All Students Benefit

Heads Messagefrom Dr. Bill Hudson, head of school

I recently went through some boxes in my mother’s house and came across a collection of my elementary school report cards. Year after year, very similar comments went something like this: “Bill would do much better if he learned to raise his hand and not blurt out answers during class discussions.” “Bill needs to be better about handing in his assignments.” “Bill scored highly on tests, but his lower grades reflect the absence of homework.” And “If Bill would only try harder, his grades would be higher.” I talked too much, didn’t raise my hand, and didn’t turn in my homework, but I scored very high on tests. Nonetheless, I felt like a failure, which only compounded the problem.

Many years later, I ran into my fifth-grade teacher, who was delighted to know I had earned a doctorate and was experiencing success in my career. “I always knew you’d do well. You had the highest IQ in the class.” I was stunned and wondered what my academic career would be like if we knew then what we know now about ADHD.

While ADHD affects how we learn, there is no correlation with intelligence. It is similar for learning differences such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Neurodiversity is used more frequently to promote the idea that conditions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other neurodevelopmental conditions are natural variations of the human brain rather than disorders to be cured. People with learning differences may have difficulty acquiring or demonstrating knowledge in traditional ways, but that doesn’t mean they cannot succeed in rigorous coursework or at schools like MPA.

The percentage of students with learning differences has consistently been on the rise in schools across the country. In a recent survey of independent heads of schools from across the United States, 85% said that supporting the learning needs of neurodiverse students is a priority for them. This reflects a 52% increase in just one year, from 2023 to 2024.

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Parents Association News And Events May 23, 2024

PA Gardening at MPA
We are looking for volunteers to help with the MPA garden! No previous gardening experience or long-term commitment is necessary. Traditionally, we have met on Thursday or Friday mornings after drop-off, but we can be flexible with schedules. If interested, please contact Sara Carroll at smtanaka@gmail.com or Tenia Kalogeropoulou at tenia2@yahoo.com to coordinate.

2024-2025 Volunteer Opportunities
The PA is looking for volunteers for next year. We need volunteers in all divisions, supporting everything from classroom parties to teacher appreciation to summer events. We want all parents and guardians to feel welcome and to engage in meaningful ways that fit their schedules. We often hear that people want to help but do not want to be in charge. We are working on turning planning into more of a committee structure. If you would be willing to help organize within a group setting, reach out. Please get in touch with the PA at PA@moundsparkacademy.org to let us know how you might like to be involved. It is a great way to give back to the community and connect with other parents!

Summer Sporting Events
MPA x MNUFC: MN United vs. Austin FC, Allianz Field
Saturday, June 22, 7:30 PM
Get your tickets ($49 each) in our group section here! The deadline to purchase tickets is June 7.

MPA x St. Paul Saints: St. Paul Saints vs. Omaha Storm Chasers, CHS Field
Friday, July 26, 7:07 PM (fireworks to follow the game)
Purchase tickets (infield seats this year!) in our group section here. The deadline to purchase tickets is July 8.


Celebrating This Year’s Retirees

from Dr. Bill Hudson, head of school

In 2017, when Edutopia, a well-respected educational foundation, asked its readers to describe the traits of a life-changing teacher, very few of the responses were about test scores or academics. People overwhelmingly said that great teachers make their students feel safe and loved, believe in their students, model patience, and help their students reach their full potential—all qualities that remain largely unmeasured. I can’t think of a better way to describe the impact of fourth-grade teacher Scott Wilson and library assistant Kristy Petrich, who are retiring from MPA this year.

Many people will be surprised to learn that teaching is Scott’s second career. From 1987-1998, Scott owned and operated a successful restaurant in Winter Park, Colorado. He went back to school and earned a master’s degree in elementary education at the University of St. Thomas. Scott began substitute teaching at MPA in 1999 before becoming a permanent teacher in the 2000-01 school year. Since then, Scott has taught kindergarten, first, second, and fourth grades at MPA.

