October 23, 2018
This article is the second in a series called “The Fall Campaign Stories of Impact: Five Weeks, Five Stories, Five Reasons to Give.”
MPA’s Upper School curriculum features a breadth and depth of challenging topics, from Modern United States History and Computer Science, to Literary Analysis and Advanced Argumentation. Can you find the electives in this list? It’s probably not obvious, and that’s by design. At MPA, all courses, both core and elective, are developed around specific academic requirements and developmental goals. Electives play a special role in the mix, reinforcing an interdisciplinary approach to learning that supports the whole student.
“Core and elective classes at MPA have distinct roles, and also have equal billing,” explains Mark Segal, Upper School director. “What’s learned in electives carries over to other courses. For example, the critical thinking and persuasion skills acquired through our elective course in debate translate into the public speaking component of our English courses, and the analytical approach needed in our science program.”
Embedding electives into MPA’s academic calendar also creates well-rounded students who are adaptable and experienced beyond the educational basics. “We want our students to build 21st century skills, to prepare for jobs that haven’t even been created yet,” says Segal. “To do that, they need a big-picture perspective, connections to the global community, and knowledge that’s transportable.”
Electives often play an essential role of opening new avenues of learning, where students try topics that they might think are “outside their lane.” Segal adds that “it really sets us apart, that freedom to explore and create, for students to find their passion.”
Another aspect of elective coursework is how it creates opportunities for Upper School students to engage with the Middle and Lower School, especially through arts and leadership programs. “Our younger students look up to them, learn from their example, start to imagine their own path through school,” Segal says. “They have such genuine interactions. It’s a really important and valuable way to model our values, work toward common goals, and reinforce our shared sense of community.”
Because of philanthropy at MPA, incredible elective offerings create limitless opportunities for our students. Consider making a donation to the MPA Fund during the Fall Campaign by visiting moundsparkacademy.org/donate or contacting Susan Robertson, Annual Giving & Alumni Relations Manager, at 651-748-5531. Together, we will raise $300,000 to bridge the gap between tuition and the total cost of educating a student at MPA.