We’re All In This Together

middle school students together on the playgroundby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

There has been a song running through my mind over the last several weeks as we’ve banded together as a school, nation, and world, to battle COVID-19. It comes from a time-honored and critically acclaimed movie, “High School Musical.” “We’re All in this Together” is one of those catchy, syrupy songs that once you hear it, it’s hard to get out of your head. However, deep down, there is an important message. So much so that I adjusted the lyrics a bit and recorded my own version of the song to inspire (horrify, with my tone-deaf singing) our faculty and staff.

The simple truth is that we are in this together, and it is through community that we will emerge successfully, and stronger, on the other side of this crisis. Expressions of community and the affinity members of the MPA community feel for one another abound these days. As a community, we’ve come together to provide stability and continuity for our students. Parents have come together as well, through formal and informal channels, to support, counsel, and learn from one another.

In less than a week, we have an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate our shared values and aspirations. Our annual Spring Auction was to take place on the top floor of a warehouse in Lowertown St. Paul overlooking the lights of the city. While that will not be possible, we will still come together, virtually, to celebrate the best of MPA. Through Zoom, we have the opportunity to join with one another from our kitchens and dining rooms across the metro area and raise both our spirits and the necessary funds to support MPA. Read More

Reframing Challenges

lower school family at school supplies pickupby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

My father used to say that it’s when the rubber meets the road that you know the value of something. There comes a time, he would say, when your values, resolve, or abilities will be tested and in that difficult or challenging moment, you’ll see what you are made of. The value of the MPA community has never been more clear to me than it has been over the last several weeks.

Without question, the pandemic is extremely difficult for all of us and there are more challenges to come. However, what has helped me, both professionally and personally, has been the resiliency and kindness of the MPA community. As you know, it’s been no small fete to transition to a virtual platform and to do so in accordance to our mission and values. Our teachers, students, and parents have all demonstrated the ability to quickly switch gears and adapt to a new platform. Our community has also shown great depths of kindness, caring for one another and sharing appreciation for teachers.

In our most recent parent survey, 90% said they were either satisfied or highly satisfied with our shift to virtual school. One parent shared, “Honestly, I thought that I knew how wonderful all those who work at MPA were—but today, being beside my son navigating his first day of virtual school, I was blown away with the professionalism, expertise, love, and support for the students at MPA. What an amazing team of beautiful, incredibly talented people our children have the awesome opportunity of encountering.” Read More

The Power Of A Great Teacher

MPA virtual upper school classby Dr. Bill Hudson, head of school

Great teachers make great online teachers. By now, you’ve read or heard me say that repeatedly over the last several weeks. To be honest, other than a few scattered snow days over the last several years, my assertion was more conjecture than evidentiary. However, after several days this week, I know this to be true. Because I know each teacher well, I knew in my heart but I now have proof that MPA teachers are great no matter the platform or medium.

It has been an incredible experience, working together with teachers, staff, and administration, to make the transition to virtual school. Through caffeine, adrenaline, and sheer will, we powered through to rise to the new challenge before us without doubt or hesitation. Frankly, there has never been another option. I didn’t realize this until I received a parent email with the following observation: “In corporate terms, this scale of change would have been vetted and pressure-tested through strategic planning process over a period of months, perhaps a full year’s planning cycle.” The can-do spirit of MPA has inspired us all. Read More

Coronavirus And Virtual School Information

MPA has created this page to keep the community updated on the latest information related to COVID-19. Please check back here as needed, but know that additional updates will be emailed as well.

Current Status | Updated March 26

  • Due to COVID-19, MPA’s campus is closed.
  • Classes PreK-12 will be in session virtually until Monday, May 4, at a minimum.
  • The situation is evolving and the time frame for virtual learning may be extended.
  • During this time there will be no on-campus school events, activities, athletics, or childcare at MPA.

MPA Resources

External Resources

Need childcare?

District 622 (North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale) is providing free childcare to the students of healthcare and government workers who are preschool age through grade five and attend a school in District 622, including MPA. A list of approved occupations can be found here. Sign up here. If you have any questions, please email Kurt New or call 651-748-7634.


Virtual Learning Extended

March 25, 2020

Dear MPA Families,

I’m writing to let you know that we will follow the recommendation that Governor Walz made today and continue learning virtually until May 4. While this is not easy news to share, my primary concern is always with the health and safety of our community.

