Welcome To The Family, Ms. Gifford!

Gia giffordMeet Gia Gifford, who will be our new K-4 art teacher. Gia comes to us from Clara Barton Open School, which is a K-8 magnet school in Minneapolis Public Schools. She holds two degrees from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, including a Bachelor of Arts in studio art and art history and a Master of Education in visual arts K-12. Gia has a deep passion for teaching art to elementary and middle school learners. And along with a variety of teaching experiences in diverse environments, Gia is a silversmith who is active in the Minneapolis arts community.

What did you love about MPA right away?
I really enjoyed the MPA staff and the warm welcome I received. I also loved how much the school appreciates the fine arts! Read More

Welcome To The Family, Ms. Lawson!

Hannah LawsonMeet Hannah Lawson, who has been selected as the new director of orchestras and music teacher. Ms. Lawson will join our community and the Twin Cities after eight years of public and private school teaching in the United States and abroad. Most recently, she has been teaching orchestra and general music in Saudi Arabia! She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Music Education from Boston University. We are excited about Hannah’s passion for music, her deep and thorough knowledge of composition and music theory, and her excitement to lead MPA’s orchestras to continued excellence.

What did you love about MPA right away?
How kind and welcoming the faculty was. The progressive mission of the school. I loved that the students had a voice and were able to be apart of the process. I was treated with respect and was not judged for interviewing over Skype for a performance position, which can be difficult.

What’s your big dream?
To be the back up violinist for Dave Matthews Band! Read More

Class of 2019: Mats Dahlberg, Saint Paul

Mats Dahlberg '19As the 2018–19 school year comes to an end, we’re sharing the college choice stories of several members of the Class of 2019!

In what grade did you come to MPA?
I came to MPA in Kindergarten.

How did you come to choose the college that you did?
I chose Columbia College Chicago because it has a strong dance and visual arts program and they would let me be involved in both. I wanted to go to a college in a city surrounded by a vibrant art scene and so many museums and traveling exhibits especially because I’m studying arts. Columbia is right in the middle of the city on Michigan Avenue and has great speakers and events including some notable alumni.

What are you most excited about as you embark on your college experience?
I’m excited to explore my independence, especially in a new city. I am very excited to expand my circle and meet a new very diverse crowd of people with different viewpoints than I’ve been exposed to. I’m excited to have my ideas challenged and add to my skillset with education from new teachers and more high-level art classes. I’d love to take a printmaking class or a textile and fiber works class, something that I haven’t had the opportunity for at MPA, but have the basic artistic foundation for because of the Fine Arts education here. (And I’m excited to try all the pizza Chicago has to offer). Read More

See Shakespeare & Company This Summer

an image from AFG's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.Ann Frances Gregg, MPA’s Upper School theatre teacher and director, is currently directing “Two Gentlemen of Verona” for Shakespeare & Company in White Bear Lake. S&C, founded by MPA parent of alum George Wade, is an outdoor theatre company, which produces three shows ‘in rep’ each summer. It is the oldest outdoor Shakespeare company in Minnesota. This summer marks the company’s 44th season!

You are invited to bring lawn chairs, picnics, blankets, whatever suits you, and come and enjoy a show on a beautiful summer evening (or not-so-beautiful—shows go on rain or shine). Shakespeare & Company performs on a permanent outdoor stage at Century College in White Bear Lake. Tickets can be bought at the door with cash or check. A show calendar, show information, and directions can all be found here.

Meet MPA’s Newest Faculty And Staff

middle school science classby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School 

I consider hiring to be one of the most important aspects of my role as head of school. As a rigorous college prep school, I need to ensure that we have excellent teachers. But because of our mission, we also need to ensure that we have excellent human beings who are going to go beyond the classroom as role models, advocates, and confidants, and even sometimes, act in “loco parentis.” I am continually reminded from my own experience as a teacher that in the long run, students won’t always remember what we taught them, but who we are, how we treated them, and how we made them feel. Early in the hiring process, I make a point to remind each committee that while it is important to fill the position, we are hiring the person first.

MPA has a very rigorous and inclusive hiring process. When an opening presents itself, we first take the opportunity to review the position in light of our mission and the evolving needs of the school. Open positions are then posted both locally and nationally and despite a national teacher shortage, we have had great success in attracting a highly qualified and diverse pool of candidates. Each hiring team is led by a member of the administrative team and is comprised of faculty and staff who work collaboratively to screen resumes and conduct a first round of interviews, culminating with a day on campus and a final interview. As a part of their time on campus, teaching candidates actually teach a class and then meet informally with students. We truly value the student perspective and voice in the hiring process. The final decision rests with the head of school, taking into account the recommendation of the hiring committee and the feedback of the students. Read More


PosterMake plans to attend the fabulous CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION this weekend!
April 25, 26, & 27, 7 PM
Nicholson Center

Ticket Prices:
$10 – Adults
$5 – Students/Seniors

Tickets may be purchased here or at the door.

