The Foote/Nelson FamilyDuring the Fall Campaign, we are excited to share stories from our community about the impact the school has made on their children and their family. The Foote/Nelson Family shares the how their child grew more and more confident and comfortable, finding a home at MPA.

How did your family come to MPA?
We were looking at options for a new school for Odin and had a neighbor whose son had gone to MPA. Living in Minneapolis, it made an impression because they were willing to drive far but were so happy. That neighbor’s son became a literal rocket scientist. All of the conversations we had with them as well as Odin’s visit to MPA just seemed like a really great fit.

Our experience has been great. Odin has really transformed. He had been having a really difficult time and it had taken a big hit on his self-esteem. When he visited MPA he felt really welcomed by the students and teachers right away. He felt really supported to do the work in his class and enjoys being recognized for the work he was doing. It is a good balance for Odin – teachers pushing him to do more where they see it while also having a lot of respect for his boundaries and challenges. The biggest thing for us is seeing how the teachers are really empowered to do differentiated instruction. In our conversations with MPA’s teachers regarding past challenges Odin experienced, they listened and then shared that in some instances they may provide instruction differently for Odin and beyond that if they need to adjust, they just do. It’s made such a difference because in all of our previous conversations we didn’t feel heard. Now Odin has teachers that will overcome barriers.

MPA is a strong community for Odin. He’s friends with everyone and he just doesn’t have anything bad to say. MPA feels like home!

This year has been a year unlike any other. Can you share what it has been like being back on campus this school year?
We were really impressed and happy with how well the school pivoted in the spring with virtual learning. MPA was able to maintain structure due to effective teachers – throughout virtual learning. This year, being back on campus is huge. The in-person connection with teachers is incredible and I see a big difference in his engagement and attitude. And, he doesn’t mind his at home days and gets to sleep in a bit longer! I really appreciated MPA’s approach and philosophy of being ready to return to campus as soon as it was possible. Other schools waited, while MPA planned and didn’t wait. MPA was very prepared for either option.

What does MPA give to your children and your family?
We’re happy that our son is happy and growing. MPA provides an environment where Odin feels safe, both emotionally and physically. In social interactions and academically he feels respected by his teachers and doesn’t feel singled out for the challenges he has with his ADHD. Instead, the teachers understand the balance of providing challenge for a kid who has a lot going on and is super smart which really sparks his energy.

We know first-hand that this isn’t a given and we know it’s a lot of work to make MPA’s community what it is.

Why do you give to MPA?
MPA has just been so impressive to us. It has been worth every penny. With everything thrown at the school this last year, the focus has been on the students, communication has been solid, and the teachers deliver.

What would you tell other parents who are considering making a gift to MPA?
We’re in Minneapolis and we are committed to getting him here. The school is definitely worth it for us in time and money. Having the Minneapolis bus has also been really nice. We definitely use it and it helps Odin’s connection to the school because other kids are getting on the bus from the neighborhood.

One of the things I’ve recognized is how much time and stress we had with Odin’s previous school experience and what we have now with MPA is peace of mind.

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