from Bill Hudson, head of school

I am deeply touched by the outpouring of kind sentiments I’ve received since announcing my intention to retire at the end of the 2024-25 school year. This decision was incredibly difficult, as I have found immense joy in serving as the head of school at MPA and feel privileged to lead such a remarkable community. Each day, I eagerly anticipate coming to school, recognizing the rare fortune of a job that is both professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling.

As I look toward the future, I have full confidence in the board of trustees and the search committee to find an exceptional successor. Rest assured, my commitment and passion for MPA remain unwavering, and I am dedicated to giving my all over the next 16 months.

Looking ahead to the 2024-25 school year, I am excited to share some exciting changes coming to the Middle and Upper Schools. Throughout this year, the academic administration has carefully reviewed feedback on the curriculum and academic schedule from students, parents, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to continuous improvement is guided by our school’s mission and values, ensuring we meet the evolving needs of our students.

Developing a master schedule and academic calendar that caters to students from PreK through 12 is indeed challenging. I often liken my role as head of school to managing a wonderfully messy family with three different schools, each with its own unique students, teachers, and parents—all under one roof. We are one school united by our mission, yet each division approaches the daily schedule with a focus on our students’ academic, social-emotional, and mental well-being. A committee of teachers and administrators, supported by our exceptional new registrar, Renae Wantock, has refined the master schedule to be even more responsive to our students’ needs.

Upper School
In the Upper School next year, we will offer an impressive 50 elective classes, with 29 available to ninth graders, 13 more in the tenth grade, four more in the eleventh grade, and four more in the twelfth grade. This breadth of choice is rare and reflects our commitment to providing an enriching academic experience.

We are introducing six new classes and additional sections of some of our most popular classes. New classes include photography (intro to digital photography), computer science II, cultural art design, functional fitness, stagecraft II, and musical theater. Additionally, art and design and foundations of health equity, introduced this year, will be offered again. We are also adding an extra section of Makerspace and beginning ceramics, with modifications to several classes to increase availability.

Middle School
The new Middle School schedule for the 2024-25 academic year is the result of years of dreaming and visioning by the Middle School faculty and staff. While our current schedule has many strengths, the new schedule reflects a more developmentally responsive approach to middle-grade education.

We have shortened our long class periods by five minutes to incorporate an additional 25-minute break in the Middle School day—one will be mid-morning and one will be mid-afternoon. Current research in brain-based teaching and cognitive sciences tells us that the rapidly changing adolescent brain benefits from more movement and opportunities to shift between classes, as well as additional time for support in executive function and learning.

Additionally, all advisory blocks have been moved to the end of the school day. This change, a hallmark of our Middle School program, allows advisors and teachers to check in with students, ensuring they are prepared for their afterschool activities and have a list of tasks to help make their evenings more manageable. This 30-minute period is crucial in helping students connect their planning to their success, fostering essential self-management skills.

These are just a few of the improvements in store for next year. MPA is committed to continuous improvement, guided by our mission and strategic plan. We are dedicated to partnering with parents and listening to our students, empowering them with voice and agency. What I’ve shared today is just a glimpse of how MPA is empowering students to live, learn, and thrive in today’s complex global society. There is much more to come, and I am eagerly anticipating the year ahead.

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