September 7, 2017
by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” I was recently at a meeting when someone shared that famous quote from Peter Drucker to emphasize the importance of culture as foundational for organizational success. Clearly strategy is important, yet it will certainly fall flat without engaged, motivated, and cohesive employees who share a common purpose.
As we approach Homecoming in a couple weeks, I found myself thinking about the strong culture at MPA. Educational research is clear that a strong culture leads to higher levels of student achievement. In the ISACS survey administered last year, 85 percent of students agreed that MPA is a caring community, high above the independent school benchmark. A whopping 96 percent of parents agreed as well, also above the benchmark. In the words of one parent, MPA “is a positive nurturing environment. It provides the best well-rounded education I think you can get in Minnesota.”
At the heart of such a culture are the caring relationships that teachers establish with their students. At MPA, 93 percent of students rate their teachers as excellent or very good, exceeding the benchmark of independent schools. As one junior reflected, “In the classroom, students can see the passion teachers have for their job and helping us learn. They make a great effort at personally knowing all of us and it makes the environment of classrooms feel safe and welcoming to share your voice in class.”
A set of shared values are critical as well as a series of rituals or common experiences that inspire and celebrate those values. Homecoming is such a ritual that fosters connectedness among the MPA community, builds community, and celebrates our core values.
In many schools, homecoming is all about athletes and alumni. At MPA, it is a celebration of our interconnectedness. At a recent Lower School lunch, Ms. Wright asked students how they would define or describe Homecoming.
“When everyone comes back.”
“Celebrating getting back to school.”
“When third and fourth graders sing the national anthem before the sporting events.”
“After you are home for a few days and you always come back to MPA.”
A full schedule of community events will take place in and out of school throughout the week of September 18, culminating in a special day of festivities on Saturday, September 23. There are activities for all ages, from little ones to grandparents, on Saturday. Click here to view the entire schedule >
In the words of our Lower School students, I invite you to “Celebrate MPA!” Whether you are a student, parent, or friend, celebrate MPA and the mission that inspires us all. I look forward to welcoming you home.