Please don’t miss Thursday’s Panther Post. I will share more thoughts about the transition to virtual learning and the extension announced today. In the issue, you will be provided with the first formal opportunity to provide feedback—we need that in order to provide the most exceptional experience possible for your children.

I hope that you will join the division directors in their upcoming Town Hall Meetings being held via Zoom today and tomorrow. See links below as reminders.

Please know that we’re here for you, we care deeply about you, and we will come through this stronger, more nimble, and more resilient than we’ve ever been before.


Dr. Bill Hudson
Head of School

Lower School Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, March 25
4-5 PM
Meeting ID:
546 476 498

Upper School Town Hall Meeting
Wednesday, March 25
7-8 PM
Meeting ID: 853 897 697
Password: 063088

Middle School Town Hall Meeting #2
Thursday, March 26
7-8 PM
Meeting ID: 332 737 0417
Parents Only, Please

Previous Updates

First Different, Then Better

Many years ago, I learned an important lesson about change, be it societal, organizational, or educational: first different, then better. Most people want things to be better, but not different. In these extraordinary times we find ourselves in, everything is most certainly different. The education your students will experience starting next Tuesday is no exception. I am confident that the can-do spirit of Mounds Park Academy will endure and we will continue to offer meaningful, engaging, and substantive learning activities as we move to a virtual school model.

Great teachers are like conductors of an orchestra. They are attentive to the needs of and draw the best from each individual, but also blend together the various sounds into a magnificent whole. Great teachers employ a variety of methods and pedagogical techniques, intermingling a number of different activities in one class period. I’ve said it many times over the last few weeks that great teachers make great online teachers. This is because elements of virtual learning happen all the time as teachers regularly employ a variety of asynchronous, digital learning tools and activities. The difference is that we are now in a situation that virtual learning will take place for a sustained period of time.

In many ways, Tuesday will be like the first day of a new school year. It will take a few days to settle into the format and become accustomed to a new routine. Like the beginning of a new school year, it will be messy, and at times, frustrating. However, the positive attitude and flexible mindset we nurture in our students will carry us through the newness. The administration and teachers have worked tirelessly over the last several weeks, building and expanding upon our virtual learning foundation. Just as it is on campus, learning will be different across grades, divisions, and subject areas. The schedule will be different, and each day will vary with a variety of different learning opportunities. We will all need to be iterative, patient, and have realistic expectations. And, we will continue to honor the autonomy of individual teachers—that’s the MPA way.

The unique partnership between parents and school has long been a hallmark of an MPA education. In these times, we will need to rely upon this relationship more than ever and draw strength from it. Without question, parents will need to be engaged in their child’s learning but that will vary widely based on a student’s age, grade, and aptitude. We recognize that parents themselves are likely working from home and will make every effort to strike a balance between the appropriate level of guidance and support without it becoming another full-time job. Open, honest, and respectful communication will be essential, and I encourage you to reach out to teachers and administrators with your suggestions and concerns. Please also reach out with positive feedback—they are working really hard to serve your children in outstanding ways.

While these are certainly unprecedented times, when we emerge, we will see ourselves and one another in new ways. Disruption and discomfort are the enemies of complacency and can exponentially inspire and spur growth. Content knowledge is important but, as the world is reshaped in the foreseeable future, there will be opportunities to learn invaluable lessons about community, family, civic responsibility, and social health: central components of human life that are at the heart of education.

Relationships matter, perhaps now more than ever. We are fortunate to have a close, tight-knit community and have already formed, nurtured, and strengthened meaningful relationships. In the virtual world, we will continue to support social and emotional learning and be attentive to the mental health needs of students. Parents and teachers need to realize we are all human and need to practice self-care. Above all, we must be kind and forgiving—of yourself and others.


Dr. Bill Hudson
Head of School

Dear MPA Community,

I am writing to you with sadness—sadness for all of the people in our world who are suffering, sadness for the healthcare workers and emergency personnel who are separated from their families, and sadness for all of the students of Minnesota who, for the foreseeable future, will not be able to attend school in the way they are accustomed March 18-27, at a minimum (see announcement from Governor Walz here).

That being said, has there ever been a better time for our school community to dig deep, stretch our capacity, and engage in the best distance learning environment possible? We will all come together, as Panthers, and be our best: our most innovative, our most engaging, our most creative, our most kind, and our most hopeful. Together, I have absolutely no doubt that we will emerge from these challenging times stronger than we were before, more connected and less afraid.