Colleagues and students describe Scott as kind, gentle, patient, and wise. Scott has always been flexible and supportive of his colleagues. “I once heard someone refer to him as the ‘Lower School Handyman’ because if there’s a flat tire, someone stuck in a ditch, or in need of a help hanging lights or fixing a faucet, he is there,” shared fellow fourth-grade teacher DeeDee Stacy.

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Parents Association News And Events May 16, 2024

PAGardening at MPA
We are looking for volunteers to help with the MPA garden! No previous gardening experience or long-term commitment is necessary. Traditionally, we have met on Thursday or Friday mornings after drop-off, but we can be flexible with schedules. If interested, please contact Sara Carroll at smtanaka@gmail.com or Tenia Kalogeropoulou at tenia2@yahoo.com to coordinate.

2024-2025 Volunteer Opportunities
The PA is looking for volunteers for next year. We need volunteers in all divisions, supporting everything from classroom parties to teacher appreciation to summer events. We want all parents and guardians to feel welcome and to engage in meaningful ways that fit their schedules. We often hear that people want to help but do not want to be in charge. We are working on turning planning into more of a committee structure. If you would be willing to help organize within a group setting, reach out. Please get in touch with the PA at PA@moundsparkacademy.org to let us know how you might like to be involved. It is a great way to give back to the community and connect with other parents!

Summer Sporting Events
MPA x MNUFC: MN United vs. Austin FC, Allianz Field
Saturday, June 22, 7:30 PM
Get your tickets ($49 each) in our group section here! The deadline to purchase tickets is June 7.

MPA x St. Paul Saints: St. Paul Saints vs. Omaha Storm Chasers, CHS Field
Friday, July 26, 7:07 PM (fireworks to follow the game)
Purchase tickets (infield seats this year!) in our group section here. The deadline to purchase tickets is July 8.


Lower School Division News May 16, 2024

from Jennifer Le Varge, Lower School director 

Mark Your Calendars 

  • Friday, May 17: LS PreK Music Family Share, 9-9:30 AM, Panther Center
  • Friday, May 17: LS Grade 1 Poetry Picnic, 2-3 PM, Playground Area; Martin Lenz Harrison Library (rain location)
  • Thursday, May 23: LS Grade 3 Field Trip, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM, Off Campus
  • Friday, May 24: PreK-Grade 12 Spirit Wear Day!
  • Friday, May 24: Senior Walk, 1-1:45 PM, South Entrance
  • Friday, May 24: LS G1 Ms. O’Keefe Class Play, 8:45-9:15 AM, Room 21
  • Friday, May 24: LS G1 Ms. Steingraeber Class Play, 8:45-9:15 AM, Room 21
  • Friday, May 24: LS Grade 3 Showcase, 1:45-3 PM, Family Commons
  • Monday, May 27: No Classes, Memorial Day
  • Tuesday, May 28: LS Field Day, 8:30-11 AM, Soccer Fields, South Lawn
  • Wednesday, May 29: LS/US Grade 4 Introduction to the Instruments Concert, 10:30-11:20 AM, Panther Center
  • Wednesday, May 29: LS G3 Ms. Wermager Class Play, 1:15-1:45 PM, Black Box
  • Wednesday, May 29: LS G3 Ms. Stewart Class Play, 2:15-2:45 PM, Black Box
  • Thursday, May 30: Development Open House & Volunteer Breakfast, 7:30-9:30 AM, Family Commons
  • Thursday, May 30: Retirement Gathering, 4-6 PM, Martin Lenz Harrison Library
  • Friday, May 31: LS G4 Mr. Wilson Class Play, 1:15-1:45 PM, Black Box
  • Friday, May 31: LS G4 Ms. Kimmerle/Stacy Class Play, 2:15-2:45 PM, Black Box
  • Monday, June 3: LS End of Trimester 3
  • Monday, June 3: LS G2 Ms. Scalia Class Play, 8:15-8:45 AM, Black Box
  • Monday, June 3: LS G2 Ms. Fisher Class Play, 9:15-9:45 AM, Black Box
  • Monday, June 3: LS/MS Grades 4 and 8 Moving Up Ceremony, 1:30-3 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Tuesday, June 4: Last Day of School, All School Yearbook Assembly and Signing, 8-10:30 AM, Nicholson Center
  • Tuesday, June 4: Dismissal, 10:30 AM, no afternoon care or transportation home
  • Tuesday, June 4: Kindergarten Graduation And Class Picnic, 9:15 AM-2 PM, Family Commons, Gallery, Playground
  • Wednesday, June 5-Friday, June 7: No PreK
  • Monday, June 10: First Day of PreK

