Congratulations MPA Volleyball Conference Champs!

MPA is acknowledging the volleyball team’s overwhelming success this year, finishing 18-3 overall, and undefeated in the IMAC conference! This is the second time in three years that we have swept the conference without losing a single set. Good luck tonight against SPA! We will be celebrating our seniors Kaija, Jenna Sherwood, Maddie Black, and Vienna Schreifels.

Congratulations to all of the players and coaches, go Panthers!

Great job to our stat leaders from this season:

Kills–Kaija Kunze-Hoeg with 248 and Lola Pilon with 227
Aces–Else Kunze-Hoeg with 73, second in the state.
Assists–Else with 580, currently fifth in the state
Digs–Kaija with 236, Lola with 197, and Violette Cammack with 175

Connect With MPA Parents This October

from the MPA Parents Association,


Sip Coffee and Relax by the River
Wednesday, October 20 at 9 AM. Celebrate the start of MEA weekend with a relaxing morning in Stillwater. Bring your chairs and meet at the parking lot by River Market, 221 North Main Street, Stillwater, Minnesota. From there, you can sit by the river with a coffee, take a walk across the lift bridge, ride the Brown’s Creek trail, or head to a nearby park to play.

LS Halloween Party

We are so excited to be able to host a Halloween party again this year! Weather permitting, we are planning an outdoor party. We are happy to share that we can have parent volunteers again this year!  We are in need of volunteers to help with set up, the individual parties, and/or clean up.

Masks are required for all visitors. Vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors need to stay home and not come to campus if experiencing covid symptoms as detailed in the screening app. Guests should maintain 3-6 ft. physical distancing when possible. Visitors must also report any symptoms 48 hours after being on campus for symptom response protocols.

Sign up here

Thank You!
The MPA Parents Association would like to thank everyone who participated in and donated to the recent Fall 2021 Faculty/Staff Appreciation Week! Trying to hold a “traditional” Appreciation week during still unsettled times was quite a feat. We are so grateful for the amazing response from families that helped us feed and hydrate all staff during the week. Teachers were also able to get dinner to go or eat on campus on the Thursday evenings before conferences. Special thanks to Chef Chris and everyone at Sage who helped with the dinners. The MPA PA would also like to thank Angie in Development and Cherie in Administration for being our people on the inside and setting everything up for us.

Thank you again to our wonderful community, Tara Lafferty, Shari Jacobus and the MPA PA.

Thank You to Our Gardeners!
Thank you to all those students and families who helped with the Spruce Up on Saturday of last week at the Larpenteur retention pond. Thanks to the massive help and pure commitment we were able to remove much of the blockage in the pond—with the most revolting of smells wafting around as a result! We cleaned up around the pond, removing both trash and many volunteer saplings. We continue to work on this area, with some more tidying up to do, and will be spreading native seed soon, in the hope that we can all benefit from this lovely space!

Thank you again! Michelle Mick and the MPA PA.

Parents Connect

Wednesday Morning Walks
Since there is no school this coming Wednesday, the Parents Association invites parents and guardians to attend our event in Stillwater next Wednesday morning. After MEA, our Wednesday morning walks will resume depending on weather and interest.

Save the Date!
If you enjoyed the last Spruce Up, we have another planned for November, to help Mr. Thomsen’s area. It will involve more tidying up, removing weeds, saplings, and helping to improve the access for students to learn and enjoy. Saturday, November 13th, 2-4 PM, meeting near the US entrance. If you have any questions, do send me an email at

Remember to bring a mask to all events! Hope to see you there!

Middle School Division News

from Dr. Jenn Milam, Middle School Director

Conferences, Quarter 1, and Partnership

This note marks our progress through the seventh week of school—it’s hard to believe that the weeks are speeding by as they are! We are sharing learnings, successes, and challenges with you via parent conferences, which we hope you find helpful and insightful as you peek into the school-life of your students. Without a doubt, a return to school, routine, high expectations, and full schedules has been an adjustment for all of us—parents, families, teachers, and students alike.

At the end of this news and notes, I will offer some insight into what school leaders and researchers are finding just below the surface of the daily interactions between students and teachers and, in the general milieu of the school days that is reflecting some stress and overwhelm for students and teachers, alike. I will also invite you to attend one of my series of parent coffees where I hope to solidify your partnership with me, the MPA faculty and staff, and your family to help our young people be their healthy, compassionate, and respectful selves in such a way that honors both your family values and those we hold at MPA.

