Celebrating Our Retirees

Dear MPA Community,

We want to share with you that four of MPA’s longest-serving faculty members have decided to retire at the end of this school year: visual art teacher Lisa Buck, music teacher Mari Espeland, librarian Nancy Lage, and third-grade teacher Renette Stinson. Combined, they have served the MPA community for 140 years, and for that, we are exceedingly grateful!

Lisa Buck came to MPA in 1984 as a Middle School visual arts teacher. She co-created the MPA K-12 visual arts curriculum with founding teacher Karen Rossbach. Over time, they honed the program in depth and breadth, and Ms. Buck designed a multilevel ceramics program in the Upper School. She has taught drawing, painting, sculpture, fibers, design, printmaking, and ceramics.

From 1998-2000, Ms. Buck taught overseas at the American School in Casablanca, Morocco, and then returned to MPA. While teaching, she also built her career as a potter. Ms. Buck shares, “It has been a delicate balance of commitment, hard work, and passion. I have longed for a time when I could be full-time in my own studio, and now, that is exactly what I am going to do.”

She adds, “I have given my whole-hearted self to helping students see their beautiful potential as young artists and helped to build an outstanding program.” I am deeply grateful for the vision, creativity, and passion Lisa has brought to MPA over her long service to the school. Students have benefitted from having a gifted art educator and an accomplished working artist in the same person; she will be very missed.

Mari Espeland came to MPA in 1989 and built the Lower School music program upon the Orff Schulwerk approach. She established the Lower School Art and Music Show with Karen Rossbach and incorporated distinctly American music traditions, such as jazz, and world music through drumming.

Ms. Espeland shares, “This environment has allowed me to grow as a music educator and collaborate with colleagues to benefit students more than I could have ever dreamed possible when I began teaching at MPA in 1989. Music education has been much more than a job or even a career for me. Rather, it has been a calling.”

After 33 years of boundless passion for music and dedicated service to MPA, I have profound respect and deep appreciation for the program she built, the many, many children she has inspired, and the beauty she has brought to their lives and to MPA.

Nancy Lage became MPA’s librarian in 1986 and has served the school for 37 years. She developed the PreK-12 library program and managed an extensive 23,000-volume book collection, 30 academic databases, and a dynamic library website to support a diverse PreK-12 curriculum. She shares, “A joy-filled part of my job at MPA has been matching students and faculty with books and resources that inspire them to think, reflect and grow.” She is well-known for being able to find the perfect next book for readers of all ages. Read More


Exploring Visual Learning

from Ann Jurewicz, Lower School director

Editor’s Note: Periodically, you will find a guest Head’s Message here from one of MPA’s administrators. We hope you enjoy reading their thoughts and reflections about life at MPA.

Do you like to doodle while listening to new information? Perhaps you like to chart your ideas as you are explaining them to another person. Or maybe you like to “talk your ideas” out loud, finding someone to be your sounding board for a great hunch that nevertheless is an idea still not fully formed. (You may be praising the patience of your “thought” partner or significant other as you read this!)

What all of these activities have in common is “visible thinking.” When we are thinking, we are learning. The more we explicitly engage in thinking, the more we learn. “Visible Thinking” has become the life’s work of Ron Richhart of Harvard’s Project Zero. He explains, “If we take seriously the notion that learning is a consequence of thinking, then thinking—in all its forms: critical, creative and reflective—needs to be part of every lesson we teach.

When schools promote inquiry learning, the goal is to expand thinking, which in turn expands learning. For example, when a student asks a teacher a question, the “visible thinking” response is to rephrase the question back to the student, such as, “What do you think?” This extends learning. It also shifts the classroom environment from teacher-centered to student-centered. Read More


Parents Association News & Events February 2, 2023

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week
February 2-9
The second Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week is coming up fast! Look for opportunities to donate snacks and drinks or to volunteer your time during the week of February 2-9 in the Sign Up Genius. Carts will be placed just inside the LS and US entrances for donated items or they can be brought to the Teaching Kitchen. Evening volunteer opportunities during the LS/MS conference dinners are also available. Questions, please contact Tara Lafferty, TMattRN@aol.com

Sign Up Here

Show You Love, Volunteer for the Lower School Valentine’s Day Party
February 14, 8:30 AM-2:30 PM
We’re delighted to announce the LS Valentine’s Day party is back! This year’s festivities will take place in the Lansing Sports Center. Join us for the day or during your student’s assigned party time. Sign up to volunteer here.

Middle School Snow Tubing in 2023
Thursday, February 16, 2-4:45 PM
Additional guest registration is due February 13. All Middle School students and their families are invited to this year’s snow tubing community event at Badlands Snow Park, 772 Kinney Road Hudson, WI 54016. Outside winter gear is a must (no scarves). Bring a helmet if you’d like and cash for snacks. Read More


MPA Seeking International Student Host Families

Do you have room to spare? Space in your heart for another family member? A desire to expand your family’s perspective of the world? MPA is seeking host families for international students for the 2023-24 school year.