While we are on the threshold of the end of the academic year, and the new beginnings that summer offers, it is important to reflect on our journey thus far. What skills has your child gained over the past 10 months? What were some bumpy spots in their development as humans this year? What were some breakthroughs, triumphs, and successes? These questions could be fun to bring up at the dinner table at home, as we help our students not only set goals for the future but to look back and realize just how far they have come already.

CHAMP News
At our final CHAMP assembly for the academic year, we learned about demonstrating self-control. Mr. Sheehan also helped us to understand self-control in the context of playground games and gave us some great tips for being good sports… and great CHAMPs! The children also heard from their Upper School friends about three different ways that they can help take action in our local communities by participating in the hygiene product drive, the plastic film recycling drive, and the clothing drive. Please check out Schoology in the coming days for more information on these worthy initiatives, which are part of the Senior Service Projects in the Upper School. The students also presented the new trash bin that they earned as part of our Earth Day Challenge. Special thanks to our kindergarten community, who spearheaded this initiative!

May Sprit Days: Wear Your MPA Gear
On Fridays in May (May 17, 24, and 31), Lower School students are invited to wear their MPA gear (sweatshirt or t-shirt) as their top, with uniform bottoms. Let’s continue to show our Panther pride throughout the month of May!

Field Day on May 28
Please look out for more information from our PhyEd team on the upcoming Field Day which will take place on the morning of May 28. The team is looking for parent volunteers to help make the event a success. Please check your email for more. Read More


Middle School Division News May 16, 2024

MS Division News from Dr. Jenn Milam, Middle School director

Mark Your Calendars 

  • Thursday, May 16: MS/US Band Concert, 7-8 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Monday, May 20-24: MS Grade 7 Washington D.C. Trip
  • Thursday, May 23: MS Grade 5 Inventor’s Fair, 2:20-3 PM, Family Commons
  • Thursday, May 23: MS Grade 5/6 BIPOC Affinity Group, 2:20-3 PM, Panther Center
  • Friday, May 24: PreK-Grade 12 Spirit Wear Day!
  • Friday, May 24: Senior Walk, 1-1:45 PM, South Entrance
  • Monday, May 27: No Classes, Memorial Day
  • Tuesday, May 28: MS Field Day, 12:30-3 PM, Soccer Fields, South Lawn
  • Thursday, May 30: MS Grade 7/8 BIPOC Affinity Group, 2:20-3 PM, Panther Center
  • Thursday, May 30: Development Open House & Volunteer Breakfast, 7:30-9:30 AM, Family Commons
  • Thursday, May 30: Retirement Gathering, 4-6 PM, Library
  • Friday, May 31: MS Grades 5/6 Canoe Trip, 8-3 PM
  • Friday, May 31: MS Grades 7/8 Valleyfair Trip, 8-3 PM, Valleyfair
  • Monday, June 3: MS/US End of Quarter 4
  • Monday, June 3: LS/MS Grades 4 and 8 Moving Up Ceremony, 1:30-3 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Tuesday, June 4: Last Day of School, All School Yearbook Assembly and Signing, 8-10:30 AM, Nicholson Center
  • Tuesday, June 4: Dismissal, 10:30 AM, no afternoon care or transportation home

There are just 12 1/4 days of school remaining (who’s counting?), and it’s most definitely a sprint to the finish! As we move through the next two weeks, please reach out to the Middle School office if you have any questions or need clarification.

Spring Sports: Calendars, Cancellations, and Coordinating Schedules!
Spring sports seasons are upon us and schedules can be very fluid, depending on the weather. Please know that we, along with the Athletic Department, do our best to avoid last-minute cancellations of games and practices, but sometimes they cannot be avoided. Please bookmark the MPA Athletics website on your phone and check the weekly athletic schedule regularly to plan and organize your family activities. Additionally, please ensure that Dawn Zimmerman has your most current contact information to be in touch as needed. You can reach her at dzimmerman@moundsparkacademy.org.

