Fall Panther Care

Two students at Panther CampPlease use the links below to sign up for Full Day Panther Care on Fall Conference Day on October 13 and during Fall Break on October 20. Care is available from 7 AM to 6 PM each day for grades K-8. Snacks will be provided, but please send a cold lunch for your Panther attendee.

A minimum of 6 registrations is required; limited to 30 spaces. Please join the waitlist if full—plans change and space often becomes available.

Full Day Panther Care — Fall Conferences
Full Day Panther Care — Fall Break

Homecoming Is For Everyone

from Bill Hudson, head of school

The energy in the building has been ramping up all week as we celebrate Homecoming. Students have been enjoying a series of special events, coloring contests, themed dress-up days, and assemblies. In many schools, this is associated with a Friday night football game and alumni events. At MPA, Homecoming is for everyone and is a week-long celebration of affinity for the school that includes all members of the school community—students in grades PreK-12, parents, alumni, parents of alumni, and friends.

For many students, MPA is a second home to them. Throughout the fall, I invite seniors to have lunch with me in small groups of 10-12. Over lunch, I ask the seniors to share their “MPA Moment,” an experience that encapsulates the essence of MPA. Inevitably, they talk about the sense of family they feel, the strong relationships they have with their teachers, and how much they belong at MPA.

Many years ago, I read the book, “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community” by Robert Putnam. The title may seem strange but bowling alone serves as a metaphor for the loss of community in American society. In the 1990’s and 1980’s, bowling was the fastest-growing sport in the United States, all the while participation in bowling leagues dropped precipitously. Putnam found that fewer people are participating in social clubs, attending church, and even having dinner together as a family. Read More

Parents Association News & Events September 28, 2023

Lower School Quarterly Coffee
Tuesday, October 3, 8:15-9:45 AM
Join us for the first LS Quarterly Coffee of the year. Meet the new Lower School Director, Ms. Jennifer Le Varge. There will be a Fastbridge information presentation by Learning Support Specialists Alyssa Andretta and Robyn Kramer. Hear Chef Chris explain “All About the Cafeteria.” There will be a time for feedback and planning for future meetings. The last half hour will be reserved for informal conversations. This event will be held in the Gallery after drop off, from 8:15-9:45 AM.

Upper School Parent Coffee
Thursday, October 5, 8-9:30 AM
Join us for the first Upper School Coffee of the year. Talk with Mark Segal and other parents about the latest US happenings. We’ll meet in the Porter Conference Room (PCR).

Faculty and Staff Appreciation
Tuesday, October 10-Friday, October 13
The school year is getting into high gear, and the first round of Parent/Teacher conferences is coming up. The Parents Association and MPA parents and families are continuing the tradition of donating snacks and treats to help our staff get through conferences and to show our appreciation to all MPA employees. Please consider donating a beverage or snack for Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week. Remember to adhere to MPA’s Peanut/Tree Nut Policy when choosing snacks. Suggestions can be found at the link below. Thank you from the MPA Parents Association! Contact Tara Lafferty tmattrn@aol.com with any questions. Sign up here. Read More

Congratulations, National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Students!

Last fall, more than 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2024 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Based on PSAT performance, a nationwide pool of about 16,000 Semifinalists recently were announced, which represents the highest-scoring entrants in each state (less than one percent of all U.S. high school seniors).

Congratulations to Mounds Park Academy seniors Zain Ali, Maggie Banks-Hehenberger, Leo Eakin, Ian Frankel, Miles Niemeyer, and Soumya Raman, who are among these National Merit Semifinalists! These current seniors will now complete an extensive application to proceed further in the competition, providing their academic record, an essay, school recommendation, and SAT or ACT scores that confirm their qualifying performance on the PSAT.

Two additional seniors, Eilam Deinard and Ben Murr, are recognized as Commended Students in the National Merit program. Their scores placed them in the top 50,000 students nationally.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recognizes students who have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success and notes that they represent a valuable national resource, contributing to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.

Your Brain on Art

from Dr. Bill Hudson, head of school

Rarely was I more proud of our school than last Thursday. I sat in on the presentation of our Lower School specialist teachers at Curriculum Night.  Our teachers presented the underpinnings of their curriculum with passion and upon a firm foundation of science and best practices.  Across divisions, the MPA curriculum is enriched by a commitment to the arts and a whole child pedagogy.

In an age of high-stakes standardized testing and societal concerns about math and science scores, parents might question MPA’s emphasis on the arts.  I understand the arts at MPA more broadly, including music (vocal and instrumental), visual arts, theater, and even world languages and physical education.  From the founding of the school, the curriculum of the school reflects an intentional balance between academics, arts, and athletics. 1982, our founders knew instinctively that such a balance was vital to developing the whole child. Through new and emerging brain research, we now know that their instincts were correct.

