A Source Of Stability

from Bill Hudson, head of school

It was wonderful to see so many of you over the past week! We had a fantastic turnout at the New Parent Dinners, Curriculum Nights, and Homecoming. I enjoyed the many engaging conversations I had, the strong community spirit, and the beautiful stories about how well the school year has started. The strong partnership between families and the school is something I think is quite unique about MPA. This partnership is crucial for student success, built upon trusting relationships, open and transparent communication, and shared values. Perhaps now, more than ever before.

Parenting is demanding. Because of the VUCA world we live in, research shows that today’s parents are spending more time on child-rearing activities than ever, with mothers spending an average of 104 minutes a day tending to children in 2012 versus only 54 minutes in 1965. Unfortunately, the added time spent with their kids has meant sacrificing their own sense of social fabric, as adults are increasingly unaffiliated and uninvolved with other adults.

Parenting is lonely. Studies found that more than one-third of adults 45 and older felt lonely in 2020, a number that jumped to 71% when it came to Millennials. Adults today report a significant decline in the number of close relationships with friends, neighbors and coworkers and a decrease in involvement in houses of worship.

Parenting is hard. The complexities of child-rearing in today’s world, along with the increasing anxiety many parents are experiencing because of rapid societal change, a racial reckoning, political discord, economic volitivity, and a public health crisis, have left parents feeling acutely vulnerable. Many parents look to schools as a source of stability in this time of uncertainty. Read More


Parents Association News & Events September 22, 2022

Faculty and Staff Appreciation
Thursday, September 29-Thursday, October 6
As the school year at MPA kicks into high gear and we prepare for Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences, the Parents Association is continuing the annual tradition of Fall Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week! With more Faculty and Staff than ever before, the MPA PA invites you to check out this link and consider signing up for a snack or beverage donation. You can also sign up to spend time in the teaching kitchen, serving our staff during this fun week. There are even evening volunteer options for you or, if you are the parent of an Upper School student looking for service hours, students can volunteer at the evening Staff Dinners by showing up or emailing Tara Lafferty at tmattrn@aol.com. Donated items can be placed at PA Carts located just inside the Lower School and Upper School entrances.

Please adhere to MPA’s Food Allergy policy. MPA Food Allergy Information and Snack Safely Website Snack Safely Guide. Questions? Please contact Tara Matthews Lafferty at TMattRN@aol.com

Sports Swap, Last Chance!
3-5:30 PM through Friday, September 23
The Sports Swap is here! The PA is selling gently used equipment this week after school in the Atrium. Priced to sell, the funds will be used to purchase playground equipment for LS and MS students and/or the US athletics department. Unsold items will be donated to charity. Questions? Reach out to Christine Larson at clarsonPA@moundsparkacademy.org.

We could still use a few volunteers. To volunteer, please click here. Read More


Homecoming 2022 Recap

Homecoming 2022: We Are Panthers was a huge success!

Thank you to students, parents, faculty and staff, volunteers, alumni, and friends of MPA who joined in to make this year’s Homecoming festivities a wonderful time for all. After a week of celebration and school spirit, Saturday was a festive day with MPA athletics, camps, and honoring MPA alumni.

Thank you to Olympian Mason Ferlic ’11 for leading many Lower School students who participated in our cross country clinic, and sharing his experiences as an MPA graduate and Olympian. Students loved the physical activity and joyfully shared their experiences “running a mile” and showing off their new skills.

More than 30 students also participated in the soccer camp led by Mr. Sheehan and Mr. Scinto. We loved watching parents cheering from the sidelines. Read More


Empowering Our Students

from Bill Hudson, head of school

“We’re blending the entire history of the American modern property market with climate modeling,” says Parag Khanna, founder and CEO of Climate Alpha. Data on the impact of climate change on specific regions or locales is readily available, but Khanna went deeper, asking “how are cities adapting and investing in infrastructure to protect against climate impacts? Where are jobs growing? Where are people moving now, despite extreme heat or wildfires or sea level rise?” Her innovative app uses machine learning and proprietary algorithms to look at hundreds of variables so that investors, individuals, companies, and government can make informed decisions to plan for the future.

Climate Alpha is an excellent example of the shift from the Information Age to what author and futurist Daniel Pink calls the Conceptual Age. While the Information Age was all about big data, the Conceptual Age is concerned with how to use information in new and novel ways that make the world a better place. I think a lot about what this shift means for our students. What it meant to live, learn, and thrive 25 years ago is much different than what it means today and even more different than what it will mean 25 years from now.

