Safety and Security at MPA
MPA is committed to sustaining a safe, secure, nurturing school community where students are known, respected, and loved. At MPA, any conversation about safety and security must begin with, and be grounded in, our school's mission and culture.
Culture at MPA
Conflict resolution, character education, and positive interpersonal relationship skills are all important topics taught at MPA that directly contribute to our positive school culture. They are manifested within our MPA community in a multitude of ways.
Social-emotional support, mental health education, and small class sizes enable students to have confidence that our community cares for them as individuals. With a student-teacher ratio of 7:1, it is nearly impossible for any student to fall through the cracks at MPA.
Students are known and understood by many, if not all, of the more than 125 adults on campus who provide guidance and support, helping students balance the many facets of an MPA education. MPA's dedicated mental health team includes an Upper School counselor, a Middle School counselor, a Lower School counselor, and a school psychologist. For more information about this important topic, click here to visit the Mental Health Resources page.
MPA students are not only affirmed and supported by faculty and staff, but also by their peers within the MPA student body. With age-appropriate character education programs at each division level, students aren't just brilliant, they're kind and joyful. All students—including those from different grades and even different divisions—look out for one another, providing support, friendship and mentorship.
At MPA, access to the building is limited. The south entrance is locked throughout the day unless an administrator is at the door. To enter through the south entrance, visitors must identify themselves through video monitor before being buzzed into the building. The north entrance is also locked during the day and monitored closely. It is open after school for activities, during which the desk attendant is present just inside the doors. All other exterior doors are locked at all times.
The entire campus is monitored by video cameras placed strategically throughout the exterior and interior of the building. Teachers and staff monitor areas such as hallways, cafeterias, and the playground and far more than the recommended ratio of adults to students is maintained at all times.
A protocol is in place for guests and visitors to sign in at both the north and south entrances and they are required to wear a badge while in the building. Current parents are expected to wear badges while on campus.
Active Shooter Response Training
Despite the unlikelihood of a school shooting, the frequency and the media coverage of such occurrences have parents and educators alike very concerned. Tragic as it is, it is important to note that less than one percent of violent deaths are "school associated," yet such instances do indeed feed the fears of parents and educators.
For years, schools across the nation have taught faculty, staff, and students to respond to an intruder or outside threat by retreating to classrooms and offices behind locked doors, with the door window covered and lights off, staying low to the ground and quiet. In fact, Minnesota requires all schools to hold five lockdown drills a year. As a result of a great deal of research and discussion, MPA has adopted a different approach to how to respond in one of these situations, joining many other local schools, companies, and organizations.
Instead, we are alert at all times, lockdown when instructed, inform eachother of the location of the intruder, counter if necessary, and evacuate when safe, removing ourselves and the children from danger. It is a research-based way to empower faculty and staff to evaluate and make decisions in real time about how best to keep their students and themselves safe in the event of a threat entering the building.
Parking Lot Safety
Mounds Park Academy recognizes the critical importance of safe practices in our parking lots. Drive-thru pick up and drop off lanes are utilized to all allow for maximum efficiency and safety before and after school. Families wishing to park and walk into or out of the building together are invited to use either the north or south parking lots and cross at the crosswalks staffed daily by members of the facilities team and school administrators. With a posted speed limit of 10 MPH on campus, and frequent reminders for all drivers to be attentive and courteous, pick up and drop off at MPA runs smoothly and safely.
For students who ride the bus, a member of the facilities team is always present helping with boarding and unloading of the buses. MPA students, whether they utilize the bus or not, all participate in a bus safety training each year.
Emergency Communication Plan overview
In the unlikely event of a crisis, Mounds Park Academy will send timely notifications of the emergency situation with instructions and updates via phone, email, and text messaging.
Fire, Tornado and Lockdown Drills
The state of Minnesota requires Mounds Park Academy to perform five fire and lockdown drills per year. These scheduled drills are held throughout the year to provide those on campus with practice in case of an emergency. MPA does one tornado drill in the spring during Severe Weather Awareness week.
On Campus Health Services
The health office is staffed full time by a licensed school nurse. A number of faculty and staff members are trained in first aid and CPR, and AED defibrillator are placed throughout the building.
MPA takes life-threatening allergies seriously and provides an exceptionally Allergy Aware environment. Peanuts and tree nuts are prohibited on campus. For more information about MPA's extensive food allergy guidelines, click here.
Science labs, the Makerspace, the Robotics Lab, and the Scene Shop are used by Mounds Park Academy students and faculty alike, and safety is always the first priority. Professionally trained faculty ensure that students wear safety glasses and proper attire, including masks and ear protection when necessary. Additionally, students go through safety trainings prior to using equipment and that equipment is kept up to date and in good condition.
With a comprehensive laptop program in Middle and Upper School and age-appropriate access to technology in the Lower School, technology and internet safety is paramount at MPA. Technology policy, cyberbullying, and online and cell phone safety are important topics covered in the advisory program in the Middle School, and in the seminar in the Upper School, including content on digital citizenship from Common Sense Media. MPA has carefully constructed policies related to technology and cyber safety that are clearly laid out in the MPA Community Handbook.