The Alvarenga familyWhat do you love about MPA?
There is so much to love about MPA. We love that the faculty at MPA find joy in their work and in their relationships with each other and with their students. MPA is truly an inclusive and welcoming community for all of its students, families and faculty! We love that our children are not only pushed academically but they are also pushed to explore and develop their musical, artistic, athletic, creative and social skills. The varied and fun course offerings allow the school to be constantly educating the children all the while allowing the children to have fun and be expressive. We love that MPA goes out of its way time and time again to communicate with us what is happening in our children’s days and weeks.

How is your child encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
The course offerings at MPA give our kids the opportunity to not only dream big but to do big things. Art, music, foreign language, and the Makerspace are offered to even the youngest students and give the kids the tools and experience they need to really dream big! The emphasis on communication at MPA enables conflicts to be handled the right way. Clear communication is time consuming and can be uncomfortable for children but the resulting conflict resolution reinforces the power of communication to achieve the right outcome.

If your child has attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
We moved to Minnesota from Phoenix, Arizona. We first visited the state in February and were very discouraged by the cold, dark days spent here touring cities, homes, and schools. On our first visit to MPA, we arrived for Pajamarama and found the halls of MPA to be full of light, laughter, energy, and pure joy! In considering a school, we were not only considering the course offerings, but also the building that would hold our children during the winter months. The night of Pajamarama we were not only impressed with the faculty, families, and students we met but with the beauty, size, and functionality of the building itself. Each Lower School classroom has large windows, letting in ample natural light. The gym was big and bright with an indoor track to help our energetic kiddos burn off steam in the winter. The multiple music rooms, art rooms, Makerspace, and the Black Box for theatrical performances were huge selling points for us. We knew our children would adjust just fine to being indoors because their new school had so many wonderful spaces for our children to explore.

What would you tell another family considering MPA?
Many years ago when I was deciding what school to enroll my then-PreK student in, I got some great advice from the director of her preschool: “Make the best decision for your child today.” Too often we are thinking ahead and planning for the future and we neglect to make the best decision for where our child is today. I would tell a family who was considering MPA that by partnering up with MPA, they are choosing a school where their child’s, physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and educational needs will be considered and supported. Parenting is a greater challenge than we could have possibly imagined. Partnering with MPA to help us educate and raise our children gives us a great sense of comfort in knowing that the school we chose is as devoted to seeing our children develop to their full potential as we are.

In what ways has MPA prepared your child for life in the 21st century?
MPA understands that a successful person in the 21st century needs to be dynamic, creative, adaptable, and comfortable with taking risks. MPA is preparing our children to be leaders, learners, listeners, and risk takers. MPA is a great example of what a thriving 21st century organization should look like. The faculty at MPA are constantly challenging themselves to improve communication, build community, find innovative ways to engage their students, and even securing funding to improve the physical building that holds MPA. That perspective to keep your eyes, ears, and minds open to ways of improvement are contagious and trickle down from the school directors, to the teaching faculty, and finally to the students. We believe that MPA doesn’t just teach a growth mindset–they model it for their students everyday!

What do you hope for your child in 20 years?
In 20 years our kids will be young adults utilizing a lifetime of educational experiences that have been made available to them from birth. We hope that the foundation that we have laid with the help of MPA is solid enough to sustain them through failures, adversity, hardships and personal losses. We hope that they are confident to claim their space in the world, even if they don’t see people like them in the positions that they seek to attain. We hope that they are not only successful advocates for themselves but also for the tribal and immigrant communities that they have been raised in. We hope that wherever they find themselves in the world they have an innate sense of value, belonging and fairness.

Mounds Park Academy, a PreK-12 private school in Saint Paul, is currently accepting inquiries 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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