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

Weather Closure Wednesday, February 20

Dr. Hudson, head of school, and members of the administrative team have been closely monitoring the forecast this evening. Unfortunately, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel all classes, activities, practices, and events for tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20, due to the approaching snow.

This is not a decision we take lightly as we balance the safety of our students and families with the commitment that we make to our students’ time in class. Safety, however, is always our highest priority.

We look forward to seeing you Thursday … and are hopeful that this is the last closure of the 2018-19 school year!

A Magical Moment of Kindness

Kindergarten reading kindness quotes to upper schoolby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

Adults and children alike are asking a question of themselves and others these days: What does it mean to be kind? During a time of societal change and upheaval, the place of kindness in our lives is often taken up by rancor, division, and sometimes violence. I was horrified last week by the incident on I-94 when a driver, overcome with road rage, fired a gun at a school bus driver. Schools are not immune and can be cruel places. It is a sad fact that more than one out of five students nationwide will be bullied this year. Research has demonstrated time and again that when students don’t feel safe, it is difficult for them to learn and grow.

Kindness is not something to be taken for granted. It is important that parents and schools join together and intentionally foster empathy. Ravi Rao, a pediatric neurosurgeon, believes parents should teach feelings as much as they teacher things like color and numbers. She is convinced that for kids to show empathy to us, we need to show empathy to them. At MPA, we believe very strongly in fostering a kind and joyful community. What is at stake is more than academic achievement, it is a sense of self and developing the confidence to fly. Read More

Together, We’ll Meet The Changing Needs

Dr. Hudson in the commons with upper school studentby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

We are fortunate to live in an older neighborhood in Minneapolis. Our house, built in 1915, is more than 100 years old and has a warm, comfortable feel to it. However, with two parents, two children, two dogs, and aging parents, we made the decision several years ago to add on a new kitchen, a bathroom on the first floor, and a family room in the basement. The old kitchen was so small that I could touch the counter and cupboards on one side and easily touch the sink and counter on the other side. Cozy doesn’t quite capture the feeling of what it was like to cook in that small space and it limited what we were able to prepare and serve for our family and loved ones.

We love our house and can’t imagine living anywhere else. However, as our family evolved, our needs did too. We needed to change how we lived. Schools are like that too. Over time, our vision of education changes and the needs of our students emerge in ways that cause us to outgrow the spaces that served us so well for so long. Mounds Park Academy is no exception. Throughout the history of the school, we have renovated and added on to the original building constructed in 1958 to better meet the changing needs of our students. Read More

Social Media: Online And On Edge

Two students sitting with phonesby Jenn Milam, Ph.D., Middle School Director, Mounds Park Academy

Just last week I had the privilege of sitting among fellow Middle School parents to hear a presentation prepared and expertly delivered by Ms. Mohn’s Upper School women’s literature students about the power and dangers of online vulnerability that exist in and through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and any number of newly emerging applications. This parent education session serendipitously followed my attending a screening of the new film, “LIKE: A Documentary About the Impact of Social Media on our Lives,” with my family just a few days before.

What is clear to me as I write this piece is that now, more than ever, we must have open, honest, informed, and critical conversations surrounding not only how we (yes, you and I) and our children are using social media; but more, how it is using us. While online interactions in these virtual worlds may seem somewhat disconnected from reality, make no mistake the influence of the social connections, comments, tweets, direct messages, chats, and images that are exchanged online spill over into the very fiber of our daily lives, and into our beings as humans.

It is present each day that the Middle School students walk through the halls at MPA, when they play basketball afterschool, and attend Quiz Bowl tournaments on the weekend. It’s likely present in Lower School students’ experiences as they attend birthday parties and playdates and parents post pictures with captions on Facebook. And, yes, in Upper Schoolers’ interactions as they navigate college acceptances, celebrations, personal life moments, and social dynamics and move into adulthood.

Does this seem overwhelming? If you answered yes, you are not alone. The good news is, we can change our behavior and therefore, change the impact that social media has on our lives and those of our children. Read More

Late Start Thursday Update

Mounds Park Academy continues to plan for a 10 AM start tomorrow, Thursday, January 31, with regular activities being held after school, including Pajamarama. Arrival should be at 9:30 AM or later. None of the buses to MPA will operate in the morning. In the afternoon, the MPA buses will operate, however, the routes within District 622 will not.

We will continue to monitor the forecast and if anything changes, we will notify families before 6 AM via email, text, voicemail,, and social media.

Please use caution when traveling to campus and know that tardies are excused during inclement weather. As always, if you determine that your/your student’s commute is too difficult or unsafe, the absence will also be excused—students are still responsible for work missed.

Please take good care and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning!

Severe Cold Closure

We have been closely monitoring the forecast today and have made the difficult decision to cancel all classes, activities, practices, and events for Tuesday, January 29 and Wednesday, January 30 due to extreme cold. In addition, we will have a 10 AM start on Thursday, January 31. Arrival should be at 9:30 AM or later. No buses will run on Thursday morning.

Students and/or parents should login to Schoology after 10 AM Tuesday to check if their teacher(s) have posted an assignment.

This is not a decision we take lightly as we balance the safety of our students and families with the commitment that we make to instructional time. Safety is always our highest priority.

Please take good care and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday morning!

School Closed Monday, January 28

Good evening, MPA Families –

Due to the weather conditions predicted overnight, and the forecasted road conditions, classes at Mounds Park Academy will be cancelled tomorrow, Monday, January 28. This includes all activities, practices, and events.

This is not a decision we take lightly. We have been in close communication with our bus company, First Student, and we have been monitoring the conditions closely. We believe it is in the best interest of all families that we not hold school tomorrow.

Please stay safe and warm. We look forward to seeing you on campus Tuesday!

Dr. Bill Hudson
Head of School

It’s In Our DNA

middle school girls working together in classby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

Last week, a new lunch group was launched in the Middle School. Seventh and eighth grade girls were invited to participate in a “Girl Power Friendship Group” over the course of eight weeks. During lunch, Middle School girls are coming together to learn about how to navigate difficult emotions, confidently communicate with others, and build strong friendships. The new group, under the guidance of Ashley Cooper, Middle and Upper School counselor, and Aria Fiat, Ph.D. candidate from the University of Minnesota, is a proactive way to address the social, emotional, and mental health challenges that appear developmentally in adolescent girls.

Just last week in my head’s message, I reiterated a vision of MPA that reframes the understanding of “whole-child for whole-life.” Such an education is collaborative, experiential, and interdisciplinary, which values the assessments of broader aims—those skills, dispositions, and mindsets most necessary to live, learn, and thrive in today’s 21st century globalized society. A crucial aspect of which is the social, emotional, and mental health of our students. Read More

A Sense Of Direction For MPA

Graphic with globe, heart, pennant

by Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra

Last week I wrote about new year’s resolutions and the basic human drive for continuous improvement and growth. Having a goal in mind and a sense of direction helps us make small decisions and choices along the way to accomplish what we have set forward. As Alice found out from the Cheshire Cat, without an end in mind any road will suffice. Equally as profound, Yogi Berra reminds us that without an idea of where we are going, we will end up someplace else.

As we mark the mid-way point of the school year, it has been my custom to provide an update on Momentum 2020, our school’s long-range strategic plan. Approved by the Board of Trustees in January of 2015, Momentum 2020 is the result of nearly a year of research, conversation, visioning, and strategic thinking that involved hundreds of students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents of alumni. Together, we’ve made incredible progress over the past four years.

Read More