The benefit and advantage of selecting an independent school for your young person’s education is that you choose it based not only on exceptional educational outcomes, but also on shared investments and ways of being in the world. If our young people are going to keep their love for learning, their success in the school setting, a healthy mental-social-academic balance, we will need to all work in partnership. This is my hope for all of them … and for us, as their parents. I hope you’ll join us at a conversation in the coming weeks.

IMPORTANT: COVID Protocols and Symptom Response

Just a reminder that any/all symptoms through our AUXS app and/or via email to Please do not email your divisional offices, directors, or teachers of an absence due to symptoms. It is important that all notifications are sent to Jennifer Rogers, our COVID Health and Safety lead, so that you can be supported and informed of possible next steps including, but not limited to, the need to remain home, secure a negative test prior to return, and/or quarantine per CDC guidance.

Parent-Teacher Conferences Continue This Week

• Thursday, October 7, 3:30-8PM
• Friday, October 8, 8AM-4PM (NO CLASSES)

All conferences are being held via ZOOM and each family is offered the opportunity to sign-up for up to five, 10-minute conferences with their student’s teachers. I sent a list of ZOOM links for conferences via email last week, as well as posting on Schoology. If you need assistance, please let us know. Read More

Lower School Division News

from Renee Wright, Lower School Division Director

Reading Assessment
Lower School teachers are using the Qualitative Reading Assessment Inventory (QRI) as a tool to assess student reading. Our homeroom teachers and our learning support teachers are conducting the assessments. The data collected from the QRI will be used by classroom teachers to group students for instruction, select appropriate books for literature circles, and provide diagnostic information for designing intervention instruction. Lower School teachers have found this tool to be extremely helpful and feel confident that data-driven reading placements and instruction serve students well. The QRI will be used to document student growth in reading over the Lower School years.

What exactly is the Qualitative Reading Assessment tool? The QRI-6 is an individually administered informal reading inventory designed to provide information about word identification, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. The data informs teachers of students’ reading levels and identifies when text is at the independent, instructional, and frustration level.

Why Uniforms?
Lower School students look stunning in their Mounds Park Academy uniforms. MPA was founded 40 years ago and the uniform policy was implemented. Over the years the uniform policy has gone through some revisions, but we continue to feel students benefit from wearing uniforms. We believe uniforms contribute to a positive school climate and keep students in a “learning” mindset. We strive to consistently enforce our uniform policy. We invite parents to join in this effort. Just a reminder that leggings are not part of the uniform unless worn under a jumper or skirt. Also, socks need to be solid colors in navy, dark green, or white. Any dress shoe or athletic shoe is acceptable, but flip flops/shoes with open toes or backs, shoes with flashing lights, or boots are not part of the uniform. Jewelry should not be worn to ensure the safety of our students on the playground or in PE class. You can check out the full uniform policy in the Lower School section of the website. We thank you for supporting our uniform policy. Read More

Upper School Division News

from Mark Segal, Upper School Director

The day started like any other Monday, but I knew that was not the case. After welcoming students to campus at the north door, my focus shifted as I made last minute preparations for the first in person Monday Morning Meeting in 574 days. I anticipated what it would be like and what I would feel, but I had no idea how impactful this community gathering would be to me. I clearly remembered our last gathering where I wished everyone a safe and restful Spring Break, and since then have facilitated each of our meetings via Zoom. Although a nice substitute, nothing compares to seeing the Upper School students with each other in the same space. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) one of the key components of a school is, “creating a culture built on community.” Establishing the foundation of familiarity and trust between students within a community sets expectations and builds chemistry that translates to various aspects of their lives— family, team, club, etc.

Looking out at 235 pajama clad students (and many faculty) was the first of many community building activities during Homecoming week. Each day of the week the students excitedly participated in the themed dress up days (my favorite being Dress Like a Teacher Day and seeing several students wearing sweater vests and bow ties), spent time collaboratively decorating their grade level hallways, and engaged in a special Homecoming Assembly where the traditional court selection, introduction of fall athletic teams, and grade level tug of war took place. Friday afternoon brought three-quarters of the Upper School students together for the annual bar-b-que and bonfire in the Benz Courtyard. Even though it has been two years since this event was held, the students quickly fell back into their routines of being with one another and enjoying each other’s company. Throwing the football, kicking the soccer ball, bumping the volleyball, and participating in a cornhole tournament were enjoyed and appreciated activities.