Middle and Upper School Band Concert Tonight!
Please join us at 7 PM for our final performance of the year. Students should report to Mr. Skrove at 6:15 PM—dressed in concert black—ready to perform! Our Middle and Upper School bands will be sharing their talent and growth this evening in the Nicholson Center.

Under Beds, In Closets, and Stuffed In Drawers
Please have your students look in all the familiar spaces for books, materials, and other MPA-issued property that needs to be returned! We appreciate you returning gently used items that can be used by future students. If an item is damaged, billing will be initiated via TADS. Read More


Upper School Division News May 16, 2024

US Division Newsfrom Mark Segal, Upper School director, and Jay Dean, assistant Upper School director

Mark You Calendars

  • Thursday, May 16: MS/US Band Concert, 7-8 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Friday, May 17: Class of 2024 Last Day of Classes
  • Friday, May 17: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20 AM-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Friday, May 17: US Robotics Season-End Banquet, 3-7 PM, Family Commons
  • Wednesday, May 22: US Choral Concert, 7-8 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Friday, May 24: US Senior Class Meeting, 8-9 AM, Recital Hall
  • Friday, May 24: Senior Performances, 10 AM, Recital Hall
  • Friday, May 24: US Senior Lunch and Alumni Panel, 11 AM-1 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Friday, May 24: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20 AM-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Friday, May 24: Senior Walk, 1-1:45 PM, South Entrance
  • Friday, May 24: Upper School Awards Assembly, 1:45-3 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Monday, May 27: No Classes, Memorial Day
  • Tuesday, May 28-29: US World Language Finals
  • Tuesday, May 28: US Senior Service Fair, 1-4 PM, McKeown Track
  • Wednesday, May 29: US World Language Finals
  • Wednesday, May 29: LS/US Grade 4 Introduction to the Instruments Concert, 10:30-11:20 AM, Panther Center
  • Wednesday, May 29: Madrigal Singers Auditions, 3-6 PM, Recital Hall
  • Thursday, May 30: Development Open House & Volunteer Breakfast, 7:30-9:30 AM, Family Commons
  • Thursday, May 30: Retirement Gathering, 4-6 PM, Library
  • Friday, May 31: US Math Finals
  • Friday, May 31: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20 AM-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Friday, May 31: US English Finals, 12-1:30 PM
  • Monday, June 3: MS/US End of Quarter
  • Monday, June 3: US Science Finals, 8:45-10:15 AM
  • Monday, June 3: US Social Studies Finals, 12-1:30 PM
  • Tuesday, June 4: Last Day of School, All School Yearbook Assembly and Signing, 8-10:30 AM, Nicholson Center
  • Tuesday, June 4: Dismissal, 10:30 AM, no afternoon care or transportation home
  • Wednesday, June 5: US Senior Dinner, 6-8 PM, Dellwood Country Club
  • Friday, June 7: Madrigal and Concert Choir Rehearsal, 10-11 AM, Nicholson Center
  • Friday, June 7: US Mandatory Commencement Rehearsal, 11 AM-1 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Saturday, June 8: US Commencement, 6-7 PM, Nicholson Center

For those of you who don’t know, as a requirement for graduation, MPA students must engage in at least 60 hours of community service during their Upper School years, including a focused, 30-hour project during their senior year. In the week leading up to graduation, students display these projects in a community-wide event we call Service-Con. The mission of this year’s Service-Con, developed by the students during Senior Seminar class earlier this year, is “MPA’s Service-Con creates a culture of service and communicates MPA’s values of volunteerism and community involvement. Meant to serve both MPA and external communities, Service-Con is an opportunity for Seniors to demonstrate the importance of service.”

