Students Give, Get, And Grow Through Community Involvement
October 22, 2019
The world starts small when you’re a kid. In a relative bubble of family, friends, and school, it can be challenging for children to think beyond their own backyard, or to reflect on how they can support or contribute to a community that’s different from their own. Cultivating a service mindset in students early is a powerful key to unlocking a larger world view, while also preparing them for college and creating distinction in their educational experience.
The Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common project published a groundbreaking study focused on inspiring community service as part of the college admissions process. The researchers advocate for how service can help students focus on meaningful ethical and intellectual engagement, while creating a platform for long-term success. The study emphasizes that, through their volunteerism, students should be encouraged to:
- engage in meaningful, sustained community service that is authentically chosen, consistent, and well-structured, and that provides opportunity for reflection both individually and with peers and adults;
- take collective action that tackles community challenges;
- have authentic experiences that focus on “doing with” not “doing for”; and
- engage in service that develops gratitude and a sense of responsibility for the future.
The Athletic Brain
October 10, 2019
How School Sports Lift The Mind, Build Skills And Improve Mental Health
Health trends in the U.S. have turned particularly grim in recent years. According to the America’s Health Rankings 2018 Annual Report, obesity continues to rise and is a direct link to heart disease and cancer, which are contributing to the growth in premature death rates. Suicide has increased 16 percent since 2012, and more Americans are reporting poor mental health for 14 or more days in a month. The connection between physical and mental health is more evident than ever—and, supports a compelling case for encouraging students to incorporate athletics with academics throughout their school career.
Sports as a Catalyst For Mental, Physical Development
Research published in the “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” outlines how school sports improve overall health and well being, highlighting that “sport provides an equilibrium between group demands and individual demands, between aggressive behaviors and self-control. It fosters a sense of belonging to a group, and teaches coping with both victory and defeat.” Read More
A Very Special Bring A Friend Day Experience
October 3, 2019
Has a friend ever asked, “What makes MPA so special?” Or perhaps you know a family who is “SO MPA?” Bring A Friend To MPA Day is a wonderful way to have their children experience firsthand what it is like to be student at Mounds Park Academy. Read on for fifth graders Nathan M. and Marcell S-C’s Bring A Friend To MPA Day experience! Marcell enrolled after having attended last year’s Bring A Friend To MPA Day.
Nathan, what made you want to bring Marcell for Bring A Friend To MPA Day?
I wanted to hang out with Marcell and show him my school. We’ve been friends since second grade. Before this year when Marcell wasn’t at MPA, I wished he could have been going here.
Marcell, how did going to Bring A Friend To MPA Day help you make your decision to come to MPA?
Because Nathan went there, I knew about MPA and knew it was a good school, but then Bring A Friend Day was when I saw that MPA was really different than the other schools I used to go to. Probably the combination of meeting the teachers and meeting the other kids on Bring A Friend Day made me want to come to school at MPA with Nathan. Read More
An MPA Student’s Passion To Change The World
October 2, 2019
This past summer, MPA senior Misk Khalif was selected to serve as a 2019-2020 Girl Up Teen Advisor. Girl Up is a national advisory board made of young advocates working to promote gender equity for girls globally. As a campaign of the United Nations Foundation, Girl Up works to provide the tools and platform for girls globally to lead on a number of issues that affect them from education to health.
Misk had the honor of attending the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) high level week, where world leaders met in New York City to discuss the world’s most pressing issues, from climate change to access to healthcare. UNGA brings together a variety of stakeholders from government officials, civil society, and business leaders.
“The most complex global issues requires all facets of society to collaborate and help us realize the sustainable development goals by the year 2030,” Misk said. She had the opportunity to participate in a variety of key discussions, ranging from increasing universal access to education for millions of children globally who remain out of school, to providing better access to healthcare for women and girls who continue to lose their lives from preventable illnesses.
Tips for Effective Parent-Teacher Conferences
September 30, 2019
Parent-teacher conferences are one of those unique interactions that can still cause butterflies, no matter your age, grade level, or how many you’ve attended. These face-to-face forums to discuss performance and progress can trigger a mix of emotions, going to the heart of parent concerns about whether their child is “on track” academically, emotionally, and interpersonally.
While parents often hold their breath during conference season, it’s important to let that anxiety go and embrace the open dialogue of school conferences. The National Education Association (NEA) explains that “To get the most out of parent-teacher conferences, parents need to take an active role in their child’s education year-round and come prepared to discuss how their child can reach their full potential.” The NEA recommends that parents take time to prep before conferences, including taking notes about any questions you have related to your school’s programs or policies, insights you’d like to share about your child at home and significant events in your child’s life, and your own reflections on your child’s progress. Read More
Let’s Be Friends
September 20, 2019
Gaining the Skills to Build Healthy Relationships
One of our most basic human needs is forming community by making friends. We’re social creatures, drawn to seek connections throughout our lives. While rewarding and fulfilling, building healthy friendships takes practice. It’s an important life skill for children to learn early—increasing their capacity to create friendships, be a good friend, and progressively cultivate and sustain strong relationships at all ages.
Open Discussions on Friendship
“The foundation of friendship is open communication, both in terms of among friends and about friendship itself,” explains Tara Keegan, Mounds Park Academy Lower School counselor. A licensed professional clinical counselor and parent, Keegan recommends beginning conversations about friends starting in PreK. “Ask your child who they sat with at lunch, who they played with at recess, what the group did that day,” she says. “Talk about the feelings around those interactions, and share how important it is to listen and learn within a friendship. That’s the beginning of empathy, being able to understand where another person is coming from, and is so important in building connections and friendships.” Read More