio production. (CTE Code: 8120)

Health and Physical Education

Classes are scheduled by semester so that the health and the physical education components occur and are graded separately. Students may elect to complete their two required semesters of health and/or physical education in the same year.

  • Physical Education I-II (.5 credit each)
    Involves the study of and participation in a variety of physical activities.
  • Health Education I (.5 credit)
    Areas of study include nutrition, diseases, first aid, and family life.
  • Health Education II (.5 credit)
    Areas of study include: substance abuse, driver education, mental health, and family life.
  • Weight Lifting I-IV
  • Advanced PE/Elective (offered based on student interests and needs.)
  • Fitness Instructor (1 credit)
    The purpose of the Fitness Instructor elective course is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to become certified in personal training, strength and physical conditioning, group fitness, or in other health fitness specialty areas. Students will learn to develop individualized programs with goals that are based on a variety of factors that affect one’s overall health, to include genetic and chronic health conditions, sports injuries, age and gender, level of fitness, and lifestyle factors. Students will gain knowledge and skills to help improve posture, movement, flexibility, balance, core function, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscular endurance and strength. Students will learn a variety of business skills, to include effective communication, leadership skills, marketing strategies, consumer advocacy, résumé writing, and interviewing skills. Students will also earn a certification in CPR and AED.
  • Dance Production/Improvisation / PED 161/167 (1 credit; 4 dual enrollment college credits with PVCC)
    Students in this course will focus on creating a dance performance. Teaches the basic skills in creating and producing a dance. Includes lighting, costumes, music, and choreography. Additionally, students will explore the creation of spontaneous movement experiences with emphasis on self-expression and creature awareness. Includes improvisational techniques utilizing body awareness, use of the environment, and group dynamics.

Outdoor Adventure and Leadership

Outdoor Adventure and Leadership is a new, immersion-style course designed to complement and expand experiential learning opportunities. The purpose of the course is to (1) have fun; (2) build group trust through teambuilding activities and creating a sense of community; (3) enhance communication skills by becoming active listeners and using empowering language; (4) challenge old behaviors and introduce new choices of how to be with each other through applying Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory; (5) develop problem-solving skills through individual and group initiatives; (6) identify students’ needs and strengths and incorporate those into planning activities; (7) utilize organizational skills and communication skills in planning activities; (8) apply understanding of proper nutrition by planning balanced meals for the overnight backpack experience; (9) improve overall fitness by engaging in activities involving strength, flexibility, motor coordination, and cardio-vascular conditioning; (10) increase awareness of opportunities for recreation and leisure activities available in the local community; (11) improve self-confidence by learning the individual edge of one’s comfort zone and then challenging oneself in the most authentic, meaningful way; and (12) increase awareness about environmental impact and learn low impact methods of camping.

Driver’s Education

  • Part I Classroom
    During the sophomore year, the 36-hour driver’s education classroom instruction component is provided as a part of the Health II curriculum. Students are cautioned not to be absent during this 6-week period, as excuses from parents and doctors do not exempt one from the DMV requirement for classroom instruction.
  • Part II Behind-the-Wheel
    Students should be scheduled for Behind-the-Wheel training around 16 years of age. Murray High School does not offer Behind-the-Wheel training. Students are encouraged to sign up at their base school for this portion of driver’s education. (See page 48 for more information.)

Special Education Programs

The Special Education Program is provided for students who have been identified with a disability and found eligible for special education services. Assistance is provided using various levels of service including consultation/ monitor, collaboration, and resource classes.

  • Consultation/Monitor (Non-Credit)
    The special education teacher offers support to students in mainstream classes through consultation with regular education teachers to monitor student performance and to give direct assistance on an as-needed basis.
  • Study/Organizational Skills (1 credit)
    Students are supported in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, language, and vocabulary. They will investigate effective methods of studying in order to improve their academic performance. A percentage of class time is devoted to applying these skills to core subjects.

Additional Offerings to Fulfill Graduation Requirements

    Students apply to, meet requirements for admission to, and attend programs of their interest at the Charlottesville- Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC). Learn more about CATEC offerings »
  • Leadership
    Leadership courses are offered as electives. These courses may focus on understanding personal leadership through the study of issues related to social justice or on school leadership issues. See the History/Social Sciences section for full course description.
  • Courses Through PVCC
    Seniors are encouraged to take courses offered at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC). A three-hour college class is equal to a .5 high school credit. Placement testing and assistance with PVCC registration are available at Murray in the guidance office.
  • Independent Study
    Prerequisite: Proposal approval. Proposal information is available in the school counseling office.
    1 Credit or .5 Credit per semester
    Independent study provides the opportunity for students to investigate a topic of personal interest that is outside the scope of current course offerings. Mentors for independent study can be faculty from the school or community members.
  • Internship Program
    An application procedure is required.
    1-2 Credits
    All Students are encouraged to participate in a senior internship program. Students work with professionals in the community as interns in jobs related to career objectives. Typical internships include the areas of medicine, law, architecture, engineering, computer science, veterinary medicine, education, public relations, journalism, management, accounting, and finance.
  • Economics and Personal Finance
    The Economics and Personal Finance class is offered to fulfill the graduation requirement. Students learn how to navigate the financial decisions they must face and to make informed decisions. Development of financial literacy skills and an understanding of economic principles will provide the basis for responsible citizenship and career success. Students also will explore entrepreneurship as they learn the skills needed to plan, organize, manage and finance a small business. This course also is offered in multiple formats, including virtual and dual enrollment through PVCC.
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