April 2, 2020
by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School
My father used to say that it’s when the rubber meets the road that you know the value of something. There comes a time, he would say, when your values, resolve, or abilities will be tested and in that difficult or challenging moment, you’ll see what you are made of. The value of the MPA community has never been more clear to me than it has been over the last several weeks.
Without question, the pandemic is extremely difficult for all of us and there are more challenges to come. However, what has helped me, both professionally and personally, has been the resiliency and kindness of the MPA community. As you know, it’s been no small fete to transition to a virtual platform and to do so in accordance to our mission and values. Our teachers, students, and parents have all demonstrated the ability to quickly switch gears and adapt to a new platform. Our community has also shown great depths of kindness, caring for one another and sharing appreciation for teachers.
In our most recent parent survey, 90% said they were either satisfied or highly satisfied with our shift to virtual school. One parent shared, “Honestly, I thought that I knew how wonderful all those who work at MPA were—but today, being beside my son navigating his first day of virtual school, I was blown away with the professionalism, expertise, love, and support for the students at MPA. What an amazing team of beautiful, incredibly talented people our children have the awesome opportunity of encountering.”
One parent was not prepared for how the joy of learning had transferred to the new platform. “I was surprised by the number of laughs I’d hear from him as class was happening. Good laughter. The kind that lets you know that JOY is happening in the learning, in the classroom. That’s a gift for me, as the parent.”
My dad was also good at reframing challenges as opportunities. With so much economic and social uncertainty, it might seem difficult to commit to enrolling in an independent school for the coming year. However, it is at this moment that the value of MPA is most evident, perhaps more than ever. Why? Because the virtual school in place at MPA is ensuring the continuity of learning our students need and, according to our students and parents, is exceeding expectations. Furthermore, the skills students are acquiring beyond content, skills like resiliency, creativity, project management, and responsibility, will be incredibly valuable in this new world and in challenging times. If you are like me, you’ve overheard or perhaps witnessed for the first time what happens every day at MPA. We have an opportunity now to share our commitment and love for MPA with others, to draw a bright line around its value, and to put an exclamation point after our experience.
Heading into spring break, we were at a place of great strength enrollment-wise—interest was up 24%, applications were up 35%, and we had a record 21 mid-year enrollments this school year. In the “can-do” spirit of MPA, we won’t let COVID-19 impact that momentum and together, we can ensure it doesn’t. The most important way we can ensure the future of MPA and enhance the experience of our children is through community member referrals from current families. It’s logical, really. Your friends tend to share your same values. We launched a Referral Program this year to encourage families to share their love for MPA. There are a number of MPA families who are poised to receive significant tuition credits next year—one in the amount of $2,000.
Community member referrals will be more important than ever this year and we’re asking our community to help throughout the month of April by sharing why you love MPA. Over the course of several conversations, give someone a “gentle nudge” to look into MPA. In a respectful way, you might share the successful transition to virtual learning and the experience you child in now engaged in and enjoying. Even if in the end, they elect not to learn more, you will have provided quality, experienced, and knowledgeable advice.
With April as Share MPA Month, like it has been the past several years, we have the ability to turn a challenge into an opportunity. Each weekday this month, we’ll be posting on social media interesting facts and figures related to our wonderful school that are ready for sharing. Watch for these posts and be sure to “Share MPA” by reposting your favorites. Beyond social media, we hope these posts will give you additional key messages to share with your networks, and reminders of how important community member referrals are to MPA.
As the rubber meets the road, one parent articulated the MPA value better than I ever could. “We are hugely appreciative for the can-do spirit, the exceptional communication, and the swift deployment of a robust learning system that has created an exciting, enriching experience for our student and has provided us great solace in time of challenge.” If you are like me and many parents, it is not hard to share MPA in my personal network of friends and neighbors. Now, more than ever, our message is clear.