Homecoming Celebration And Spirit Week Reimagined

Homecoming September 27 – October 2
Join us as we reimagine our annual Homecoming festivities in light of COVID-19 health and safety concerns. We are offering division-specific opportunities for students as a part of a weeklong celebration, building spirit for MPA Athletics and our entire community.

Upper School Activities:

  • MPA Student Council Spirit Week Dress Up Days: September 27 – October 1
  • Upper School student only BBQ: October 1, 5 – 8 PM, Benz Courtyard
  • Free Homecoming-themed MPA t-shirts for all Upper School students

Middle School Activities:

  • Middle School Game Day: October 1, 10 AM – 3 PM, South Lawn (Parent Volunteers needed!)
  • Spirit Week Dress Up Days September 27 – October 1
  • Free Homecoming-themed MPA t-shirts for all Middle School students

Lower School Activities:

  • Pajama Day for all Lower School Students: September 27
  • Spirit Wear Day with Homecoming T-shirt and non-uniform bottom: October 1
  • Homecoming Spirit Photo Booth and Special Appearances by the MPA Panther: September 27-October 1
  • Homecoming Panther Coloring Sheets available for students
  • Free Homecoming-themed MPA t-shirts for all Lower School students

MPA Athletics Schedule Saturday, October 2
Please note: Only athlete household members may attend in person. Join in the fun and cheer on our Panthers by streaming games live! Learn more at https://www.moundsparkacademy.org/athletics/

  • Varsity Girls Soccer vs New Life Academy 11:00 AM (available for streaming)
  • Varsity Boys Soccer New Life Academy 1:00 PM (available for streaming)
  • Varsity Volleyball 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM (continuous streaming viewing)
  • JV Boys Soccer New Life Academy 11:00 AM (not available for streaming)
  • Varsity Girls Tennis vs Como Park and Cretin Derham Hall (not available for streaming)

Homecoming Parent Gathering 
Parents, would you like to share your MPA Spirit and support our student athletes? Join the MPA Parent’s Association for an all-parent coffee and community building meet-up on Friday, October 1 from 7:45 to 10 AM. You’ll find us under the big white tent in the west parking lot, rain or shine. Meet other MPA parents, help to decorate the outdoor fields, and write messages of encouragement for our athletes. Go Panthers!

The Responsibility of Bold Innovation

from Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of SchoolHead's Message

I have to admit I am a big fan of dystopia books, film, and television. Favorite books include “The Stand” by Stephen King and “Swan Song” by Robert McCammon, movies such as “The Day After Tomorrow” and “I Am Legend”, and television shows like “The Leftovers” and “The Walking Dead.” It’s not that I like gloom and doom or enjoy blood and gore. Rather, I see dystopian literature, films, and television as windows into the human condition, what humans are capable of in the face of horrific conditions, great suffering, or terrible injustice, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Living through the last several weeks, let alone the last 18 months, has been all too much like a dystopian novel. Wildfires in the west, hurricanes in the south, the drought here in Minnesota combined with the lingering effects of the pandemic, all present a series of challenges that are testing the fabric of our society. Like characters in a dystopian movie, we are learning a great deal about ourselves, what we value, and what we are willing to do to endure.

Imagine my surprise last week when dystopia seemed to invade my professional life when I came across the article “Schooling in the ‘Fifth Season’” by Justin Reich in the latest edition of one of my favorite education journals, Educational Leadership. What caught my attention was a quote from a study conducted by the United States Change Research Program, “Humans are re-engineering the geo-chemistry of the planet to be inhospitable to our current civilization. As average temperatures rise and extreme weather events become more common, there will be more fires, more floods, more freezes, more novel disease events, and accompanying migration, civil unrest, and conflict.” (Reidmiller, et al., 2018) While I’m not sure I agree with this assessment, I believe that conducting school no just like we did 18 months ago would be a mistake. Educational systems must be inherently structured to pivot and change and to become more agile and proactively responsive. Read More

Connecting With The MPA Parents Association

Homecoming CoffeePA
Join us for an all school morning coffee to celebrate Homecoming on Friday, October 1 from 7:45-10:00 AM. Have a hot cup of coffee and, if you choose, show your support for our athletes by helping to decorate the tennis courts and soccer field fence as well as writing messages of encouragement for our student athletes. We’ll be under the tent in the west parking lot, rain or shine. Go Panthers!

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Sign Up
Fall at MPA is filled with traditions…The first day of school, picture day, after school sports, that first missed homework assignment and Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week. Help the PA keep the tradition of supporting our faculty and staff by donating snacks and beverages during this busy week. They’ll be available all week for staff to grab at their convenience. Donations can be brought to your assigned drop off door during morning drop off (LS, MS, or US). To sign up, click the link below:


Parents Connect: Wednesday Morning Walks
The Parents Association invites parents and guardians to get together Wednesday mornings after drop off with Michelle Mick. We’ll meet at the flagpole near the LS entrance. LS, MS and US families are welcome. Chat with new parents and connect with friends. Younger children are welcome to walk with us.

