from Mark Segal, Upper School director

Mark Your Calendars

  • Thursday, November 30: US Evening Conferences, 3:30-8 PM, MPA
  • Friday, December 1: No US Classes, US Conferences, 8 AM-5 PM, MPA
  • Saturday, December 2: US Semi-Formal Dance, 8-11 PM, Maplewood Community Center
  • Monday, December 4-Friday, December 8: MPA Book Festival, 8 AM-4 PM, Gallery (12-4 PM on December 8)
  • Wednesday, December 6: Founders’ Day Breakfast, 7-8 AM, Family Commons
  • Wednesday, December 6: PreK-12 Pairing Assembly, 2 PM
  • Wednesday, December 6: MPA Cocoa and Books, 3-4 PM, Family Commons
  • Wednesday, December 6: Class of 2028 Feed Your Mind Dinner, 6-8 PM, Family Commons
  • Thursday, December 7: US Parents Quarterly Coffee, 8-9:30 AM, PCR
  • Friday, December 8: Senior Performances, 8-9:15 AM, Recital Hall
  • Friday, December 8: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20 AM-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Friday, December 15: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20 AM-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Tuesday, December 19: MS/US Grade 8 to 9 Parent Coffee, 6:30-7:30 PM, PCR
  • Wednesday, December 20: Caroling with the Madrigal Singers, 7:30-8 AM, Family Commons
  • Wednesday, December 20: US Winter Music Tour (Madrigal Singers and Chamber Orchestra), 8:30 AM-3 PM, MPA
  • Thursday, December 21-Tuesday, January 2: No Classes, Winter Break
  • Wednesday, January 3: Classes Resume
  • Friday, January 5: Mentorship Meet & Greet, 8-9:15 AM, Family Commons
  • Tuesday, January 9: Gr 11 Parent College Counseling Night, 6:30-7:30 PM, Recital Hall
  • Friday, January 12: US Class of 2028 Parent Coffee, 8-9 AM, PCR

Important Information

  • If your student will be absent, late, or needs to be excused early from school, please reach out to the Upper School office via
  • Second quarter Upper School conferences are scheduled for Thursday, November 30, 3:30-8 PM and Friday, December 1, 8 AM-5 PM. If you did not get a chance to register for a conference through the Pick-A-Time system, please reach out directly to the teacher with whom you would like to meet to determine if they have availability to meet with you over the next couple of days. As a reminder, Upper School classes are not in session tomorrow, yet regularly scheduled Lower and Middle School classes will be held.
  • The Upper School Quarterly Coffee will be held Thursday, December 7, 8-9:30 AM in the PCR. College Counselors Lisa Pederson and Justin Quam will be presenting information relevant to grade 9-12 families regarding the college planning and application process. This has been a popular session in the past, and we anticipate it will be again this time as well. Coffee and breakfast pastries will be served. No RSVP is needed.

Since the school’s founding, MPA has believed that community service plays a crucial role in students’ holistic development by providing them a valuable opportunity to engage with the world beyond the classroom. Participating in community service allows students to cultivate a sense of empathy and social responsibility as they become actively involved in addressing real-world issues—taking to heart the global responsibility aspect of the MPA mission. Over the course of their Upper School career, MPA students are required to perform 60 hours of community service, although most perform far more than the required number of hours. By volunteering their time and skills to support local organizations and causes, students contribute to their communities’ well-being and develop a deeper understanding of societal challenges. This hands-on experience fosters a sense of civic engagement, promoting the idea that individuals can make a positive impact and effect meaningful change.

According to the Bridge Teen Center, a grassroots nonprofit serving more than 12,000 teens throughout the Chicago area, “Teenagers today lead very busy lives between school, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs. Many students also work hard to find time to volunteer at different organizations, including animal shelters, health care centers, soup kitchens, and other community centers. Studies find that community service opportunities offer many benefits to the communities and the students who serve them.” Students develop communication, teamwork, and leadership abilities through interactions with a variety of people. These experiences can be particularly transformative, helping students build self-confidence and a sense of purpose. Studies performed by the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) state that students who engage in community service often find that it enriches their educational experience, providing practical insights and a broader perspective that goes beyond traditional classroom learning.

Musician Nick Cave articulates the importance of service well by stating, “The everyday human gesture is always a heartbeat away from the miraculous.” He shares that our seemingly small actions ultimately have untold (positive) consequences. As has been the case at MPA for the past 41 years, the cultivation of a strong sense of community involvement contributes to the development of responsible, compassionate, joyful young adults who are invested in the well-being of society.

I look forward to seeing you on campus soon!

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