New Family Orientations & Back To School Days

back to school day in first gradeNew Family Orientations and Back To School Days will be held on campus throughout August. These will be small events designed for maximum safety.

  • PreK Family & Teacher Meetings: August 10-14, scheduled by sign-up
  • PreK Playground Playdate & Family Orientation: August 19, 3-5 PM
  • Kindergarten Back To School Day & New Family Orientation: August 20, 9-11 AM (New family arrival time: 8:45 AM. Returning family arrival time: 9:30 AM.)
  • First Grade Back To School Day & New Family Orientation: August 23, 12-2 PM (New family arrival time: 11:45 AM. Returning family arrival time: 12:30 PM.)
  • Second Grade Back To School Day & New Family Orientation: August 23, 3-5 PM (New family arrival time: 2:45 PM. Returning family arrival time: 3:30 PM.)
  • Third Grade Back To School Day & New Family Orientation: August 24, 12-2 PM (New family arrival time: 11:45 AM. Returning family arrival time: 12:30 PM.)
  • Fourth Grade Back To School Day & New Family Orientation: August 24, 3-5 PM (New family arrival time: 2:45 PM. Returning family arrival time: 3:30 PM.)
  • Fifth & Sixth Grade Back To School Day & New Family Orientation: August 17, 6-8 PM (New family arrival time: 5:45. Returning family arrival time: 6:45 PM.)
  • Seventh & Eighth Grade Back To School Day & New Family Orientation: August 19, 6-8 PM (New family arrival time: 5:45 PM. Returning family arrival time: 6:45 PM.)
  • Ninth Grade Back To School Day & New Family Orientation: August 18, 6-8 PM (New family arrival time: 5:45 PM. Returning family arrival time: 6:45 PM.)
  • 10th-12th Grade Back To School Day & New Family Orientation: August 23, 6-8 PM (New family arrival time: 5:45 PM. Returning family arrival time: 6:30 PM.)

Each of these Back To School Day & New Family Orientation events will include time with your division director as well as opportunities for students to meet their teachers, bring their school supplies, see their lockers, and walk their schedules (in Middle and Upper School). It will also include social time for returning and new students as well as their families.

To view these events in calendar form, click here.


Host An MPA International Student

international students in the makerspaceDo 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 several international students for the 2021-22 school year.

Our new students this past year found great success, experiencing near-daily “firsts,” and are loving their MPA journey. Between the adults in their school and home lives, our 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. Read More


Mounds Park Academy Closed July 3-11

MPA campusMounds Park Academy, including the building and grounds, business office, heads office, development, admissions, communications, athletics offices, and all division offices will be closed July 3-11, 2021. We appreciate your patience while employees spend time with their families. We will respond to emails and voicemails immediately upon our return!


2021 Commencement Rescheduled

Due to the extreme heat advisory and air quality alert in place today, the Mounds Park Academy Class of 2021 Commencement outdoor event has shifted to Sunday, June 6 at 9 AM. This will help us ensure a safer and more pleasant graduation experience for our seniors and their families, as well as staff and faculty.

The entire community is invited to join us live on Facebook or YouTube for the Mounds Park Academy Class of 2021 Commencement! Thank you for supporting our students and cheering them on from afar as they graduate from MPA!

Watch live on Facebook >

Watch live on YouTube >


Become A Parents Association Grade Rep!

middle school students smiling togetherThe Parents Association is looking forward to the incoming school year and the Grade Rep program, which is integral in building our school community. If you’re interested in becoming a grade rep for the 2021-2022 school year, please email Julie Bixby at juliebixby1@gmail.com. If you’re currently a grade rep, thank you for all your work in keeping us together over this challenging year. The Parents Association will assume you want to continue as a grade rep unless you choose to opt out by contacting Julie Bixby.


Fifth Grade Math Masters Conclude Season With Success

5th grade math mastersThe fifth grade Math Masters team competed at the end of April through a virtual competition. Five fifth grade students made up this team: Emre K., Liam L., Andrew L., Harper S., and Chris T. As a team, they took second place!