In roaring twenties Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take the rap…until he finds out he’s been duped and turns on Roxie. Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another “Merry Murderess,” Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the “American Dream”: fame, fortune, and acquittal. (source: samuelfrench.com)

The show is most appropriate for ages 13 and older.

See photos from the show at moundsparkacademy.org/chicagophotos!

Inspiring A Playful And Joyful Performance

families view art at lower school art showby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

It is difficult to be thinking about spring while a snow storm is bearing down on us and we are all enjoying an unexpected snow day. However, spring is my favorite season for many reasons. One of which is the Lower School Art and Music Show. Slowly, over spring break, the gallery and halls of MPA come alive with beautiful works of art created by our Lower School students. Ms. Rossbach works throughout the break to carefully curate and present their art thoughtfully and enchantingly. If you have walked the halls this past week or so, I am sure you will agree with me that it is magnificent.

The theme of this year’s show is inspired by the music of the Beatles, envisioned and interpreted by our very talented Lower School students. Art teacher Karen Rossbach and Music teacher Mari Espeland have yet again collaborated magnificently—as they have for more than 33 years—to integrate art and music, inspiring a playful and joyful performance that cannot be matched elsewhere.

Read More

Finding Balance In The Snow

third graders snowshoeing in Phy EdBy Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

Like you, I spent a good part of the day Wednesday shoveling out from another blast of snow. I love the quiet of a snow storm and work to find balance between appreciating the beauty and cursing the extra work it requires. It has also been a challenge to find balance between the safety of our community and our commitment to academic excellence. Cancelling school is never an easy decision, particularly when we have missed so many days already. Finding balance is tough work.

As I was shoveling, I was thinking about another challenging balance that is important to maintain: the three A’s (arts, athletics, and academics) that serve as the foundation of our school’s mission. In particular, I’ve been troubled by the state of athletics, not only in Minnesota, but nationally. There has been a rise of single sport athletes and club sports that affects not only athletic programs, but also athletes themselves. At MPA, we strive to offer a variety of opportunities for our students, maintain a no-cut policy, and be competitive. However, that is becoming increasingly difficult to balance as well. Read More

Spend Your Summer With Us

summer at mpa Summer is fast approaching, and we are excited to announce our 2019 Enrichment Classes, Panther Camp, and additional summer offerings! The variety of opportunities will help motivate and nurture your child’s curiosity and learning, while having lots of fun in the process!

Weekly-themed Panther Camp programs offer activities that allow students to explore nature, science, sports, arts, and so much more. Panther Camp is available June 10–14 and July 8–August 9. You can register your child for daily, half-day, and weekly Panther Camp options. Panther Camp is available 7 AM–6 PM.

Summer Enrichment Classes runs June 17–21 and offers a wide variety of engaging class topics such as: chess, art, science, academic, carpentry, sport, and more. Enrichment classes run 9 AM–4 PM, and during this week, free Panther Care is available from 7–9 AM and 4–6 PM.

During the week of June 24–28, we are offering the national award-winning STEM program, Camp Invention. This week-long camp consists of exciting, hands-on, inquiry-based activities that allow students to explore, create, and innovate. Camp Invention runs 9 AM–3:30 PM, with free Panther Care available 7–9 AM and 3:30–6 PM.

Also, for the first time ever, MPA is running a two-week long Summer Musical Theatre Camp directed by a local Twin Cities theatre director! Whether you have experience on stage or not, here is your chance to “SHINE.” This camp runs July 15–26 from 9 AM–12 PM, with a performance scheduled at end.

We look forward to a fun and productive summer, and hope you  join us! Register and learn more here. Please contact Russ Purdy at rpurdy@moundsparkacademy.org if you have any questions.

State Honor Choir Participants

Isak Dai and Ryan Ghose with Mr. Habermann Congratulations to Isak Dai and Ryan Ghose on their performance with the State 9-10 SATB Honor Choir! Under the direction of Bradley Miller from the University of Minnesota Morris, Ryan and Isak sang a variety of repertoire with some of the best ninth and tenth grade musicians from across the state. Both are members of MPA’s Madrigal Singers and Concert Choir.