The first priority of 2024ward, our new strategic plan, challenges us to “Empower students to live, learn, and thrive in our increasingly complex and globalized society.” We will 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 build upon our school’s strengths in hands-on, experiential, project-based learning. Read More


Lower School Division News September 15, 2022

from Dr. Ann Jurewicz, Lower School director

Curriculum Night and Homecoming, September 16-17
Thank you to everyone who attended the New Family Dinner and Curriculum Night. It was wonderful to connect with you and we hope you feel more informed about the wonderful learning happening in our lower school classrooms. It is hard to believe this marks the fourth week we have been in school. We are excited that so many of the “normal” traditions have returned, and we continue to increase opportunities to celebrate as a community together.

Assembly
Friday MPA will have its first all-school assembly from 2:20-3 PM celebrating Homecoming. Children in the Lower School should wear the MPA Homecoming t-shirt given to them this week in homerooms to show school spirit that, “We Are All Panthers!” There will also be an opportunity for face painting. Saturday, September 17 is a full day of scheduled events, so come and join in the fun!

Behavior, Social-Emotional, and Academic Support in Lower School
This year, counseling services are providing guidance on early interventions to help teachers and students learn strategies in positive behavior, constructive emotional response, and academic success. This means counselors will be working more directly with all MPA students to support them prior to any direct counseling referral. Counseling faculty now have a dedicated space in the main LS Office next to Dr. J. and will team with Dr. J. in promoting positive behavior and success for all Lower School students. Watch for upcoming information on our next Paret Chat in October in which we invite you to learn more about student support in the Lower School. Read More


Middle School Division News September 15, 2022

from Dr. Jenn Milam, Middle School director

I am pleased with how everyone is settling in so far to this new year and I appreciate your support at home with checking Schoology, offering structure for homework, ensuring assignments are completed, and that your students are as successful as they can be. As many of you have heard me say, Middle School is a “time-on” not a “time-off” even as our young people live in bigger bodies and speak to us with larger vocabularies! Remember, to also protect “down time” and not to over-schedule—everything can be so exciting and so fun, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed!

Study Hall and Panther Den!
I am so pleased with how effectively the study hall is being used this year and how well students are following the expectations of productive time. I am also grateful for your attention to coming into the building to sign your student out from Study Hall. I am a big proponent of supervision and safety, and this small act (even if a tiny bit inconvenient) ensures that all students are safe and accounted for.

Middle School Volleyball and Soccer
Practices start today, and you should have received an email from the Athletic Office with more detailed instructions. If you did not receive a communication, or if you have questions, please email Dawn Zimmerman (dzimmerman@moundsparkacademy.org). Read More


Upper School Division News September 15, 2022

from Mark Segal, Upper School director

I am sure that you, like me, have been in an in-depth conversation with another person when, out of the blue, their attention became distracted and they, instinctively, reached for their pocket or purse to examine the notification that arrived on their cell phone. Urgent or not, the buzz or ring distracted the person you were speaking with enough to significantly shift the direction of your interaction. Similar to Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiment with the ringing of a ball and dog salivating, large percentages of individuals have become conditioned to act as soon as our cellular phones ring or buzz.

This became far more noticeable with students when after they had spent long periods away from peers, activities, and social interactions due to pandemic driven shutdowns. For many students the weeks and months of isolation was difficult emotionally and psychologically as they endured months without almost everything that they valued – sports, theatre, music, friends, etc. Thankfully, students returned to school and their activities, but returned to normalcy “out of practice” when it came to social graces, meeting expectations, and the expected give and take of everyday life.

Prior to Covid, psychologist Jean Twenge had been studying teen mental health, and in her 2017 book, iGen, she shared, “the historic downturn in the well-being of young people coincided almost exactly with the dramatic rise of the smartphone and social media.” English teacher and author Tyler Rablin shares in a recent EdSurge article that, “when students pick up their phones, they are immediately bombarded with notifications and noise, which doesn’t support learning.” He continues that there are creative tools and apps that are beneficial to learning, “but these tools and apps are not actively reaching out to them. Instead, it’s TikTok, Instagram and games that are causing distraction. Their phones are actively and intentionally working against the goals of learning.” Read More


Parents Association News & Events September 15, 2022

Sports Swap
September 17-23
The Sports Swap is almost here! There’s still time to bring in your good condition used sports equipment. The PA will organize and sell it at Homecoming and the week after. Priced to sell, the funds will be used to purchase playground equipment for LS and MS students and/or the US athletics department. Unsold items will be donated to charity. Donations are now being accepted at the Lower School and Upper School entrances. Look for clearly marked boxes. Questions? Reach out to Christine Larson at clarsonPA@moundsparkacademy.org.

