November 9, 2017
by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School
A week ago, I had the pleasure of attending a social event at Dellwood Country Club organized by the MPA Parents of Alumni Association. The event brought together parents who have MPA graduates currently in college. It was a spirited group—all were very excited to talk with one another and share stories of how their children are faring at school. I enjoyed hearing from them and learning how well their children felt prepared for college after MPA. In addition to feeling prepared, I frequently hear that many of our alumni are assisting their friends and roommates with schoolwork and/or teaching them how to study and manage their time.
Another common observation that I hear from parents of alumni is that they continue to develop relationships with their professors. In the words of one parent of alumni, “My child has transitioned beautifully to college. She knows how to advocate for herself and how to learn. I am amazed by her ability to access teachers and get her questions answered. I couldn’t be more pleased with her high school experience.” Because of the meaningful relationships they form with their MPA teachers, they have the same confidence and comfort to talk to their professors after class or visit them during office hours. In some instances, this has led to internships or research assistant opportunities.
As a parent, I witnessed the confidence of MPA students to meet with their teachers with a question or a problem firsthand. When Ari encountered an issue with one of her grades, she informed me that she took it upon herself, without my suggestion, to meet with her teacher and ask for more information and how she could bring up her grade. I was proud of her, both as a parent and as Head of School. I know that confidence will serve her well throughout her academic career.
I started a tradition of meeting with seniors in groups of no more than ten over lunch. It gives me an opportunity to check in with them on how their year is going, where they plan on going next year, and ask them to share with me their “MPA moments.” On Monday, one senior told me about a recent college visit and how he asked the student ambassador about the difficulty of freshman year. He was told it was quite challenging. But when he spoke with a MPA alum later in the visit, he was told, “It’s a breeze. Don’t worry.”
I certainly love to hear the stories of our alumni and parents of alumni, but it’s also very valuable to have quantitative data. In a recent survey, 96 percent of alumni reported the overall quality of an MPA education to be excellent or very good, above the national average for independent schools. Also, 96 percent of younger alumni said their preparation at MPA for future academic studies is excellent, again, above the national average.
Parents of alumni also feel very strongly about the value of an MPA education. One said, “Our daughter was accepted into and attended an Ivy League university and was well-prepared academically and personally to succeed there. She is currently in graduate school in her chosen field. She exhibits self-confidence, social responsibility, and intellectual curiosity, all of which were fostered at MPA.” Ninty-seven percent of parents of alumni, again above the national average for independent schools, describe the overall education at MPA to be excellent or very good.
When asked about how their education at MPA prepared them professionally, one alum reported, “MPA has been important to my career because I utilize lessons taught at MPA every day. I use time management to provide quality work promptly. I am able to collaborate effectively with co-workers, listening to their ideas while also sharing my own. I constantly think outside of the box and push myself on projects and in general, constantly wonder if there is a way to be better or do better.” Overall, 87 percent of alumni said their preparation at MPA for their professional life or work was excellent or very good.
The value of an MPA education is more than simply academic success. As a school committed to educating the whole child, our purpose is to prepare students for college, and more importantly, for life. We cultivate students who will forever dream big and do right.