Frequently Asked Questions
At every grade level, MPA fosters a spirit of innovation that fuels creative thinking and allows students to experience the joy of learning. The academic environment is individualized and challenging, but not overly competitive.
Teachers emphasize collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and deep understanding over rote memorization, creating active and engaging learning opportunities with real-world applications. At MPA, academic rigor has purpose and students understand that purpose is to make the world a better place.
MPA students, in partnership with their teachers, dive deep into content, always attempting to answer the "why." Block scheduling supports this approach at the Middle and Upper School levels, allowing more time to grapple with complex topics and sustain discussions that truly matter.
MPA embraces a whole child approach to learning, with specialists in fields such as art, music, drama, technology to students as young as PreK. MPA prepares students for college, and more importantly, for life.
Our average class size is 14 and our student:teacher ratio is 7:1. In the Lower School, each grade level has one or two sections. In the Middle School, each grade level has two or three sections. In the Upper School, each grade level has four sections. Small class size is the most often-cited benefit of a PreK-12 private school education.
Small class sizes mean that teachers are able to know their students, better evaluate their academic and personal strengths and challenges, and then engage them in ways that ensure they thrive.
Fewer students in a class—combined with the freedom and flexibility that comes with teaching at a private school—means that faculty can create active and engaging learning opportunities with real-world applications that excite and challenge students. With their emphasis on collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and deep understanding over rote memorization, MPA teachers encourage and empower students to dive deep into the subject matter at hand, to answer the “why.” In this type of right-sized environment, students develop the confidence to speak their minds, have extensive access to teachers, and thrive because their needs are being met.
At MPA, every child is known, understood, and loved.
Upon enrollment at MPA, there are countless ways for parents to get involved in life on campus, no matter what your time commitment is. Our community is strengthened by parent involvement.
Mounds Park Academy is supported by a strong Parents Association, an organization of volunteers who actively support the MPA mission and promote community within the school. The Parents Association aims to enrich the MPA experience through community building, continuing traditions, supporting faculty and staff, and acting as a resource for all families.
In addition, many opportunities exist for parents to get involved with the daily operations of the school and special events. The support of our parent volunteers, at all grade levels, is central to Mounds Park Academy offering exceptional opportunities.
Throughout their time at MPA, students are immersed in a college-going culture that develops their unique set of interests, priorities, and aspirations. MPA students are challenged and supported in the work of finding the best college fit through rigorous courses, a robust and intentional college counseling program, and supportive faculty and staff who help guide them (and their families) each step of the way.
Mounds Park Academy families hail from 67 different zip codes throughout the greater Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin region. Moreover, many of our families have relocated to the area from across the country and from around the world. The school is built upon shared values, not geography, which brings families who are committed to the school's mission together outside of their own physical community.
Represented on the map below you will find the grey dots as MPA families and the gold dots as MPA bus stops. In addition, District 622 offers extensive service to families within the district.
With MPA families hailing from 67 different zip codes in the Twin Cities, they arrive to school via three ways: their own personal transportation, busing, and carpooling. Many families find the commute convenient on their way to and from the cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Other families collaborate and carpool from a variety of suburbs throughout the metro area.
In addition, MPA offers extensive bus services that parents with students of all ages take advantage of. Four MPA bus routes are being offered for the 2020-21 school year under a group stop model. They serve the following areas: Minneapolis, Woodbury, Falcon Heights, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Little Canada, North Oaks, Roseville, Shoreview, St. Paul, Vadnais Heights, and White Bear Lake. MPA provides extra care especially for younger students who are escorted to the bus area by an administrator to ensure that every student boards the correct bus safely. In addition, bus drivers do not leave a bus stop until all children are picked up by parents in the afternoon.
MPA students who live within the boundaries of Independent School District 622 (North St. Paul/Maplewood/Oakdale) are eligible for free bus service to MPA, although during the 2020-21 school year this service will be limited to Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings only. These routes are planned by District 622.
Yes, Mounds Park Academy offers an extensive before and after school care program called Panther Club for students in PreK through grade four and Panther Den for students in grades five through eight. Due to COVID-19, this care will need to be registered for in advance.
