from Bill Hudson, head of school

Mounds Park Academy has a long history of thoughtful strategic planning. Through the years, trustees, parents, faculty, staff, and students have come together to chart a path forward to guide the ongoing growth and development of the school in order to meet the evolving and emerging needs of our students. We are now in the third year of our current strategic plan, 2024ward, with the process to create our next plan beginning in the fall. I want to highlight a few accomplishments and share some emerging plans.

PRIORITY ONE: Empower Students to Live, Learn, and Thrive in an Increasingly Complex and Globalized Society.

  • A committee of faculty and staff created a Portrait of a Graduate. The portrait is a representative statement and visual heuristic that conveys our commitment to teaching and learning at MPA.
    Standards for equity and inclusion, social-emotional learning, innovation, technology, and digital wellness were created by faculty and staff. Together with content-specific standards, they will guide a comprehensive curriculum review next year.
  • The Portrait of a Graduate and the newly developed standards guide the creation of a competency framework devised to articulate and make actionable the transferable skills embedded in the Portrait of a Graduate and prepare students for the world ahead.
  • In the past year, we have been researching international organizations that reflect our mission, vision, and values in hopes of establishing a partnership with an international school. Such a partnership is designed to foster cross-cultural competence and global citizenship. There have been some exciting developments that I hope to share with you very soon.

PRIORITY TWO: Ensure An Equitable and Inclusive Community.

  • A 16-member Equity and Belonging Committee composed of faculty and staff was convened in the fall of 2022 and has created shared diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) language for the MPA community. In addition, the committee developed DEIB-related curriculum standards that are reflected in the school’s Portrait of a Graduate and the emerging competency framework.
  • Together with the Equity and Belonging Committee, the director and assistant director of equity and belonging developed an extensive DEIB resource guide for all MPA employees that was deployed in September 2023.
  • For the second year in a row, MPA student representatives participated in the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, and faculty and staff representatives attended the People of Color Conference, both sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools. And, MPA is a founding sponsor, together with SPA, of a new and local Twin Cities Student Diversity Leadership Conference to be held on February 16.

PRIORITY THREE: Affirm and Inspire our Exceptional and Dedicated Faculty and Staff through Competitive Compensation.

  • The Audit Committee of the board and the head of school are working with a consulting group that assists independent schools in comparing and benchmarking compensation relative to area independent, private, and public schools.
  • A small faculty group is taking the lead in creating a mission-based compensation philosophy.
    MPA is participating in a national collaborative of independent schools to enhance faculty morale.
  • The head of school has created and implemented a Faculty Roundtable to further engage employees in school-wide decision-making.

PRIORITY FOUR: Enhance Institutional Capacity by Continuing to Strengthen Financial Sustainability.

  • The Board of Trustees, in partnership with the head of school and chief financial and operations officer, analyzed MPA’s financials and operations and have created a new economic model to sustain the school well into the future.
  • A Capital Renewal Fund has been established to fund ongoing capital improvement needs.
  • Two alternative revenue proposals are under consideration.
  • The Development and Community Engagement Office recently completed an audit of operations and staff to better align with goals of increasing the annual fund, alumni giving, and the endowment.
  • A new five-year strategic marketing and enrollment plan is nearly complete and will guide the school’s enrollment into the future.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the school’s commitment to continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is essential for all schools to stay relevant, provide high-quality education, and prepare students for success in a rapidly changing world. We take a proactive approach to ensure our school remains responsive to the emerging and evolving needs of our students and families. At MPA, our commitment to continuous improvement is grounded in our mission and values and is guided by our strategic plan.

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