Between the adults in their school and home lives, our international students feel supported, nurtured, and loved while living so far from their families. This is vital to their success and the strongest testament to everything our MPA host families and staff do to care for our international students.

We would love it if you and your family considered hosting an international student for next school year. As you and your family consider hosting, here are some topics that may arise. The information below is by no means an exhaustive list, but it may answer some of the initial questions you have and prompt additions ones as well:

Stipend

  • A 10-month stipend of $9,000 will be directly deposited in equal installments of $900/month on the first of each month for the previous month, September through June.
  • An early installment of $500 will be deposited on August 1 in preparation of your student’s arrival; the remaining $400 will be deposited on September 1.
  • The daily stipend rate of $30/day will be taken from and disbursed to host families who are providing respite care for a student, as needed.

Transportation

  • Host families are responsible for providing transportation to and from school and school-related activities.
  • Host families are responsible for providing transportation to and from the airport when the student travels.
  • Host families will work with their student in scheduling rides for social events.

Meals

  • All international students will receive the MPA school lunch. Host families and students do not need to pack lunches.
  • Host families are responsible for providing two meals on all weekdays and three meals on all weekend days.

By hosting an international student, you and your family have a unique opportunity to bring the language, culture, and perspective of another country into your home, allowing for a truly rich and genuine intercultural experience. The students will love to share their lives with you while becoming a part of your family, exploring Minnesota, and enjoying MPA student life all at the same time.

We hope you’ll consider opening your hearts and homes to one of our international students. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Cory Becker-Kim, International Student Program Coordinator and Advanced Language & Culture Teacher, at cbeckerkim@moundsparkacademy.org or 651-748-5173.

Click here to fill out a Host Family Application, and here for more information. Thank you so much for considering!


The Roadmap That Guides Us

from Bill Hudson, head of school

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “Greatness is not where we stand but in what direction we are moving.” Last week, I shared with you the results of the most recent Net Promoter survey. The Net Promoter is one of many ways MPA seeks parents’ feedback and spurs continuous improvement. MPA is not content to rest on our laurels, and we are always on the move. Our school’s strategic plan, 2024ward, drives us onward and is the roadmap that guides us as we strive for excellence.

Each year at this time, I provide a brief update on the progress we have accomplished as we implement 2024ward in the past year. I will follow up this message with a “State of the School” address at two meetings next week. The first meeting is in person on Monday, January 30, 8:15-9:15 AM in the PCR (Porter Conference Room) in Upper School. The second is a virtual evening meeting on Tuesday, January 31, 7-8 PM. The sessions will be similar, so please choose the one that works best for your schedule. I hope you will join me for one of these important opportunities.

While we do not currently have a formal vision statement, the first priority of 2024ward, “Empower students to live, learn, and thrive in our increasingly complex and globalized society,” stands much like one. In a society marked by so much by rapid change, uncertainty, division, and discord, MPA exists to partner with parents to prepare students to embrace the challenges and opportunities presented to them. And yet, preparing them is not quite enough. Rather, we need to empower them—give them the confidence, agency, resiliency, perseverance, skills, and knowledge to succeed and thrive. Read More


Parents Association News & Events January 26, 2023

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week
February 2-9
The second Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week is coming up fast! Look for opportunities to donate snacks and drinks or to volunteer your time during the week of February 2-9 in the Sign Up Genius. Carts will be placed just inside the LS and US entrances for donated items or they can be brought to the Teaching Kitchen. Evening volunteer opportunities during the LS/MS conference dinners are also available. Questions, please contact Tara Lafferty, TMattRN@aol.com

Sign Up Here

Show You Love, Volunteer for the Lower School Valentine’s Day Party
February 14, 8:30 AM-2:30 PM
We’re delighted to announce the LS Valentine’s Day party is back! This year’s festivities will take place in the Lansing Sports Center. Join us for the day or during your student’s assigned party time. Sign up to volunteer here.

Middle School Snow Tubing in 2023
Thursday, February 16, 2-4:45 PM
Additional guest registration is due February 13. All Middle School students and their families are invited to this year’s snow tubing community event at Badlands Snow Park, 772 Kinney Road Hudson, WI 54016. Outside winter gear is a must (no scarves). Bring a helmet if you’d like and cash for snacks. Read More


Keeping Up With Our Alumni

Allison Leopold ’16: Allison is in her second year of medical school at the University of Minnesota and loves it! She’s planning to pursue a career in addiction medicine and is most excited about her work in harm reduction, health equity, and Medicare for All advocacy. Outside of school, she has been writing/directing a play, singing in a local choir in Minneapolis, dabbling in poetry, tending to houseplants, and rollerblading about town. Allison mentions that she is grateful to be still connected to friends from MPA through traditions like annual gingerbread competitions, Shabbat reading circles, and Friendsgiving celebrations. She looks forward to the continued support from old friends near and far.