The administrative team has been working throughout spring break thus far for this possibility. Teachers, too, have used their break to begin formulating alternative lessons plans. However, in order to collaborate and finalize planning, faculty will gather at school on Monday, March 23. There will be no school that day, virtually or on campus. Through hard work, dedication, and the can-do spirit that our school was founded upon, we’ll be ready to start learning virtually next Tuesday, March 24. Governor Walz has closed schools March 18-27, however, we will be fully implemented and prepared should that date be extended.

Please note: Due to this order, Panther Club and Den will be closed starting this Wednesday, March 18. If you are unable to secure childcare and are a health care professional, first responder, or other emergency worker, please email gwallraff@moundsparkacademy.org. We are currently discussing ways we can accommodate the governor's request to provide care for those workers, should parents have difficulties securing an alternative.

Please send your thoughts and questions to communications@moundsparkacademy.org. FAQs will be posted below as they come in. And, I will plan to communicate again on Thursday.

I’ll close with an excerpt from our manifesto that is grounding me in the MPA way, and I hope will ground you too:

Your type of mind calls for our type of education. Education that awakens your senses. And encourages respectful discourse, at every turn. That unleashes a sense of wonder, a depth of inquiry, and a joy of learning. For a lifetime. That encourages you to explore your own unique differences, while insisting that everyone learns, lives, and thrives together. Grounding you in the radical idea that your identity in your world is not measured by a test score, but by the depth and decency of your impact on the world.

While nothing could ever replace the face-to-face experience that MPA typically provides, I pledge to you that our purpose as described above will not change. MPA’s faculty, staff, and administrative team will work tirelessly to ensure that.


Dr. Bill Hudson
Head of School

Dear MPA Community,

Throughout spring break, members of the administrative team have been keeping a very close eye on developments related to COVID-19 and have continued to work diligently to keep the health, safety, and well-being of our entire community at the forefront of our decision making.

Given practices were scheduled to begin on Monday, we have made the difficult decision to suspend spring sports and extra-curricular activities indefinitely. This is similar to other IMAC conference schools. That being said, following the guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health released today, at this time we are planning to resume classes after spring break, on March 23. When your family returns, you will find that we have:

  • Instituted a more extensive cleaning protocol in classrooms, common spaces, and offices.
  • Added free-standing hand sanitizing stations throughout campus.
  • Secured hand sanitizer for every classroom and office.

As I communicated prior to spring break, if you have traveled you will need to follow the protocols in place by the CDC prior to returning to campus, including any quarantines that may be required. If one person in your family needs to quarantine, all members of your family will be required to do so before returning to campus. In these cases, or should you decide to keep your student at home due to a pre-existing health condition or other risk factor, teachers will work closely with families to ensure that learning continues.

Next Thursday, I will communicate again with a full list of protocols and social distancing measures that will be in place when school resumes as well as a list of any gatherings that may need to be cancelled. And, should anything significant change between now and then, I will certainly communicate again.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email communications@moundsparkacademy.org or reach out to your division director.

Dear MPA Community,

As we approach the official beginning of MPA’s spring break, I would like to provide another update before our community scatters for two weeks. Our planning and preparation to preserve the continuity of learning and minimizing educational and social disruption advances in scope and detail. Precautionary measures are continuing to be developed and implemented. All students have been educated about COVID-19 and proper hygiene is being emphasized and reinforced.

We continue to monitor global, national, health organizations as well as consult with local health officials in order to make the best possible decisions to keep our entire school community safe. The situation unfolds daily, sometimes hourly, and the Minnesota Department of Health anticipates that cases in Minnesota and the nation will increase. Many universities and corporations have halted international travel, and some have even cancelled all non-essential travel in the United States.

Out of an abundance of care and caution, I strongly urge all community members planning to travel over break (either domestically or internationally) to carefully watch and plan to follow the recommended U.S. State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on COVID-19. Please prepare for the possibility of rapidly changing travel restrictions that might prevent your family and child from coming back to school. Please take time to carefully weigh the potential risks to your health and the health of our community.

I want to say a few words about the matter of closing school. In short, MPA will follow the recommendations of national, state, or local health organizations. It could be that we face a government-imposed shutdown. Or, local health officials may mandate certain quarantine or exclusion rules in the face of an outbreak. Given that our community’s safety is paramount, we may decide to close school doors even without a government mandate. In our next communication, we will provide greater detail into how the decision is made. In the event that schools are closed during spring break, we will activate the school’s emergency notification system and contact parents and guardians by phone, text, and email, according to the contact information you have indicated in Powerschool.

