Head’s Message: A Day in The Life

by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hosting Anthony T.  as head of school for the day. It was a great experience for both of us. We began by greeting students and parents at the south entrance of the school, which I shared was my favorite part of my day. He sat in on several meetings with senior administrators, toured the campus, and reviewed architectural drawings of the new Makerspace. He even chose the carpeting for the space! We also inspected the new roof and the solar panels. At one point, he asked me directly, “What exactly does a head of school do?” Good question, Anthony!

It is often difficult to describe my role to others. I sometimes equate it to being a superintendent of a public school district. As chief academic officer, it is my responsibility to stay abreast of emerging research on learning and developing curriculum to meet the needs of students. But being the head of school is different than leading a public school district. For example, it can be a unique challenge to lead a school with three divisions under one roof. The academic, social, emotional needs of students, teachers, and parents are very distinct.

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Posted: April 20, 2017 at 4:23 PM in:  All School, Head's Message

Erin Quam ’17 Honored With Athena Award

Erin Quam is one of 30 senior female students from St. Paul area high schools selected as Athena Athletes for their dedication and excellence in sports. All of the Athena Award recipients were honored at a luncheon on Wednesday, April 19 at the Envision Center in Oakdale.

Erin was chosen for her accomplishments in Cross Country, Nordic Skiing and Track & Field earning 12 varsity letters. She has been selected captain in Nordic and Cross Country, and has earned All-Conference awards in Nordic Ski and Track. Erin was also a member of two Independent Metro Athletic Conference (IMAC) championship teams in Nordic Skiing.

Congratulations Erin!

Posted: April 20, 2017 at 9:03 AM in:  Athletics

Stephanie Eyerly-Webb, Ph.D., ’03: An MPA “Lifer” Dedicated to Saving Lives

As a Lower School student, some of Stephanie Eyerly’s favorite MPA moments were watching Upper School kids showcase their annual science contests, such as egg dropping, “flinking,” and building bridges. “This turned me on to science at an early age, and I looked forward to being able to do those projects myself, once I reached Upper School.” Science and math were some of her favorite subjects, and she credits teachers like Mr. Schwieger, Mr. Jensen, Mr. Shapiro, and Ms. Anderson with energizing her with great ideas and classroom projects.

Beyond academics, Stephanie fondly remembers the Girls Soccer program, coached by Mr. Scinto and Mr. Greimel. It had great impact to be part of “a tight group of girls who accomplished some big goals” that they set for themselves. She remains close friends with many teammates, despite the years and distance from her days at MPA.

After graduating from MPA, Stephanie attended Cornell, drawn by their Veterinary Medicine program. A daughter of two engineers (one at 3M and one at Medtronic, at the time), she majored in Biological and Environmental Engineering and found she loved the problem-solving mindset of being an engineer. Stephanie went on to study Biomedical Engineering at Duke University, obtaining a Masters and Ph.D. She explained, “BME is a very applied engineering field that leans heavily on biology,” which is why it was such a good fit for someone who also loves science. And Duke was perfect, since they not only have a great engineering school, but one of the top medical schools with great hospitals for working with physicians.

Stephanie “caught the research bug” at Duke when she became deeply engaged in an intriguing project. During cardiac ablation procedures, there’s no way to see the heart tissue. Stephanie helped develop an imaging solution, where ultrasound could be used to measure tissue elasticity. This translates into a physician’s ability to virtually “see” ablation lesions.  “I was very lucky,” she says, “since I saw the project go from tabletop to animal models and then to first-in-human trials.” As a research scholar, this is a unique occurrence, sealing her commitment to the field of clinical research.

While at Duke, Stephanie met her husband, who was in a Behavioral Science PhD. program. They are both highly career driven, but her research degree made her more versatile—providing there is a major hospital nearby—so they followed Stuart teaching career to the Miami area, which is where they now live.

Stephanie currently works for Memorial Healthcare System, a large community hospital. Her job is to advise doctors of all kinds—pediatricians, cardiologists, trauma physicians, infectious disease specialists—who want to develop their own clinical research. Stephanie, because of her knowledge, experience, innate curiosity, infectious enthusiasm and tenacity, helps doctors set up protocols necessary to move their work forward.

Stephanie’s personal goal is to help improve human health and, specifically, “change at least one thing about how medicine is practiced.” This is a major challenge for any bright health care leader, but if anyone can do it, we have faith that Stephanie can and will.

Today, Stephanie and her husband, Stuart, live in Coral Gables, Florida. They welcomed their first child, Phineas “Phin” James Webb on February 27.

Posted: April 20, 2017 at 7:40 AM in:  All School, Alumni

Student-Teacher Collaboration at the Heart

Mounds Park Academy fosters innovative teaching that fuels creative thinking and sparks a passion for learning. Every day MPA teachers are creating active and engaging learning opportunities with real-world implications, emphasizing critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and deep understanding over rote memorization. Every opportunity is maximized to allow students to explore, create, and express their ideas in ways that build on their inherent motivation and self-direction.

