MPA’s First Ever Virtual Spring Auction

MPA virtual spring auction logoSave the date for MPA’s first ever virtual Spring Auction! Since the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic and MPA’s shift to virtual learning, so much of our world has changed! One thing that has remained the same throughout all of this is the importance of our connection to one another, especially as we work together to overcome whatever challenges or obstacles may be in our way.

In this spirit, our volunteer Spring Auction committee is pleased to announce that this year’s 2020 MPA Spring Auction: Light Up the Night is going virtual! Join us on Friday, April 17 for a fun evening filled with inspirational stories, fun auction items to bid and win, and the most important element that makes MPA so special: community.

We need you now more than ever to ensure every student, family, and staff member has what they need to dream big, do right, and light up the world. Learn more about the event, including answers to some frequently asked questions and the changes to expect this year. Check your email inbox this weekend with more details and ways you and your entire family can get involved! Questions? Contact Jennifer Rogers at 308-765-0524 or via email at

Connect, Play, And Create With MPA’s Virtual Playground

lower school student on the playground monkey barsJoin us to connect, play, and create With MPA’s Virtual Playground! Beginning April 8, join via Zoom from 3:30-4 PM Wednesdays-Fridays for the following sessions:

Wednesdays: PreK-4 Playground (beginning April 8)
Thursdays: All Ages Guest Speaker (beginning April 9)
Fridays: All Ages Fiber Friends (beginning April 10)

Students age 13 and under must join with a parent. MPA Virtual Playground is facilitated by Tracey Joyce, Technology Integrationist and Nicole Koen, Makerspace Coordinator.

Kindergarteners Send Joy To Senior Living Friends

a joke written and illustrated by an MPA kindergarten studentThe MPA kindergarten class kicked off virtual learning with a community-centered homework assignment! Kindergarten teacher Ms. Petersen contacted two local senior living facilities and asked if the students could partner with them in order to foster relationships while social distancing and help the kindergarten students continue their CHAMP journey away from campus.

To go along with their letter “J” activity, each student wrote and illustrated a joke for the senior living residents. The assignment also encouraged them to practice spelling and creative details in their drawings. The students then mailed their jokes to Ms. P, and also used this opportunity to explore their own address, discuss how mail is processed and delivered, and learn more about the history of stamps and stamp collecting.

Ms. P is delivering the jokes to the senior living facilities, and even has permission to hang them on the windows outside! The students are ecstatic to be providing joy throughout the community during this time, executing their CHAMP behavior by communicating with an isolated population. Have a good laugh and see all of their jokes here!

Vote For William Kim Through April 5!

mpa senior William kimKeep on casting your vote for MPA senior William Kim to be a finalist for the MPR Minnesota Varsity showcase concert! MPR listeners are voting to select one of this year’s 10 Featured Artists to advance to the Showcase concert in May.

Listen online and click here to vote for William until 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 5!

COVID-19 Parent Education Forum

parent and middle school student talking togetherMPA is committed to supporting parents as well as students. You are invited to Parent Education Forum with Dr. Julene Nolan, MPA school psychologist, and head of school Dr. Bill Hudson. The Parent Education Forum is designed to provide parents with the support, guidance, and insights needed to navigate these difficult times.

Please click here to share questions and concerns that are top-of-mind as you begin to navigate supporting your children through the changes that are happening in our world right now. We will use this to craft our time together and guide how we deliver future parent support. An example might be a question, “How do I keep my kids from fighting all the time?” a specific topic, “Screen time rules”, or a suggestion, “Here is something that is working for us.”

Topic: Parent Education Forum
Time: Mar 31, 2020 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 968 108 092
Password: 080517

Junior Hana Miller Celebrates Birthday With Blood Donation Campaign

MPA blood drive postersHana Miller has always been, and continues to be, a vocal advocate for blood donation. Amidst the severe blood shortage in the Twin Cities, which continues to suffer from the spread of COVID-19, Hana is doing right and organizing a blood donation campaign for her birthday this year.