If MPA closes for a period of time, we will ensure the continuity of learning by moving to virtual school. Great teachers make great online teachers. The strengths of our exceptional teachers are, in part, built on their ability to relate to students and create a true classroom community. That also carries over into the online classroom. The guidelines for the ongoing education of our students may be found here. Please take a moment to review the guidelines; if you have questions, please contact your division director. I hope there will be no disruption to school because of the virus, and that our preparations will serve only as a valuable exercise.

As I’ve learned more about the virus and come to understand how to prevent and proactively prepare for its spread, what we do know is that there is much that is not yet known. Therefore, we will continue monitoring this situation and provide updates as necessary. Please be assured that as we depart for spring break, the health and wellness of our community remains our top priority. I am grateful for the trust you place in us and the strong partnership that is a hallmark of MPA.

Dear MPA Families,

In addition to what I communicated in Panther Post last Thursday, I am writing to share additional information about MPA’s approach to the COVID-19. As a school community, MPA is focused on the possible impacts on our students, faculty, and staff—our primary concern is the safety of our entire community.

To ensure our sound and careful decision-making, we are monitoring global, world, and local health organizations including, but not limited to the Minnesota Department of Health, World Health Organization, CDC, and local governmental organizations. It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious virus like COVID-19 is primarily a task for public health agencies. Additionally, we have assembled MPA’s Emergency Management Team to ensure we are informed and prepared.

As a school community, we have four goals: prioritize the health and safety of our community; preserve the continuity of essential services; minimize the educational and social disruptions; and minimize academic losses. To that end, as a PreK-12 faculty and staff, we have spent a great deal of time over the past few days diving deeply into the following:

  1. taking steps to keep our entire community healthy and safe;
  2. educating ourselves about COVID-19 and becoming more comfortable talking about the virus with our students; and
  3. planning for the continuity of learning and school operations should a temporary closure become necessary.

Below you will find an update on each area of focus.

Taking steps to keep our entire community healthy and safe.
We have ordered additional cleaning supplies and, in partnership with our facilities and evening cleaning crew, are planning to more extensively wipe down all surfaces. Additional free-standing hand sanitizing stations will be on campus, individual bottles of hand sanitizer will be in all classrooms, and proper hand washing techniques will be even more encouraged daily.

We ask you to partner with us in keeping children healthy. While at home and at school, encourage your children to:

  • wash hands, with soap and water, frequently and for a duration of at least 20 seconds;
  • use hand sanitizer gel when soap and water are not available;
  • avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and/or sneezing and dispose of tissues in trash receptacles and wash their hands after coughing or sneezing;
  • clean and disinfect surfaces and objects they frequently touch (e.g. cell phones, laptops, keyboards, ear buds, etc.);
  • avoid contact with people who are ill;
  • keep them home if they exhibit symptoms including, but not limited to a fever of 100 degrees or greater; and
  • ensure they remain home until fever-free (without medication) for 24 hours.

If your child becomes ill while at school, he/she should immediately report to our school nurse, Julie Koster. A student presenting in the nurse’s office with symptoms including but not limited to a body temperature of 100 degrees or greater will be sent home from school.

Students and families are strongly discouraged from traveling to regions most susceptible to infection. If a student or other community member decides to travel to a country that has been identified with a warning or alert by the CDC (click here for the list), they will  need to follow the protocols in place by the Minnesota Department of Health, the CDC, and the World Health Organization prior to returning to campus. This will likely mean that your child will be required to stay home and away from fellow students for 14 days after your return and before coming back to school. This is the standard quarantine period recommended by the CDC and an important public health safety precaution families will need to adhere to better ensure that our school environment remains safe from the virus.

We will work in close partnership with any impacted family. If your family is planning to travel to a country with a warning or alert, please notify your division director.

Educating ourselves about COVID-19 and becoming more comfortable talking about the virus with our students.
The National Association of School Psychologists in partnership with the National Association of School Nurses has developed a wonderful resource for parents and teachers. Click here to access the full version. In summary, it recommends:

  • remain calm and reassuring;
  • make yourself available;
  • avoid excessive blaming;
  • monitor television viewing and social media;
  • maintain a regular routine to the extent possible;
  • be honest and accurate;
  • know the symptoms of COVID-19;
  • review and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices for protection;
  • discuss new rules or practices at school; and
  • communicate with your school.

