Alex Knox and his sisterWhat do you love about MPA?
We underestimated the value of being in a PreK-12 learning environment, especially all on one campus. It has been beneficial for our kids who admire so many of the Upper School students. In addition, our kids have met other kids who are extremely gracious and kind.

Another reason we love MPA is the class size. As we were searching for a school, we wanted a learning environment that encompassed more opportunity for one-on-one interactions. At MPA, teachers have the capacity to tailor their instruction and ability for our kids to build community with classmates. Rigor was also a must as we wanted a learning environment that cultivates and pushes our kids’ intellect and abilities.

Lastly, we love how there are many opportunities to get involved and participate in various after-school activities. My son earned his yellow belt in karate, came in second place in chess, participated in a summer school theatre production, and most recently sung the national anthem with his classmates at a Saint Paul Saints game.

How is your child encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Over the course of our son’s four years at MPA, he learned that continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection. In addition, he’s learned how to be inclusive and that you can learn and have fun at the same time. Last, he’s learned, “Don’t let anyone stop you from your dreams,” and “You can do anything you set your mind to,” hence our oldest wants to be a professional athlete and in the off-season explore a career in chemical science.

If your child has attended another school, how was your experience at MPA been different?
We had such a magical experience with our sons preschool and wanted to find that magic elsewhere. When it was time to think about kindergarten, we became like many other parents and created a spreadsheet to compare schools. Our son was accepted to a few other schools, and some were more convenient to our home at that time. However, our son fell in love with MPA, and the teachers, so it is safe to say, we found our magical place.

What would you tell another family considering MPA?
We’ve been so fortunate to lift-up the MPA story through our role as ambassadors. When given the opportunity to share our sentiments of MPA, we love to illustrate that MPA provides an environment that is conducive for cultivating conscious leaders, while, preparing and equipping its’ students for the future, and most importantly, careers for the future. There is a sense of community, belonging, and values that are omnipresent. As an involved parent, it is imperative that my child is seen, valued and heard—and in a safe learning environment. That has been my kid’s experience at MPA.

In what ways has MPA prepared your child for life in the 21st century?
As I think about what is needed in the 21st century, coupled with listening and learning from what our kids have shared over the past four years, it makes me think of the four c’s: collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. MPA leverages technology and media to help the kids process information, to make informed decisions and choices. In partnership with MPA, our kids are learning life skills that have the propensity to propel their academic and professional careers. The faculty at MPA are instilling leadership, emotional intelligence, and the ability to be nimble. My son is prepared for life at MPA. When a recruiter is looking for a leader, they are trying to recruit someone who has a penchant for setting goals, walking a team through the steps required, and achieving those goals collaboratively. He is getting all of that in the Lower School.

What do you hope for your children in 20 years?
In 20 years, we will have a 28-year-old and a 23-year-old. Our hope for them is to dream big and do ‘more’ good, be bold and take risks, as it is okay to fail forward. We hope that they discover what they are passionate about and what brings them immense fulfillment and purpose, a lifetime of health, wellness, and joy. We hope they are kind and compassionate, with the ability to treat others as they would like to be treated–and to remember that the world requires having grit and being resilient, tough, dignified, confident, and assertive.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your MPA experience?
When I was visiting schools, I asked a lot of questions. Some became uncomfortable or found it disheartening that I felt the need to ask, however, as a mom who is raising children of color, it was imperative for me to know that they will be seen, valued, heard, and most importantly, safe, especially in our current climate.

From the moment I stepped foot on MPA’s campus, I felt welcomed and a sense of belonging that I didn’t feel at other schools. Research illustrates too many African American boys fail to graduate from high school and attend a competitive four-year college. However, determining those outcomes starts in Lower School. I am grateful that throughout our journey at MPA, I can partner with my kids’ teachers, and the school to ensure my son isn’t a statistic.

Mounds Park Academy, a PreK-12 private school in Saint Paul, is currently accepting inquiries and applications for the 2020-21 school year. For more information about admission and to schedule your tour, visit moundsparkacademy.org/admission. We look forward to getting to know your family!

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