“I’ve donated five times–the first on my 16th birthday–and passed out every time,” she said. “In fact, It was because of the tests that the Red Cross runs on their blood donors that I discovered that I was anemic. An average person should have a blood iron level around 16 and mine was recorded at a three!” After finding out she was ineligible to donate herself, Hana finds herself even more motivated to bring an awareness to blood donation.

The spread of coronavirus has forced a decline in the number of blood drives and donors in the United States “This is actually no surprise, considering the nearly 60% of the US Blood supply comes from donors over 45,” Hana stated. “This means that while the demand for blood has remained the same, possibly even increasing, our ability to meet that demand is decreasing. So considering I was stuck in my house for my birthday, and unable to spend the day as I wanted, I figured that the next best thing I could do was to try to help someone else. I decided to set up the donation campaign through the Red Cross.” Read More

When To Let Your Child Choose: Advice From A Parent In Making A School Decision

upper school students using makerspace whiteboard togetherYou are looking at school like Mounds Park Academy because you want the best for your child. You want your child to grow into a free spirit, a risk taker, a right maker, dreamer, and a doer. You want an independent thinker. Yet should your child, whom you have raised to be a respectful, decisive, critical thinker, make their own school choice? And what is your role, as the parent, in the school search process? This is a question that the Office of Admission is asked regularly.

Depending on the age and maturity of the child and the reason your family is changing schools, the continuum can range from a parent making the decision solo, to a combined decision making process, to the student selecting from the parent’s list of approved schools, to, in some cases, the student making the decision completely on their own. Where each family falls on this continuum is vastly different.

How Young Is Too Young?
Educational choices stick with a child for their entire life, so balancing the natural desire to provide a platform for your child’s input while knowing that what they decide has substantial implications on their future is critically important. The best parent-child partnerships blossom when both sides see this decision as a learning opportunity. Incorporating your child on this journey and welcoming them to contribute can be an incredible chance for them to develop maturity and show their growth. But as every child development expert will tell you, there’s a time and a place for a child’s choice, and there is a time when mom or dad needs to make the decision. Read More

Lower School Virtual Learning Update

lower school student working on a laptopby Renee Wright, Lower School director

Over the weekend, you learned that our campus will be closed until at least Friday, March 27, in alignment with Governor Walz’s order. Since then, social distancing protocols have been put into place, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls, and many other businesses have closed. All of these sudden changes are likely causing concern and anxiety for you and your children. It is comforting to know that these decisions are meant to protect the well-being of our entire community and that learning will continue in new and exciting ways, due to the innovative technology we have available to us.

On Tuesday, March 24, we will begin to learn virtually in Lower School—this will allow students to experience continued instruction and community connection on a daily basis. Schoology will be your go-to source of information. You will receive a post by 8 AM each day from your child’s homeroom teacher with lessons, assignments, activities—some will be recorded videos and some will be independent work. You will also receive regular posts of a similar nature from your child’s specialists. We know that it is important for teachers and students to stay connected and they will also do that through “real-time” sessions according to the schedule below. We have learned from other schools that in Lower School it is very important to start simply and to partner with parents to manage the workload, knowing that many of you will be working from home as well. We are working hard to strike the right balance in Lower School and will adjust the schedule below if needed. I hope you will plan ahead and help your child get set-up on a home device to ensure they are part of these.