PreK Panther Club is a DHS licensed, safe and nurturing before and after school program in which children are allowed choices in play areas, arts and crafts, as well as large muscle activities and games. It is included in the cost of tuition for families who wish to utilize it.
Panther Club for students in grades kindergarten through four includes planned lessons, time for study and homework, science activities, arts and crafts, age appropriate games, indoor and outdoor play, and a daily snack.
Panther Den for students in grades five through eight includes time for study and homework, outdoor and indoor play and group games, arts and crafts, and a daily snack. In addition, Middle School offers a study hall after school for one hour at no charge.
At MPA, students thrive because they have opportunities to discover their passions and interests. Being involved in co-curricular activities is expected and encouraged here and that has a profound impact on the culture and character of the school. We know students develop broader groups of friends, greater self-confidence, deeper levels of tolerance and compassion, and consistently perform better academically when they’re involved. They become inspired by their experiences and unafraid of taking on new challenges. The co-curricular activities that MPA offers are often led by expert faculty and are designed to complement and enhance the college-prep curriculum at each division level. Below is a partial list of activities offered in the past five years and offerings change annually. Please inquire about the activities that interest your student!
Lower School Activities
Family Science Events
Middle School Activities
Gender and Sexualities Alliance
Magic The Gathering Club
Math Counts, Math Masters
Social Change Club
Upper School Activities
Gender Sexuality Action
Habitat for Humanity
Racial Justice and Equity Club
Social Consciousness Club
Many activities are planned to help new students and families with the transition into MPA. All new incoming students in grades 1-8 are paired with a buddy student during the summer before entering the school. We try to match personalities and interests in making buddy assignments. In Upper School, social activities are thoughtfully planned by Peer Leaders–current students who take responsibility for welcoming new students to MPA–throughout the summer before new students enter. Students and faculty are very welcoming and curious about new additions to our family, and genuinely enjoy having new students in their classroom. Our families agree that MPA is, without a doubt, one of the most welcoming and inclusive environments they've ever experienced.
Mounds Park Academy, in partnership with Sage Dining Services, is committed to offering scratch-made and locally-sourced lunches for students that nourish minds and bodies while emphasizing nutrition, variety, and sustainability. The meals are healthy, plentiful, and tasty. A full salad bar, including an age appropriate version for our littlest students, pasta bar, soup station, and sandwich bar supplement the daily entree.
Plenty of time is given for students at each division level to get through the short line and eat their meal. In Lower School, students sit with their teachers and MPA staff during lunch, ensuring that each student is supported throughout the meal. In Middle and Upper School, students sit in mixed age groups of their choice, offering an expanded social network.
In addition, MPA believes in the importance of giving children time for recess. In Lower School, that means students have 55 minutes for lunch and recess. Even in Middle and Upper School they have 50 minutes for lunch, recess, and/or community time. Children of all ages need time to play and socialize! This is vital to their social, emotional, and academic development.
About the Admission Process …
The admission process is made up of a series of steps that will help us get to know students who are considering Mounds Park Academy. Depending upon the age of the student, those steps may include a play visit, shadow day, family interview, and more. Families are encouraged to visit campus for a variety of events throughout the year!
This is a question that many parents ask themselves as they consider a private school education. Often it is a matter of prioritizing one expense over another and cutting back on some incidentals in order to provide this exceptional experience for their children. In addition, for families who qualify, MPA offers Indexed Tuition to nearly one-third of its families on an annual basis, totaling $2.2 million.
This deadline allows for the maximum consideration for each applicant for either admission and/or financial assistance funding. New applications for admission and Indexed Tuition will be considered as they are received after these respective deadlines and will be based on a space- and/or funds-available basis. Please contact the Office of Admission with any questions and request information to learn more.
A — Families use Ravenna to complete the application for admission, including the submission of transcripts, teacher recommendations and standardized test results. Families use SSS to complete the application for Indexed Tuition and/or complete the enrollment process and submit the deposit to confirm enrollment.