Remember to bring a mask to all events! Hope to see you there!

Parents Connect: Monday and Thursday Mornings in the Garden
Get your hands dirty after drop off, helping in MPA’s gardens. No experience necessary. Come and help weed, plant, dig, or sow, all are welcome. How long you stay is up to you. If Michelle Mick is not at the flagpole, go around the corner, in the Library gardens, next to Door #2.

A Commitment To Growth

from Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School Head's Message

On Wednesday morning I had the pleasure of attending the first Lower School CHAMP assembly of the new school year. If you are not familiar with CHAMP, it stands for “Character Happens At Mounds Park.” My day began greeting students as they entered school wearing a rainbow of designated colors unique to their grade level. The assembly would ordinarily take place in person, but instead students gathered via Zoom to engage joyfully in song, learn about the attribute of the new year, and listen to a book read by librarian Nancy Lage. Afterwards, classroom teachers invited students to share their thoughts and experiences on the theme.

Now in its eleventh year, the CHAMP program will continue to focus on its primary philosophy of guiding students to act with a specific set of traits to produce responsible citizens. As explained by Renee Wright, Lower School Director, classes will continue to focus on the eleven attributes in order to endorse real-life application of Friendship, Compassion, Respect, Inclusiveness, Courage, Self-control, Responsibility, Cooperation, Mindfulness, Integrity, and Perseverance. The focus this year will be on being accountable and students will focus on being accountable to self, family, school, and community. Read More

Lower School Division News

LS News
from Renee Wright, Lower School Director

Our first CHAMP assembly took place on Wednesday, September 8. I am excited to share that our focus for this school year will be on ACCOUNTABILITY.  Students will practice using CHAMP character traits to be the best version of themselves on campus, at home, and in their community. They will learn the importance of making good choices and take responsibility for their words and actions. At our assembly we were all inspired by the book, “I Am Human…A Book of Empathy,” by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Being human means we are full of possibility.  We learn, dream big, and wonder. At times we make mistakes but learn from them. We mindfully strive to act with compassion and empathy to others and ourselves.

As a follow-up to the CHAMP assembly teachers led a community circle in the classroom to talk about being responsible. Students shared their thoughts and ideas to the following questions:

  • What does it mean to you to be responsible?
  • What have you done in the past week that shows responsibility?

Encourage your child to be responsible at home. Being responsible is an important quality for school success. You can help your child develop these qualities by establishing reasonable rules and procedures in your home and reinforcing them consistently. Expecting your child to complete simple tasks or chores is important to building responsibility. Break jobs down into smaller steps and praise your child’s efforts. Children feel good about being contributing members of the family.

Parent and School Partnership
Mark your calendar for parent/teacher conferences. Please see the dates below when conference times will be offered.

  • Thursday, September 30–3:30-7 PM
  • Thursday, October 7–3:30-8 PM
  • Friday, October 8–8 AM-4 PM (No Classes)

You will receive a communication soon from the Lower School Office with information on how to sign up for a conference. Please make attending conferences a priority. Conferences are extremely important and provide teachers the opportunity to team with parents to help students be successful.  Lower School homeroom conferences are scheduled for 25 minutes and specialists conferences are scheduled for 10 minutes.

After-school Pick-up Name Request
If you pick-up your child in the drive-up lane after school it would be helpful if you would place a sign with your last name on the dash, so it is visible in the window on the right side of your vehicle. This will help speed up pick-up procedures. Thank you in advance for your attention to this new procedure!

Dates to Remember 

  • Monday, September  13: Picture Day
  • September 27-October 2: Homecoming Week
  • October 20-22: No Classes/Fall Break

The Magic Of A Noisy Classroom

upper school students giving classroom presentationAfter several months of quiet and sometimes eerie peacefulness, the hallways and classrooms are abuzz with energy and joy this week. And so, it should be as the MPA family comes together again for a new school year. With 139 new students and an overall enrollment of 577, much of our time over the last week has been dedicated to building community and developing relationships with one another.

There are volumes of research demonstrating that when students feel like they belong, self-esteem, positive peer relationships, classroom engagement, academic achievement, positive attitudes toward school and learning, resilience, and many other positive attributes increase. One of those volumes collecting dust in the stacks of the University of St. Thomas Library is my own dissertation on the importance of creating a school culture that is grounded in relationships.