Saturday night brought the finale’ to Homecoming week. The weather gods shined down as the rain cloud disappeared in time for us to hold the first Homecoming Dance since September 2019. More than half the Upper School student body attended the first outdoor Homecoming Dance in school history. Adhering to the required health and safety protocols, students danced and “chilled” with each other through the evening. The addition of a bonfire allowed students to find some peace and quiet in an otherwise fun-filled evening.

A recent Edutopia article shares that once students feel safe, secure, and have a sense of belonging in a school environment they are able to better focus their attention and energy on learning. There is no doubt that the past 19 months have impacted us individually and collectively. After the excitement of last week, I am cautiously optimistic that maybe, just maybe, “normalcy” is returning to our special community.

I look forward to seeing you on campus soon!

Important Information

  1. We are excited to welcome Ms. Rae Dillon as the Upper School and College Counseling Administrative Assistant. Most recently, Rae worked as the Program and Operations Manager with the Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association where she served as the primary liaison to their Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Prior to that, Rae held positions at the Universities of St. Catherine and St. Thomas, Oak View Elementary School, Brooklyn Center Elementary and the Northwest YMCA. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Rae holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Youth Studies. Rae can be reached on or 651-748-5544 to report student absences of if you have any Upper School-centric questions.
  2. As we continue to navigate the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we ask for your diligence in working with our COVID-19 symptom response and contact tracing team. At the first sign of symptoms, parents should complete the daily AUXS app symptom screening and/or email This should happen BEFORE seeking a COVID-19 test. When a negative COVID-19 test is required for student clearance, results must be provided prior to the student’s return. All symptomatic community members, regardless of vaccination status must remain at home pending those results. Thank you for your partnership. For any questions, please contact Jennifer Rogers at

Looking Ahead

  • Thursday, October 7: Upper School Conferences, 4-8 PM, via Zoom
  • Friday, October 8: No Classes, Upper School Conferences, 8-4 PM, via Zoom
  • Tuesday, October 12: Senior Performances, 8-9:15 AM, via Zoom
  • Saturday, October 16: PSAT Testing for Grades 10 & 11, 8 AM-12 PM, Lansing Sport Center
  • Wednesday, October 20: No Classes, Fall Break
    • Non-Official PSAT for 10th Grade, 8 AM-12 PM, Lansing Sport Center
  • Thursday, October 21: No Classes, Fall Break
  • Friday, October 22: No Classes, Fall Break
  • Tuesday, October 26: PSAT Testing for 11th Grade, 8 AM-12 PM, Nicholson Center
    • This is an alternate test date only for 11th grade students unable to test on 10/16
  • Wednesday, October 27: Senior Performances, 8-9:15 AM, via Zoom
  • Friday, October 29: Last Day of Quarter 1
    • Senior Retreat, 8 AM-6:30 PM, Camp St. Croix and MPA
  • Monday, November 1: No Classes, Grading Day
  • Tuesday, November 2: First Day of Quarter 2

Meet Jennifer Jasinski

Jennifer Jasinski

What position will you be holding at MPA?
Admission Coordinator

From what school/organization are you coming?
Atticus Family Law

Tell us a little bit about your education and past experience.
I have a degree from Augsburg University in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing. I’ve worked in several different industries, and I find that those experiences help me relate to a wide variety of people. I spent several years as the Director of a private preschool and loved the connections I made with families there. I am excited to make many more connections with MPA families!

What did you find appealing about MPA during the interview process?
I was drawn to the sense of joy I encountered in the school. It is so evident that the students, teachers, and staff truly enjoy being here and care about each other. MPA’s commitment to hands-on learning that encourages students to explore and solve problems also appealed to me. I am thrilled to be a part of this community!

What’s your big dream?
I would love to own a bed and breakfast so I can care and cook for new people all the time!