There were also some other individual awards as well, including two MPA students finishing in the top five places! Harper S. took fourth place in the Fact Drill round and fifth place as an individual. Emre K. took second place overall as an individual.

Congratulations to these five on their fabulous end to their season! We are so proud!


Last Call to Join Next Year’s PA Board!

middle school Spanish classJoin the MPA Parents Association Board! Although there are varying time commitments, the experience is consistently rewarding. We have several positions open including Grade Rep. Coordinator and Vice President. The deadline to submit your name is Tuesday, May 25. For more information (and submissions) please reach out to Kim Jakway (thejakways@gmail.com) or Susan Knapp (knapp.ssn@gmail.com).

Plus, Join Us Wednesday Mornings In The Garden!
Join us each Wednesday morning from 8-8:30 AM to connect with other parents and maybe get your hands dirty, spuddling in MPA’s gardens. See old friends and meet some new ones. We’ll meet either in front of the Lower School entrance, or if Michelle Mick is not there, around the corner, in the Library gardens, next to Door #2.


Save The Date! Homecoming 2021

Alumni at homecoming 2019Save the date to celebrate MPA Homecoming 2021 on Saturday, October 2!

Homecoming weekend is a wonderful way to celebrate who we are, where we come from, and where we are going together. We are thrilled every year to welcome alumni back at home to celebrate a milestone reunion and reconnect with friends. This is an opportunity for all of us to support and celebrate MPA! Come home to connect with us and one another, and to celebrate MPA.


Join The Alumni Association Board And Make An Impact

Kathryn Andersen '09 of the alumni boardThe Alumni Association Board is looking for new members for the 2021-22 year! Reconnect with your MPA roots, make your voice heard on important alumni topics, and make an impact on the MPA community. “Serving on the Alumni Association Board has been a great way to stay involved with, and give back to the MPA community,” says Kathryn Andersen ’09. “I’ve gotten to know MPA alumni outside of my graduating class, reconnected with our wonderful faculty and staff, and even met current students through my work on the board.” The alumni board seeks to foster a sense of community, among alumni, to cultivate relationships with other members of the MPA community, and to support Mounds Park Academy in fulfillment of its mission.

The Alumni Board commitment is for two years, with approximately eight meetings in a calendar year, beginning July 1. To submit your name for consideration, please send an email to alumni@moundsparkacademy.org.


Welcoming MPA’s New Faculty And Staff

MPA is very happy to introduce new faculty and staff to the MPA community! Please note: Some of these individuals are familiar faces who have been with us this year in temporary positions. They applied to continue at MPA, completed the application and interview process, and we are so very grateful to re-welcome them to the community long-term.


Sean RytherSean Ryther

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Physical Education/Health Teacher

From what school/organization are you coming?
Hilltop Primary School – Westonka Public Schools

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I have a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Northern Iowa and did my undergraduate studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato. I have 17 years of experience ranging from 10 years in Elk River, two years at an International School in South Korea, and five years at Hilltop Primary School. Prior to my formal teaching, I was Youth Development Coordinator for the YMCA. I was also an Activities Coordinator and Site Coordinator at the YWCA in Mankato. I have coached multiple sports allowing me to pour into students in their extracurricular activities.

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
The mission statement was discussed by every one of the committee members showing me that the mission isn’t something just on a website or a piece of paper. I had the opportunity to teach a lesson in front of the panel and showcase my passion. The chance to meet many different people allowed me to hear how great MPA was from others.

What’s your big dream?
My dream is that because of the interactions I had with other and the love I showed to others that their lives are truly changed for the better and they too can show that same kind of love to others.

What are you (and/or your family) passionate about?
I am passionate about family. Whether its riding bikes, building forts, playing board games, swimming, road tripping or just daily adventures, I love my time with my family. Fitness and being active is also a passion of mine.

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I swam in all the Great Lakes with three of my good friends in 16 hours and 26 minutes. Just one of my fun spontaneous adventures.