We are still looking for volunteers for Homecoming day and afterward! To volunteer, please click here.

Faculty and Staff Appreciation
Thursday, September 29-Thursday, October 6
As the school year at MPA kicks into high gear and we prepare for Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences, the Parents Association is continuing the annual tradition of Fall Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week! With more Faculty and Staff than ever before, the MPA PA invites you to check out this link and consider signing up for a snack or beverage donation. You can also sign up to spend time in the teaching kitchen serving our staff during this fun week. Donated items can be placed at PA Carts located just inside the Lower School and Upper School entrances. Please adhere to MPA’s Food Allergy policy. MPA Food Allergy Information and Snack Safely Website Snack Safely Guide. Questions? Please contact Tara Matthews Lafferty at TMattRN@aol.com.

Community Grants Initiative, an Exciting Opportunity for Students and Faculty(Formerly known as Microfunding)
The Parents Association Community Grants Initiative provides grant-based funding for projects and programs, existing or new. The funds are available for use by student clubs and organizations, as well as for teacher-led initiatives that support the mission of the MPA PA. To access these grants, interested groups must fill out an application. Priority will be given to applications received from September 1-October 31. Applications received outside of that window will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis. Interested in learning more? Review our application and procedures here. Questions? Email Natalie King at nkingPA@moundsparkacademy.org.

Wednesday Morning Walks
Wednesdays at 8 AM
The Parents Association invites parents and guardians to get together Wednesday mornings after drop-off with Michelle Mick. We’ll meet at the flagpole near the LS entrance. Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School families are welcome. Chat with new parents and connect with friends. Younger children are welcome to walk with us. Questions? Contact Michelle Mick at mwesselyPA@moundsparkacademy.org.

Gardening at MPA: Harvest Day
Saturday, October 1, 9-11 AM
Join us for a gardening day from 9-11 AM. We’ll be harvesting what we’ve grown in the garden along with continuing upkeep. All families are welcome. The second harvest day happens on October 1 from 9-11 AM. Questions? Contact Michelle Mick at mwesselyPA@moundsparkacademy.org.

A big thank you to our volunteers for gardening day this past Saturday!

Gardening at MPA
Thursdays at 8 AM
Enjoy the Monarch butterflies filling up before their long migration down to Mexico — pop into the Library gardens after drop-off and see them flitting around the Liatris (long purple flower). In addition, we are calling all those who want to spend some time outside at MPA in the gardens! You’re invited to spend time tidying up, building, sowing, and spuddling around in the dirt surrounded by beautiful flowers and greenery. Come for a few minutes or stay for an hour or two.

All are most welcome including friends and family. We’ll meet outside under the flagpole at the LS entrance, with gardening tools in hand! No gardening experience is necessary. Questions? Contact Michelle Mick at mwesselyPA@moundsparkacademy.org.

Be a Volunteer in the PA!
As we start a new school year, now is a great time to volunteer for PA activities! All families are members of the PA, and there are many ways to become involved. You’ll have wonderful leadership opportunities, get to know other families, and help build our school community. If you’re interested in learning more, email PA@moundsparkacademy.org.


Invite A Friend To Discover Something Remarkable

Invite a friend to join us and experience the joy at MPA’s largest PreK-12 admission event, the MPA Preview! Held on Sunday, November 6 at 2 PM, this event will be a structured program that will allow prospective students and parents to get a sense of what makes MPA an exceptional place to learn and grow.

Our visitors will rotate among several lessons taught by expert faculty. These will be hands-on, experiential lessons that are abbreviated versions of the original, modified to be appropriate for all ages. Between lessons, they will have an opportunity to see our state-of-the-art facilities.

Kindly invite your friends and neighbors to RSVP in advance for this engaging program below. If you have any questions, contact the Office of Admission at 651-748-5577 or admission@moundsparkacademy.org. We can’t wait to meet them!


Picture Day Reminder

Picture day is approaching! Our vendor is Jostens and you should have received a flyer from school this week with information about how to order your pictures online.

Picture day is Monday, September 12

Retake day is Tuesday, October 11

Note that all sixth graders will have their photos taken on retake day due to the Eagle Bluff retreat. All students should be in school uniform or dress code. Jostens asks that your child avoids wearing the color green. Learn more at the link below and if you have any questions, please contact Sara Mohn, yearbook advisor, at smohn@moundsparkacademy.org.