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
My family includes my husband, Jeff, and two teenagers, Ben and Grace. We love music of all kinds and dinner table conversation usually centers around something musical. We also love to hike, cook, and play board games together. In my spare time I enjoy volunteering with multiple community organizations focusing on youth development and enrichment.

What’s a fun fact about you that our community would love to know?
I grew up training and showing dogs, mostly Australian Shepherds. In fact, I was a National Champion when I was 10!

The Crimson And Cream Foundation’s Top Award Recipient, Salmah Elmasry ’21

SalmahCongratulations to Salmah Elmasry ’21

The MPA community is celebrating Salmah Elmasry ’21, for receiving the the top award from The Crimson and Cream Foundation! This foundation is a local one founded in 1996 to advance academics, leadership, and social skills in young people throughout the St. Paul-Minneapolis area. Since graduating from MPA, Salmah’s impressive extracurricular and community service accomplishments include founding and managing operations for The Neda Project, Captain of the Varsity Speech Team and Varsity Debate Team, and President of the Social Consciousness Club. We wish Salmah all the best as she continues her education at Georgetown University studying International Relations.The community couldn’t be more proud of Salmah. read more>

It’s Time For MPA’s Fall Preview

Fall PreviewInvite a friend, neighbor, colleague, or family member to join us for MPA’s largest PreK-12 admission event, the MPA Fall Preview! Held virtually on Sunday, November 7 starting 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.

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

BIPOC Alumni Join Sid Carlson White ’17 On September 23

sid Carlson white '17On September 23, at 6:30 PM Central, the Alumni Committee on Antiracist Practice will be hosting its first community discussion for BIPOC alumni of MPA. One of the many things that respondents to our survey suggested is that alumni of color wanted spaces, digital and in-person, to discuss life after graduating, existing in predominantly-white spaces, and to generally share experiences of life both during and after our time at MPA. This conversation, which will be specifically alumni-only, will kick off the committee and its work with the Antiracism Action Group and the Alumni Board.

Join via Zoom >
Meeting ID: 952 9079 8620
Password: 812473

Homecoming Celebration And Spirit Week Reimagined

Homecoming September 27 – October 2
Join us as we reimagine our annual Homecoming festivities in light of COVID-19 health and safety concerns. We are offering division-specific opportunities for students as a part of a weeklong celebration, building spirit for MPA Athletics and our entire community.

Upper School Activities:

  • MPA Student Council Spirit Week Dress Up Days: September 27 – October 1
  • Upper School student only BBQ: October 1, 5-8 PM, Benz Courtyard
  • Upper School student dance: October 2, 8-11 PM, Benz Courtyard
  • Free Homecoming-themed MPA t-shirts for all Upper School students

Middle School Activities:

  • Middle School Game Day: October 1, 10 AM-3 PM, South Lawn (Parent Volunteers needed!)
  • Spirit Week Dress Up Days September 27-October 1
  • Free Homecoming-themed MPA t-shirts for all Middle School students

Lower School Activities:

  • Pajama Day for all Lower School Students: September 27
  • Spirit Wear Day with Homecoming T-shirt and non-uniform bottom: October 1
  • Homecoming Spirit Photo Booth and Special Appearances by the MPA Panther: September 27-October 1
  • Homecoming Panther Coloring Sheets available for students
  • Free Homecoming-themed MPA t-shirts for all Lower School students

MPA Athletics Schedule Saturday, October 2
Please note: Only athlete household members may attend in person. Join in the fun and cheer on our Panthers by streaming games live! Learn more at

  • Varsity Girls Soccer vs New Life Academy 11 AM (available for streaming)
  • Varsity Boys Soccer New Life Academy 1 PM (available for streaming)
  • Varsity Volleyball 9 AM-2 PM (continuous streaming viewing)
  • JV Boys Soccer New Life Academy 11 AM (not available for streaming)
  • Varsity Girls Tennis vs Como Park and Cretin Derham Hall (not available for streaming)

Homecoming Parent Gathering 
Parents, would you like to share your MPA Spirit and support our student athletes? Join the MPA Parents Association for an all-parent coffee and community building meet-up on Friday, October 1 from 7:45 to 10 AM. You’ll find us under the big white tent in the west parking lot, rain or shine. Meet other MPA parents, help to decorate the outdoor fields, and write messages of encouragement for our athletes. Go Panthers!