The members of the Class of 2024 have been working hard, serving our school community and the community around us in myriad ways. To give you a taste of what will be on display at this year’s Service-Con, here are the names of some of our students’ projects: “Faces of Romanian Culture”; “‘Thanks, Bud!:’ A Stronger Support System for New Students”; “Looking Up: Local Community Astronomy Outreach”; “Acres for Life: Peaceful Pastures Zen Garden”; and “Women and Words: A Partnership with the Minnesota Women’s Press.” Fun fact: at the time of this publication, the Class of 2024 has recorded 3,079 hours of service (and counting!). Read More


Parents Association News And Events May 9, 2024

PA Thank You!
A HUGE fresh-baked thank you to everyone who came into the Teaching Kitchen on Tuesday to clean, bake, and decorate cookies for all MPA staff on National Teachers Appreciation Day! We baked nearly 500 cookies for staff from Rebecca’s Nut-Free Cookies and Sweet Loren’s. Staff had a warm cookie with lunch and could sign up to take a small box home. Thank you, volunteers!

2024-2025 Volunteer Opportunities
The PA is looking for volunteers for next year. We need volunteers in all divisions, supporting everything from classroom parties to teacher appreciation to summer events. We want all parents and guardians to feel welcome and to engage in meaningful ways that fit their schedules. We often hear that people want to help out but do not want to be in charge. We are working on turning planning into more of a committee structure. If you would be willing to help organize within a group setting, reach out. Please get in touch with the PA at PA@moundsparkacademy.org to let us know how you might like to be involved. It is a great way to give back to the community and connect with other parents.

Farewell Party
Tuesday, May 28
Please join our middle schoolers and families for Field Day and a Farewell to John and Jenn Milam. Contact your grade reps or Molly.Oliver1@gmail.com for more information.

Summer Sporting Events
MPA x MNUFC: MN United vs. Austin FC, Allianz Field
Saturday, June 22, 7:30 PM
Get your tickets ($49 each) in our group section here! The deadline to purchase tickets is June 7.

MPA x St. Paul Saints: St. Paul Saints vs. Omaha Storm Chasers, CHS Field
Friday, July 26, 7:07 PM (fireworks to follow the game)
Purchase tickets (infield seats this year!) in our group section here. The deadline to purchase tickets is July 8.


MPA’s Portrait Of A Graduate And Competency Framework

HeadsMessagefrom Dr. Bill Hudson, head of school

As the school year draws to a close, we begin to celebrate the progress and growth of students, including art shows, concerts, competitions, special events, and ceremonies. The pinnacle of our academic year is commencement on Saturday, June 8. This event is a significant milestone for our school and for the 61 members of the MPA Class of 2024 as we come together to celebrate their achievements and honor their journey.

Other accomplishments are also worth celebrating, such as our progress toward realizing our strategic plan. In particular, I want to call attention to the work of a committee comprised of faculty, staff, and administrators that has been working throughout the year to create a competency framework grounded in our mission and actualizing the MPA Portrait of a Graduate. I’ve written many times before about competency-based (or mastery-based) learning and developing our unique MPA competency framework (these articles date back to 2015, but see “A Roadmap for Continuous Improvement” and “2024ward: An Update” for the two most recent). Before I share the latest update, I’d like to provide some context.

The first priority of 2024ward challenges us to “Empower students to live, learn, and thrive in our increasingly complex and globalized society.” We do this by creating customized pathways of learning for students through curricular innovation and leveraging advances in educational technology. In addition to maximizing the use and integration of technology, MPA has been on a multi-year journey to continually enhance our school’s strengths in hands-on, experiential, project-based learning. Read More


MPA Trio Selected For All-State Choir

All-State Congratulations to Warner Reid ’26, Truman Wilgocki ’26, and Chali Yang ‘26, who auditioned and were selected to be members of the 2024-25 All-State Choir program. They were three of 1,491 students who auditioned for the various music ensembles that comprise All-State. Warner will sing in the Mixed Choir under the direction of Jake Runestad, while Truman and Chali will perform as part of the Tenor Bass Choir under the direction of Dr. Derrick Fox. The All-State Choirs convene this summer on the campus of St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. Camp will conclude with a concert featuring all three All-State Choirs. Warner, Truman, and Chali, we are so proud of you!