Planning for the continuity of learning and school operations should a temporary closure become necessary.
If this situation should turn into a local health emergency that would require the Minnesota Department of Health to close schools for a period of time, I am working with our academic leadership team and faculty to devise plans by which we can facilitate the ongoing education of all our students. Our Continuity of Learning Guidelines are under development with a goal to carry on learning, but not necessarily replicate a traditional school day. Nothing could replace the face-to-face interaction that the MPA experience offers. However, as part of our deep commitment to you and your children, we will work exceptionally hard to ensure that learning remains constant.

Plans range from age-appropriate learning activities that could be done at home in our younger grades to leveraging the access afforded to us by our 1:1 laptop program starting in grade five. While we all hope this proves not to be necessary, we are preparing for this possibility. To that end, students in grades five and six will bring their laptops and chargers home on Friday. These activities may require varied levels of parent involvement and support, which we will communicate in advance, but parents will not be placed in the role of teacher.

MPA understands that you have concerns about your child/children and assures you that the health and safety of students is our highest priority. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your division director or email communications@moundsparkacademy.org.

We are watching with sympathy and concern as this virus impacts the entire world. As we continue to carefully monitor this situation, please know that we will communicate additional information as it becomes available. Thank you for your cooperation and support.

As the world continues to monitor the Coronavirus and its impact on the lives of many, so too does MPA’s leadership. The safety of the entire community is always at the forefront of our minds.

To that end, students have been strongly discouraged from traveling to regions most susceptible to infection. If a student or other community member decides to travel to a country that has been identified with a warning or alert by the CDC (click here for the list), they will need to follow the protocols of the Minnesota Department of Health, the CDC, and the World Health Organization prior to returning to campus. We will work in close partnership with any impacted family while we follow the recommendations of those organizations.

At this time, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Health, the risk of becoming sick with COVID-19 is low, including for people in Minnesota schools. In the unlikely event that more significant school-related measures need to be implemented, MPA is well positioned with the educational technology necessary to facilitate communication and learning. Again, we will be following the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC.

In your daily life, please take great care to prevent the spread of all diseases: use good hand washing practices, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and do not travel or come to school or work while sick. On campus, we are working diligently to implement the additional recommended cleaning protocols.

We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and plan to communicate again next week as new information becomes available. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your division director or email communications@moundsparkacademy.org.

Why Interdisciplinary Education Works

upper school students having social studies class discussionby Mark Segal, Upper School director

Editor’s Note: On the first Thursday of each month, you will find a guest Head’s Message here from one of MPA’s division directors. We hope you enjoy reading their thoughts and reflections about life at MPA.

When I was in second or third grade, I defined mathematics as something I did daily from 9:45–10:30 AM. My focus should have been on the addition and subtraction problems written on the blackboard or mimeographed handout, but instead it was on the upcoming recess where my friends and I played competitive games against one another. Educators rarely explain to students and parents why the school day is designed as it is. It should be no surprise then that students and parents look at the arbitrary divisions for English, math, reading, social studies, world language, science, art, music, and physical education and begin to define the subject areas as separate bodies of knowledge with little connection to one another.

As I moved into middle and upper school, the subject matter separation became even more noticeable as the academic areas were forced into independent time frames taught by individual teachers. It is no wonder that many middle and upper school students (including me 35+ years ago) complain that school is irrelevant to the larger world. In the real world, we do not wake up in the morning and do social studies for a specified time block. Over time, adolescents begin to recognize that in “real life” we encounter challenges and situations, gather data from a number of resources, and problem solve to generate solutions. The fragmented school day does not reflect this reality. Read More

Providing Our Students Safety And Confidence

upper school students working together in the study roomsby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license. The summer I turned 16, I was a counselor at a Boy Scout camp in Michigan. I asked my dad to drive up to camp so I could go to the local office and take the written and behind the wheel tests. I passed both with flying colors and achieved this important milestone of adolescence. Please note, this was not much of an accomplishment as the population of the town where I took the behind the wheel portion of the test was just under 2000. Given how important it was for my friends and me to drive, it has surprised me that more and more students in high school these days don’t have, and are not in a hurry to get, their driver’s license.