Late last week, I was drawn to a classroom by the laughter emanating from it. Rather than be concerned, I simply smiled, for I learned early in my career as a teacher and administrator that there is magic in a noisy classroom. What on the surface may seem a bit chaotic or messy can in reality be a very intentional experience with students engaged in their own education, building relationships, and learning collaboratively, in a robust and captivating place. Read More

Guidelines For Bus And Traffic Safety

bus pulling up to MPAIt is MPA’s number one priority to provide the safest campus environment possible for you and your children. Please share this information with all of the drivers in your home, in addition to others who may provide transportation for you. Thank you very much in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

COVID-19 Bus Precautions
We have implemented these strategies to prioritize health and safety on MPA buses:

  1. Masks worn by all on board.
  2. One student per seat whenever possible (siblings may sit together).
  3. A seating chart for any bus with more than 22 students (there are 22 seats on a bus.)
  4. Four windows open one inch: the two in the last row on each side of the aisle and two in the front row on each side of the aisle.

Distracted Driving
Parents and students are asked to refrain from using cell phones (hands free or otherwise) while driving on campus, especially when children are present. This helps us all to be aware of the children moving around us and keep the traffic flow steady and uncongested. Read More

Connect With The MPA Parents Association This School Year

Parents Connect: Wednesday Morning WalksPA Photo
The Parents Association invites parents and guardians to get together Wednesday mornings after drop off. Mark your calendars, it will be fun! Wednesday, September 1 we’ll have a 30 minute walk with Michelle Mick. We’ll meet at the flagpole near the Lower School entrance. Lower School, Middle School and Upper School families are welcome. This week’s walk will include strolling through some of the grounds on MPA, including the prairie area. Chat with new parents and connect with friends. Younger children are welcome to walk with us.
After that walk if parents are interested, we can head over to the Farmer’s Market at Aldrich Arena, a short walk from MPA. They have a large variety of great produce and you’ll be supporting local farmers.
Remember to bring a mask to all events! Hope to see you there!
Monday and Thursday Mornings in the Garden
Get your hands dirty Monday and Thursday mornings after drop off, helping in MPA’s gardens. No experience necessary. Come and help weed, plant, dig, or sow, all are welcome. How long you stay is up to you. If Michelle Mick is not at the flagpole, go around the corner, in the Library gardens, next to Door #2.
Remember to bring a mask! Hope to see you there!

Picture Day Information For Families

Hello, families!picture day

Picture day is approaching! Our vendor is Jostens and you will receive flyers soon with information on how to order your pictures online.

Picture day is on:

Monday September 13

Retake day is on:

Monday, October 11

 All students should be in school uniform or dress code. Jostens asks that your child avoids wearing the color green!

Jostens, knows customers care deeply about privacy and data security. Customer trust is their top priority and maintaining this trust is an ongoing commitment. They strive to protect the privacy of customer data by the security policies, practices and technologies put in place. Jostens does not sell or rent directory information to third parties for any reason. Jostens does not use email addresses to market any other products or services.

Providing parent email addresses for each student is the best form of security. Student photos are automatically linked to their parent’s email address, and parents with multiple students will be able to see all of their students. If a parent’s email address is not provided, they must enter the school name, event code, exact spelling of the student’s name and another unique identifier (Student ID/Lunch ID/etc).

Parents will receive the following communications from Jostens:

  • Picture Day Is Coming–This will be a reminder email that is sent a few days before the scheduled Picture Day
  • Pictures Are Ready–This will notify parents that the photos have been uploaded and can be viewed on the website
  • Reminder Emails–If an order is not placed, we do send out one email per month letting them know the pictures are available

Jostens Condensed Privacy Policy >

Jostens Full Privacy Policy >

From your yearbook advisors,

Lauren Drake (ldrake@moundsparkacademy.org) and Sara Mohn (smohn@moundsparkacademy.org)

Accessing MPA’s Family Directory

DirectoryAs you make new connections at MPA, we warmly encourage families to connect with one another outside of school (safely, of course!). Here are instructions about how to access MPA’s community directory in Schoology.

On Desktop

  1. Visit https://app.schoology.com/login.
  2. Login to Schoology using your parent login.
  3. In the upper right-hand corner, using the drop down button, navigate to your parent profile. You are now viewing Schoology as yourself, not as your child.
  4. Along the top navigation bar, click on Resources (top) > Apps (left).
  5. Click Approve then refresh the page. This is only needed the first time you open MPA Resources.
  6. The MPA community directory should fill the screen and be usable.

On Mobile

  1. Download the Schoology app (if you haven’t already) in the Apple or Android App Store.
  2. Login to the app using your parent login.
  3. In the upper left-hand corner menu, select Resources > Resource Apps > MPA Resources.
  4. Click Approve then use the back button to get back to Resources. Click MPA Resources again.
  5. This is only needed the first time you open the MPA Resources app.
  6. The MPA community directory should fill the screen and be usable.

If you have any questions, please email Jay Springer, MPA webmaster, at webmaster@moundsparkacademy.org. If you have any changes to your directory listing, contact your division assistant:

Lower School: Denise Johnson, djohnson@moundsparkacademy.org

Middle School: Jolynn Lassonde, jlassonde@moundsparkacademy.org

Upper School: Jolynn Lassonde, jlassonde@moundsparkacademy.org (temporary)