Over the weekend, I read the New York Times bestseller Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross. The authors propose that the arts are not mere distractions but powerful tools for improving our health and well-being across many dimensions of life and with the science to prove it. The arts are vital in relieving stress and enhancing well-being; they help heal trauma, mitigate pain, and help us live not only a healthier life but a longer and more meaningful life, too. Read More

Lower School Division News September 21, 2023

from Jennifer Le Varge, Lower School director

Mark Your Calendars!

  • Monday, September 25: Yom Kippur, No School
  • Wednesday, September 27: Schoology training for parents, 3:15-4:15 PM, Gallery
  • Friday, September 29: LS Homecoming Assembly, 8:15-8:45 AM, Family Commons
  • Tuesday, October 3: LS PA Quarterly Parent Coffee, 8:15-9:45 AM, Gallery
  • Thursday, October 5: Schoology training for parents, 8:15-9:15 AM, Gallery
  • Friday, October 6: Picture Re-take Day
  • Monday, October 9: Indigenous People’s Day, No School
  • Thursday, October 12: Fall Conferences, 3:30-8 PM
  • Friday, October 13: Fall Conferences, 8 AM-5 PM, No School
  • Wednesday, October 18: Grandparents and Special Friends’ Day
  • Thursday, October 19-Friday, October 20: Fall Break, No School

We’re off to a great start in the Lower School so far this year! Students are getting back into the groove of school and are learning lots of new things. As we look ahead, here are some upcoming dates and information:

MPA Homecoming 2023–Wild with Panther Pride
Celebrate Panther Pride by joining in on this year’s Homecoming activities! Lower School students will show their MPA pride on Friday, September 29 and Saturday, September 30! MPA provides Panther pride Homecoming themed t-shirts for all students! They will be distributed to your child during Homecoming week. On Friday, our special Lower School Homecoming Assembly will take place from 8:15-8:45 AM in the Family Commons. Students are invited to wear MPA spirit wear including their special homecoming shirts. On Saturday, September 30, we will host several fun activities and athletics events on campus. If you’d like to volunteer or sign up for any activities on Saturday, please click here. Read More

Parents Association News & Events September 21, 2023

Faculty and Staff Appreciation
Tuesday, October 10 – Friday, October 13
The school year is getting into high gear and the first round of Parent/Teacher conferences is coming up. The Parents Association and MPA parents and families are continuing the tradition of donating snacks and treats to help our staff get through conferences and to show our appreciation to all MPA employees. Please consider donating a beverage or snack for Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week. Remember to adhere to MPA Peanut/Tree Nut Policy when choosing snacks. Suggestions can be found on Sign Up Genius. Thank you from the MPA Parents Association! (Contact Tara Lafferty tmattrn@aol.com for questions). Sign up here.

Volunteer in the MPA Garden!
We are looking for volunteers to help with the MPA garden before the weather gets too cold. No previous gardening experience is necessary. No long term commitment is necessary either. We typically meet either Thursday or Friday mornings after drop off, but can also meet at other times as well. If interested, please contact Sara Carroll at smtanaka@gmail.com or Tenia Kalogeropoulou at tenia2@yahoo.com to coordinate.

Volunteer for Homecoming!
Friday, September 29 – Saturday, September 30
The Athletic Department is looking for help during Homecoming Week. Whether you’re a new Kindergarten Family or Seasoned US Parent, we invite you to help our school this Homecoming. MPA needs parents and students to help run the concession stand during MS and US School athletic events. We’re also in need of help to register students at LS workshops, help students on the rock climbing wall, don the Panther Mascot costume, paint faces, and more. Upper School students can earn volunteer hours by participating. MS and LS students are welcome to work in the concession stand with parent supervision. Check it out here.

Lower School Quarterly Coffee
Tuesday, October 3, 8:15-9:45 AM
Meet the new Lower School Director, Ms. Le Varge! The LS Quarterly coffee will be held in the Gallery after drop off, from 8:15-9:45 AM.

Upper School Parent Coffee
Thursday, October 5, 8-9:30 AM
Join us for the first Upper School Coffee of the year. Talk with Mark Segal and other parents about the latest US happenings. We’ll meet in the Porter Conference Room (PCR).

MPA Parents Association Affinity Groups
As part of MPA’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, the MPA PA in collaboration with the Office of Equity & Belonging, will begin offering Affinity Groups for parents/caregivers of current MPA students. Affinity Groups help foster a sense of belonging by providing a space for parents and caregivers to connect through shared experience and shared identity. They can also offer group members affirmation, support, and a vehicle for advocacy, especially those identities and experiences which are generally under-represented or frequently misrepresented in dominant culture and discourse.

Who leads affinity groups?
Affinity Group discussions are led by parent volunteers who work closely with the PA DEI Committee and MPA staff to manage meeting logistics, support member participation and group cohesion, and provide periodic feedback and/or suggestions during scheduled MPA PA DEI Committee meetings. Parents who are interested in volunteering as a group leader can complete this form.

Who can join?
Participation in affinity groups will require that a parent/caregiver self-identify with specific affinities detailed in each group’s description. This also holds true for volunteer parent leaders.