There is some very interesting quantitative research conducted on generational differences that explains this anecdotal observation. According to professor of psychology and author Jean M. Twenge, today’s young people, who she calls the iGen, are growing up slower than previous generations. Accounting for 24 percent of the population of the United States, iGen are those born between 1995 and 2012. Examples of this phenomenon are that they are less likely to: Read More

Ways Of Seeing

middle school students observing science experimentby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

My mother had cataracts surgery today. Although I’ve known about the condition for years, I found myself researching its causes and treatment, happy to find that the procedure is both common and safe. In conversations with my mother, I asked how it affected her and the way she sees the world, the challenges she faces navigating her daily routine, and the limitations of poor sight. I am grateful for the doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers who care for my mother so that she can once again see the world with clarity.

I have long believed that the power of education is to help young people see the world in new ways. Inspiring literature, the beauty of mathematics, the magnificence of science, and the beauty and depth of the arts, provide students multiple ways of seeing themselves, others, and the world around them. Education is much more complex than simply imparting knowledge and skills. It is accompanying students through a challenging and sometimes uncomfortable process of fostering a growing awareness of themselves and their own agency. Read More

To Care Is To Confirm

students reading the grateful heartsby Jenn Milam, Ph.D., Middle School director

Editor’s Note: Each month, you will find a guest Head’s Message here from one of MPA’s division directors. We hope you enjoy reading their thoughts and reflections about life at MPA.

“When we confirm someone, we identify a better self and encourage its development. To do this, we must know the other reasonably well. Otherwise we cannot see what the other is really striving for, what ideal he or she may long to make real.” –Nel Noddings

Philosophy. Philosophy, quite literally derived from the Greek word philosophia, meaning “love of wisdom” is the study of knowledge(s). As we round the week toward Valentine’s Day, I thought I might share a little bit about the importance of love, of care, of confirmation in education. I invite you to wander with me a bit in my thinking. Read More

Momentum 2020: Living Out Our Mission

upper school students working together in the commonsby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

As we approach the end of our current 5-year strategic plan, Momentum 2020, work is underway to lay the foundation for our next plan. Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees and the school’s administration, the MPA community is engaged in a conversation around our core and aspirational values that will give direction to the new plan.

As part of this conversation, students in the Upper School were recently given the opportunity to provide their feedback on a list of core and aspirational values. They were also given the opportunity to name additional values represented at MPA that were not on the list provided. Imagine my reaction when the overwhelming value Upper School students offered was “kindness.” In a world that often feels anything but kind, I am proud that students affirmed kindness as a core value. While respect is part of our mission statement, kindness is the manifestation of respect, an expression of how students consciously choose to act. I couldn’t have been prouder.

We are fortunate to have a warm, kind, welcoming, and inclusive community, characterized by kindness. It represents a deliberate outcome set forth in our current plan that prioritized the creation and implementation of character education and wellness programs across each division. It serves as just one of many examples of how Momentum 2020 has guided the ongoing, continuous school improvement over the past five years. It is customary at this time of year that I provide an update on our strategic plan and how the school is living out its mission. As you will see in this infographic, we have accomplished a great deal. While it is impossible to capture all the progress that has been made in the last year, I would like to highlight a few notable accomplishments under each of the three strategic priorities. Read More

Born Of A Dream And A Shoestring

lower school boys reading in the new libraryJoanne Olson, MPA’s first Lower School director, is fond of saying that MPA was born “of a dream and a shoestring.” What started as the dream of founders Bob Kriescher and Sandy Kriescher Smith, quickly became the dream of parents and educators from across the Twin Cities. Bob, Sandy, our founding teachers, board members, and parents pooled what resources they could muster to make their dream a reality on a shoestring budget that would have a lasting impact.

Sandy Kriescher Smith once shared with me that she used a small bequest from her grandmother’s estate to buy books for the new library. In the year before MPA opened, Sandy would crisscross the cities, utilizing her inheritance to purchase the books from public schools that were closing, or the inventory cast from public libraries. Little by little, she filled her garage with boxes of books so that when (or if!) the school opened, it would have a library.

Sandy’s story is just one of the many stories of our humble beginnings. MPA would not exist without the vision of the founding families and generosity of time and resources of so many. Over the years, generous gifts have resulted in beautiful campus and school community. A commitment to the school guided parents and supporters to invest in the needs of the time but also to invest in the school’s future. Read More