Emily Rhodes ’15: After MPA, Emily attended Grinnell College and graduated in 2019 with degrees in History and French. Not long after, she moved to England and completed an MPhil in Early Modern History at the University of Cambridge in 2020. Emily’s Master’s dissertation won the Women’s History Network’s prize for best MA dissertation. She is in the third year of a Ph.D. in early modern history at the University of Cambridge. Currently studying the public and political lives of non-elite women in 17th-century Britain and striving to tell the stories of those often overlooked in history. Emily recently published an academic article exploring how poor women navigated marital breakdowns when they did not have the money to obtain a legal separation. Emily still attributes her love of history to Ms. Conway’s class in Junior year!

We would love to hear what you have been up to since graduating MPA. Please reach out to alumni@moundsparkacademy.org to provide your update.


Building A Path For Success Through Alumni Mentorship

After a successful Alumni Meet & Greet event, MPA seniors and alumni mentors submitted their meaningful experiences and connections formed through the MPA Mentorship Program. Community members gathered in the Family Commons and connected based on similar interests, hobbies, career goals, and college choices. See all of the photos from the networking event here!

Pairing curious and inquisitive students with adults that have experience in their field of passion is an invaluable way to provide insight. This especially applies to students seeking to get a more detailed sense of a profession, college, or industry’s nuances. William Tan ’23 explains, “this program really helped me gain new perspectives on the transition between undergrad and medical school. I also picked up many great tips to help me with college. While I have heard more generalized perspectives regarding undergrad in the past, it was nice to hear about a more focused experience regarding the career I want to pursue. Knowing I will be starting this path next year, it was nice to hear a perspective from someone who has already experienced college.” Read More


We Are Listening

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and MOST of all, love of what you are doing.” -Pelé

The recent passing of Pelé was felt around the world. He was a remarkable athlete and is partially responsible for the rise in interest and participation in soccer in the United States. He was a role model, politician, businessman, and ambassador for UNESCO and the United Nations. He was also very committed and passionate about what he valued most, including ongoing growth and improvement.

At MPA, like Pelé, we strive for excellence at all times. Our dedicated faculty and staff work extremely hard each and every day, truly know their students, and are passionate about their academic, social, and emotional growth. We celebrate our successes, build upon our strengths, and strive for excellence. We are also willing to face the hard truth when we fail to meet expectations. The Net Promoter Survey, administered last month, is one of the ways we seek to engage parents and listen to their constructive criticism and take note of their commendations.

Approximately 78% of MPA families participated in the survey this year (although the numbers are skewed a bit because families were invited to take it several times if they had students in multiple divisions). According to the Net Promoter methodology, survey respondents are grouped into one of three categories: detractor, passive, or promoter. The breakdown for MPA is as follows:

  • Fifty-nine parents, or 16% of the survey responses, gave a score between zero and six and are considered “Detractors” or unhappy customers.
  • Ninety-five parents, or 26% of the survey responses, gave a score of seven or eight and are considered “Passives” or satisfied but unenthusiastic customers.
  • Two hundred and eight parents, or 57% of the survey responses, gave a score of nine or 10 and are considered “Promoters” or loyal enthusiasts.

Subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters yields the Net Promoter Score, which can range from a low of -100 (if every customer is a Detractor) to a high of 100 (if every customer is a Promoter). The MPA score for 2022 is 41. To put that in context, SurveyMonkey reports an average score of 32 across industries. Read More


Parents Association News & Events January 19, 2023

Snowshoe Evening at Seven Vines Vineyard: January 21, 6 PM
Last chance, we have a few tickets left! Enjoy a brisk evening snowshoe walk through Seven Vines Vineyard. Tickets are $55 per person, $110 per couple. The fee includes snowshoe rental (and help putting them on), a drink ticket for a glass of wine or fancy coffee, several rounds of Bingo with prizes, and live music. It is a great evening out! To RSVP, Venmo @Staci-Banks-Hehenberger with the name of the event and number attending in the comment line. Hope you can join in!

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week 
February 2-9
The second Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week is coming up fast! Look for opportunities to donate snacks and drinks or to volunteer your time during the week of February 2-9 in the Sign Up Genius. Carts will be placed just inside the Lower School  and Upper School entrances for donated items or they can be brought to the Teaching Kitchen. Evening volunteer opportunities during the LS/MS conference dinners are also available. Questions, please contact Tara Lafferty, TMattRN@aol.com. Sign Up Here Read More