When and where are group meetings?
Initial affinity group meetings dates/times will be scheduled at the discretion of the PA and MPA staff, and based on the availability of space. It is expected that meetings will take place at MPA or virtually when appropriate. Following initial meetings, changes to dates/times and location will be based on group consensus, while ensuring that maximizing participation remains the top priority.

How are groups created?
Affinity groups are established to meet specific needs within the MPA community. At any point, families can request the formation of a new affinity group using this FORM. All submissions for new affinity groups will be reviewed by the PA and Equity & Belonging Office and a follow-up meeting will be scheduled with the requestor(s) to learn more about the desired group. It must be determined that there is both enough interest within the community and that someone is willing to lead the group before final approval of a new group. Following approval by the PA, a new group will work with MPA staff to plan logistics for the initial meeting. Parent Affinity Group Form.

What Makes a Global Citizen?

Salmah and Ms. Murr talking togetherThis message is from MPA’s Office of Admission from the September 21, 2023 issue of InsideMPA. Click here to get in touch with Admission and learn more!

At MPA, we are nurturing dreamers, doers, and right-makers. We are equipping students with academic knowledge to be change agents and world-shakers. In fact, in MPA’s Code of Ethics, our community acknowledges the responsibility of being a global citizen by advocating for social justice, caring for the welfare of others, and promoting human equality, among other pillars rooted in respect.

“Right-making is a seed that is planted in each student and cultivated as they journey through MPA. Not only do we teach character traits like inclusiveness and integrity, we promote a do-right attitude through our actions and words while we learn and grow together. This inspires us to dream big and impact others positively at home and in the world,” Kristine Petersen, MPA Kindergarten teacher says of global citizenship at MPA.

Through rigorous curriculum with meaning and purpose, and an educational blueprint with character education at its heart, MPA pushes students to realize that their identities are measured by the depth and decency of their impact on the world–our world. Perhaps Ms. Murr and Salmah ’21 could illustrate what this means.

Global citizenship at MPA is all about students discovering how to make a positive difference in our world, helping one another, and feeling connected. We emphasize character education. We require service projects prior to graduation. We support student-led clubs with cause-based initiatives. We partner with global organizations–The Red Cross and Seeds of Change, for example–for our students as young as first grade to realize their responsibility to positively impact our world. This is what makes a global citizen–and cultivating a service-based mindset in students is key to unlocking a larger worldview, while also preparing them for all that lies ahead.

Schoology Training Sessions

Please join us for a parent training!

  • Wednesday, September 27, 3:15-4:15 PM
  • Thursday, October 5, 8:15-9:15 AM

Lower School training in Gallery.
Middle School training in the Library.

1:1 help will be available during conferences on October 12 from 3:30-5:30 PM and on October 13 from 8-3 PM. Sign-up will be through Pick-A-Time starting Friday when the system opens for conference scheduling.

Come to campus with your laptop and/or tablet to learn the ins and outs of Schoology and best practices for using it as a parent.

If you have any questions about this training or accessing Schoology, contact Michael Moran, director of academic technology, at mmoran@moundsparkacademy.org or 651-748-5522.

Message from Alumni Board Member and MPA Third Grade Teacher, Annie Stewart ‘11

As an educator in Minnesota, the month of September brings many transitions—the end of the State Fair and, therefore, summer vacation, begrudgingly getting back into a school sleep schedule, cooler temperatures, and the joys of planning for a new year, and a new set of students. This September was no different, except that I would be officially teaching at MPA. If you had asked me when I graduated twelve years ago if I could see myself teaching, let alone teaching at the academy, I would have scoffed and said, “There is NO WAY I’m doing what my parents do!” Funny how life works out, right? Starting a new school year is always nerve-wracking no matter how long you’ve been teaching, “Are the kids going to like me? Have I done enough lesson planning? What if they hate the room? What if I mess up?” What I’m grateful for during this season of transition is how easy it was for me to handle those nerves, knowing I’d be coming back home. Regardless of your experience at MPA, there is something inherently special about walking the halls of your alma mater. What struck me as I dragged box after box of classroom decorations and school supplies down the Lower School hallway was, “Okay! I guess I’m really doing this… and thank goodness I get to be doing it here.” After spending four years teaching in public schools, I felt a literal weight taken off my shoulders when I walked through my classroom door. I knew that no matter what this school year would bring, I would be supported, cared for, and cheered on by everyone in the building.

As you all go through your own transitions this fall, don’t forget about all of the happenings going on back on campus. Homecoming is right around the corner on September 29 and 30 with the inaugural Hall of Fame induction dinner for outstanding Panther athletics, an all-alumni social gathering, the class of 1994 reunion, and lots of opportunities for you to cheer on Panther sports. You’ll find me cheering on the girls volleyball team! The fall is a great time to reconnect with MPA, and I hope to see many of you on campus, whether you’re here for Homecoming or just for a tour. If you want to see me in action, come down to room #113 and hang out with some awesome 3rd graders!