Liz SchwalenLiz Schwalen
What position will you be holding at MPA?
Upper School Learning Specialist

From what school/organization are you coming?
Totino-Grace High School

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I hold a Master’s in Special Education from Bethel University and a license in the area of Learning Disabilities. I have been serving a diverse population of students at Totino-Grace High School for 18 years. In addition, I bring with me a parent perspective as I personally have two children with dyslexia. I believe everyone is capable of learning; however, we learn in different ways. My commitment to my students is to challenge them by building on their strengths, encouraging them in a safe environment, and helping them become the best versions of themselves.

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
I was impressed by how comprehensive the interview process was, and I am grateful for the opportunity to explain in detail my skills, experiences, and traits within such a welcoming environment. The Administration and Search Committee were incredibly helpful and patiently answered all my questions. Even though I was a summer hire, I sensed the joy in learning and strong community connection through the Student Panel. I was touched that these students came to MPA on their summer break to connect with me.

What’s your big dream?
I dream of a time when all people can joyfully find their true selves and the world will adjust for the better.

What are you (and/or your family) passionate about?
I am passionate about spreading kindness, whether it be through a simple thank you, a listening ear, or in teaching my three kids to be friends to everyone. Some extracurriculars we enjoy doing as a family are messy art/science projects, biking, traveling, swimming, and soccer.

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I have been practicing yoga for over 18 years and hope to someday land a handstand.

Carlie ErdahlCarlie Erdahl
What position will you be holding at MPA?
Preschool Assistant Teacher

From what school/organization are you coming?
CNN

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I graduated from California State University Fullerton in 2017. While my major was in Cinema and Television Arts, spending the last six months working at MPA as a Lower School assistant has inspired me to pursue a Masters in Teaching beginning this fall. Outside of the academic setting, I work as a Girl’s soccer coach for Minneapolis United Soccer Club. Prior to moving back to Minnesota in 2020, I was a Technical Operations Assistant for CNN in Atlanta, Georgia.

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
From the minute you enter the building, it’s clear that MPA radiates joy, promotes passion for learning, and prioritizes acceptance for everyone. Perhaps the most inspiring part of the interview process was hearing the teachers talk about the preschool program and what it means to them. Their excitement and passion is contagious and further solidified my decision to pursue a career in education.

What’s your big dream?
Someday I hope to have my own classroom with my own collection of school supplies and teacher trinkets.

What are you (and/or your family) passionate about?
Sports are a major passion of mine. I’m a huge advocate for getting more girls into organized sports. As a soccer coach, I’m able to see their pride, excitement and confidence grow as they improve and master new skills. As a soccer player, being able to hold my own, work as a team and have fun is something that I hope to pass onto my students and my future children.

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I’ve been playing soccer since preschool! I played for high school, college and most recently a minor league team in Atlanta. I currently coach for Minneapolis United!

Genevievre ColianniGenevievre Colianni
What position will you be holding at MPA?
Third Grade teacher

From what school/organization are you coming?
St. John Paul II Catholic School

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I have a Bachelors in Architecture and Sociology from Connecticut College and an MAT in Childhood Education from Manhattanville College. Over the course of the past decade, I’ve honed my classroom teaching practice at multiple grade levels in various school settings. (That sounds very dry, but I promise I am fun!)

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
What I found most appealing about MPA during the interview process was that the community was so genuine and inviting. Each person I spoke with had something unique to share with me about MPA, but the underlying message was the same: “We are a family.”

What’s your big dream?
Not to sound cheesy, but I am living it. Teaching is one of my longtime joys and I am so looking forward to getting back to the classroom! As far a larger dreams dreams go, I hope to reduce carbon emissions.

What are you (and/or your family) passionate about?
In our family, we believe in the power of kindness, the magic in reading, and the wisdom nature holds.

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
My husband and I just bought our first house! We are very much looking forward to making it ours, and enjoying the new backyard with our 9 month old daughter and Labrador puppy. Read More