Examples of student-directed learning abound at MPA in small and large ways, from allowing students to choose a topic to demonstrate what they’ve learned to engaging them in designing an entire unit. Our teachers love uncovering new and innovative ways to include students in the learning process, guiding them to take ownership for their academic and intellectual development.

Student-Designed Unit a Resounding Success

After teaching in a large urban school district, Middle School history teacher George Dalbo appreciates the comparative flexibility that MPA offers him; he feels that state standards and testing can limit the flexibility of public school teachers.

Earlier this year Dalbo offered an entirely student-driven unit on South Asia. When he initially considered having the students involved in structuring the unit, Dalbo thought that he would simply host a focus group and those students would present ideas to the class. But every student wanted to be involved.

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Posted: April 15, 2017 at 4:37 PM in:  All School, Middle School

Get to Know a Kindergartner

A Q & A With Maahi, MPA Class of 2029

When did you come to MPA and what was the transition like?

I came to MPA … I’m going to say I did it when I was almost … Umm, I don’t remember. Okay, just before the first part of the year. I came in September. For kindergarten. It felt like fun here. When I was in PreK, I cried. Here I didn’t cry because I thought it was a pretty good place.

If you met someone who was unfamiliar With MPA, what would you tell them about our school?

There are so many fun things to do. We have pajama day and we celebrate really cool things about your birthday and there are so many amazing classes. It’s like a party. Kindergarten is so fun. The teachers are nice and tell you that it’s okay to make an accident. You know, you don’t have to do it perfectly.

What is your favorite MPA memory?

My favorite school memory is going outside and feeling how the weather is. And then I also love staying inside and doing beautiful artwork. And some of my favorite memories are in the Monday Morning Meetings … to find out who won the CHAMP awards. And if Mrs. Wright says a kindergartner, it’s so exciting! Continue reading

Posted: April 15, 2017 at 3:23 PM in:  All School, Lower School

Lower School Art and Music Show

Wednesday night’s Lower School Art and Music Show: Plant, Nurture, Grow, was a stunning celebration of our little ones. After proudly describing each piece of artwork to their families, students performed with confidence. Freethinking was woven throughout as they improvised, embellished, and interpreted the music. Bravo! Click here to see pictures of this event.

Posted: April 14, 2017 at 10:22 AM in:  Fine Arts, Lower School, Uncategorized

Sharing The Team Sport of Science

by Caitlyn Fick, Scripps College Chemistry Major
Since I was in fourth grade, I have been interested in the way that science can explain the natural phenomena that take place around us on a daily basis. In college, I have had the opportunity to conduct my own chemical research, actualizing my elementary school dreams, and presented my research at the American Chemical Society Conference in April.

I am so excited to share my love for science with MPA students this summer by teaching the following Enrichment Classes: “Chemistry And The World Around Us,” “Fun With Ecology and Biology,” and “Hands-on Science Ecology Fun.” Science promotes curiosity, a skill that most children have, teamwork, and introduces new ways to problem solve. In my classes, my students will not only be learning scientific concepts, but also that science is a team sport and that, as a scientist, they need to be open-minded when new ideas are presented to them. Lastly, I hope to instill the idea that science is FUN! Getting to do chemical experiments and work outside in the soil will ground students in the idea that science is everywhere and can do some pretty cool things.

Posted: April 13, 2017 at 3:15 PM in:  Uncategorized

Tickets Now Available for the Spring Musical!

The MPA Theatre Department invites you to attend Pippin on April 27, 28, and 29 at 7 PM in the Nicholson Center. Led by the charismatic Leading Player, the cast will tell the story of Pippin, a young prince who longs to find passion and adventure in his life. Pippin struggles to decide whether he should settle down and pursue a peaceful life or continue to make magic with the dazzling troupe of performers. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors, and $10 for adults, and can be purchased here.

Posted: April 13, 2017 at 3:14 PM in:  Fine Arts, Uncategorized

Head’s Message: Be Prepared

by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

One of the reasons I love education is that it is unpredictable. Unpredictability is a given when working with children, especially 480 of them! The unexpected hugs from kindergarteners, a sense of accomplishment radiating on the face of a student after a performance, or helping solve a printing problem for an Upper School student who is running late for class, make work enjoyable and rewarding. On the other hand, surprises can be a challenge, perhaps even threatening, and sometimes require a great deal of acumen and attention to successfully address. Yesterday’s discovery of a case of whooping cough in the Upper School was certainly a surprise (see notice here), but I was proud of our school’s immediate response, relying on the experience of administrators and staff members coupled with an excellent crisis communication plan. Continue reading

Posted: April 13, 2017 at 10:16 AM in:  All School, Head's Message

MPA Swimmers Compete in CAA Championships

Mounds Park Academy swimmers were stars at the CAA Championship Swim Meet this week at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. The 22 MPA swimmers ranged in age from first through eighth grade, and competed in 26 individual events and five relays. Many swimmers placed among the top six in events, and two Lower School students swam their way to first place finishes! To see photos of the swim team in action, click here. Go Panthers!

Posted: April 7, 2017 at 2:14 PM in:  Athletics