Saying Farewell to Summer
August 13, 2019
Making The Transition Back To School
The lazy hazy days of summer are suddenly coming to a close, with both students and parents beginning to contemplate a return to school. Starting a new academic year is more than fresh pencils and first day photos—it’s also an important time of building confidence and creating routines; of getting organized while capturing a few carefree moments; and of re-establishing connections while building new relationships.
Arne Duncan, former United States Secretary of Education, writes that one of the best ways to move from summer to school is to embark on a learning adventure. “Do something fun together that’s focused on learning, whether indoors or out: from a kitchen craft project or backyard science experiment, to a trip to the library or a museum,” he says. Scheduling an activity that incorporates both work and play is a great way to spend valuable time together while reactivating that school mindset. “Our minds are like muscles,” emphasizes Duncan, “help get them warmed up for academic success.”
A Back-To-School Transition Plan
While getting back into the school routine is important for all students, younger children especially benefit from a purposeful transition plan. Mounds Park Academy Lower School director Renee Wright recommends that students spend time reading and working on math facts to review and refresh skills before starting school. She also encourages parents to engage their children directly in making your home school-ready, so that students feel empowered in the process. “Build enthusiasm for school by shopping together to pick out their supplies,” she says. “Clean closets and organize spaces together, donating clothes that don’t fit or toys that are no longer age appropriate. Create a homework station with study essentials to get kids excited about school and help them be organized for homework tasks.” Read More
Big Points For School Athletics
August 9, 2019
Building Character and Academic Success
Back to school also means back to sports, with many students reuniting with their fall teams, moving up to the next level of play, or trying out a new activity. Mounds Park Academy has been at the forefront of cultivating student athletes, with an emphasis on good sportsmanship and leadership that extends from the classroom to the courts, tracks, fields and stadiums where our Panthers compete.
Healthy mind, healthy body
MPA offers one of the broadest prep school athletic programs in the Twin Cities, including more than 20 Upper School teams and a range of competitive Middle School sports that begin in fifth grade. Our student athletes transform their gifts and talents into accomplishments that bolster their educational experience, with research showing that sports help create better students, and better citizens. For example, the University of Missouri’s Adolescent Medicine program highlights that many athletes do better academically and encourages all children to participate in sports, reinforcing that “physical exercise is good for the mind, body, and spirit. Team sports help teach adolescents accountability, dedication, leadership and other skills … [and how] to effectively communicate to solve problems.” MPA’s athletics embraces this theme, welcoming students to take part in sports at all levels of experience—developing commitment, character, perseverance, initiative, and teamwork. Read More
Choosing Change: It’s Not Too Late To Join MPA
August 6, 2019
August is bittersweet. It serves as a pause between a memorable summer and the excitement of a new academic year. For many families it’s also a time to reconsider the best fit for their child’s education, and to consider a change.
“During the summer, there are two main reasons why families may be looking to consider a different school,” says Craig Dodson, director of admission at Mounds Park Academy. “Some are families who are experiencing an unexpected life change, such as relocation from another city. Others are those who, now that they’ve had some time to reflect on the previous school year, are not sure they want to return to where they were and are looking for potential options.”
The good news, reassures Dodson, is that for both types of families it’s not too late to choose MPA. “Even though the standard admission schedule occurs in the spring, we definitely have an open door policy and continue to work with families during the summer and even into the new school year,” he explains. “No matter when a student joins us, our admissions staff, faculty, and ambassadors do an amazing job of helping students and their families transition to MPA.” Read More
Three Alumni Credit MPA For Helping Them Follow Their Dreams
June 5, 2019
Matt Berning ’18 first stumbled across Camp Voyageur when looking for ways to spend his upcoming summer vacation. He knew he wanted to be outside—preferably in the Boundary Waters—and spending it at Camp Voyageur seemed like the perfect option. After he applied for and received the position as a camp counselor there, he texted his friends and fellow MPA alumni Paul Thompson-Nelson ’18, and Jackson Peacock ’18, out of excitement. A few weeks later, unbeknownst to Matt, both Jackson and Paul applied for and received the positions as well.
As camp counselors at Camp Voyageur, the trio will host portage trips across the Boundary Waters and hike around Lake Superior with their campers. “We will take campers in pairs of two and be gone for extended periods of time,” explains Matt. “The essence of Camp Voyageur involves creating an atmosphere that embraces the wonders of the outdoors … We have not worked here too long, but have already fallen in love with it. This is where MPA comes into play. We can all agree MPA has made a large impact on our mindsets on life and allowed us to follow our dreams.” Read More
Learning The Legacy Of Lawrence Riley
May 23, 2019
Sophomore Salmah Elmasry and Upper School history teacher Katie Murr are one of 15 student-teacher pairs from across the country to be accepted this year to the Albert H. Small Normandy Institute. The Institute is an intensive, all expenses paid program that will give Salmah and Ms. Murr the opportunity to study D-Day and the Operation Overlord Campaign of 1944. They are participating in an online course this spring, and then will travel to Washington D.C. and France to complete archival research and learn from experts. The program will culminate with Salmah writing a lengthy biography of and delivering a eulogy for a Minnesota soldier buried at the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-Sur-Mer in France.
This soldier is Lawrence—or “Larry”—Riley, and he has a connection to the MPA community. Upper School English teacher David Loo introduced Salmah and Ms. Murr to his wife’s uncle, Bob Riley, who is Larry’s son. Bob’s father was killed as a paratrooper in WWII, and he grew up knowing very little about who his father was, how he died, the regiment he served in, or anything related to his military service. After months of rigorous research, Salmah and Ms. Murr were able to piece together Larry’s story, and they met with Bob on campus this week to share with him what they discovered.
Salmah and Ms. Murr learned that Larry was from Minneapolis, lived in a house with his parents and eight siblings, and attended DeLaSalle High School. After finding photos and obtaining records from DeLaSalle, it was clear that Larry was a remarkably talented athlete. “He played football throughout his high school career, and he earned letters in his junior and senior years,” shared Salmah during the conversation.
“He had this high school education, but it was a struggle, and right at the moment he seemed to be getting back on his feet he secured a job at the Twin Cities Ordinance Plant … The war clearly took over in terms of where he went to get a job and what he was going to do,” says Ms. Murr. Due to his age at the time of the war and having three children, Larry was likely not going to be drafted, so he volunteered instead. He enlisted as a paratrooper. Paratroopers were paid an extra $50 a month, and there were a lot of men who tried to join the airborne for that reason.