We believe it is important for students to have a quiet, dedicated place to learn and to follow a consistent and predictable schedule each day. In Lower School, we want to avoid children spending their entire day on a device, so we will not be following their typical schedule. Depending on the grade level, your teacher may provide you with an adjusted schedule or you will be invited to establish your own. Either way, combining time working on assigned learning tasks and opportunities to play and be creative sans a device will be strongly encouraged—students learn so much from play! An emphasis will also be placed on spending time together as a family doing activities such as reading, playing games, cooking, and/or taking walks. These are all opportunities that create the emotional support young children need during this time. Read More

Middle School Virtual Learning Update

middle school student working at a laptopMiddle School Locker and Supply Curb-Side Pick-Up
Sunday, March 22, 12-3 PM, South Entrance

by Dr. Jenn Milam, Middle School director

As we near the end of our spring break and look toward virtual school, I can tell you, without a doubt, that while things will certainly be different, they will also be great! The administrative team, teachers, and I have been working tirelessly over the break to develop a path forward through this new reality of distance learning that aims to bolster a great academic program while continuing to offer social and emotional support for your students (and for you!).

Research tells us that a virtual school that is consistent, supportive, maintains a measure of responsibility and accountability, and offers a little bit of fun and “real-time” interaction is sound practice. What I know about your students and, any young adolescent, is that structure is comforting, and routine is important. We will have both and more!

A few thoughts on what you can do now to ensure that starting on Tuesday, your Middle School student will be ready for virtual school:

  1. Consider as a family, if you haven’t already, where a good workspace would be your Middle School student. We will conduct a full school day, 8 AM-3 PM, and they will need a learning spot in your home where they can have their computer plugged in, be present in video and audio with minimal distraction, and have easy access to school materials—think pencils, pens, notebooks, workbooks, and more. A workspace could be shared, of course, and earbuds/headphones can always be used to limit interruption of the other person working. There will be times that your students are talking, checking-in, participating in class discussions, etc. that will require them to be actively engaged throughout each day.
  2. If your student has not done so over the break, please have them plug in their computers soon (in a safe place away from damaging influences like liquids or high traffic areas) and begin to unpack their backpacks. School will start at 8 AM on Tuesday morning!
  3. The teachers and I are working to ensure as much independent learning as possible for your student, in collaboration and consultation with their teachers, in hopes of minimizing the heavy lifting you have to do at home. As long as your student has consistent, quality internet access, they will be able (with our support and a little from you!) to login, meet with their teachers and classmates, and carry on with their school day. If this is a challenge for your family, please reach out to me as soon as possible so we can begin working on a solution for you.

Read More

Upper School Virtual Learning Update

upper school student on a laptopUpper School Art Supply and Spanish V Text Curb-Side Pick-Up
Sunday, March 22, 12-3 PM, North Entrance
Your teachers will have bundled and labeled materials needed for your art (Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, and Printmaking) classes and/or your upcoming 4th quarter Spanish V class.

by Mark Segal, Upper School director

Some say that you can’t teach an old(er) dog new tricks. Well, as we adjust to our new reality of social distancing, closed businesses, and a run on supplies, I am realizing that we are all able to quickly make adjustments to our everyday lives. This includes instituting virtual school starting next Tuesday, March 24. This will certainly be a change for all of us. Rest assured, however, that since long before the official decision was made, the MPA faculty, administrative team, and I have been working hard to put into place an academic program that will blend well with our already exceptional school experience.

The most important element of our work in this virtual setting will be our collective ability to remain patient and flexible. Our highest priority right now needs to be ensuring the strength and integrity of our community in a time of anxiety and uncertainty. Extra steps need to be taken to take care of ourselves, of each other, and of our relationships. With that being said, we also know the importance of normalcy and routine in our lives, particularly the lives of our students. Established online schools have found that creating a consistent daily academic routine allows students to experience accountability to themselves and their classmates and gives them the opportunity to seamlessly progress through their course work.

Starting next Tuesday, we are asking your children to engage in their daily classes virtually. The first and best source of information will continue to be Schoology as this is how teachers will communicate with them even if they are holding class through another platform (e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.). In Upper School, we will follow the regular MPA A/B-day and daily schedule for all classes (Tuesday is a B day). Upper School teachers will begin class at the regular start times and students are expected to join each of their classes on time (attendance will be taken as usual). Schoology will continue to be the primary platform on which lessons, assignments, materials and feedback is shared and teachers will communicate and update their plans/materials daily by 8 AM. Read More