Welcome Back To MPA!

lower school student finds his locker at back to school nightWelcome home, Panthers! We are looking forward to seeing new families at New Family Orientation and returning families at Back To School Night to begin a fantastic school year! Grab your school supplies and head to campus on Monday, August 26, for an all-school assembly, time with your teachers, and a special ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new commons, cafeteria, and kitchen!

New Family Orientation: 3-6 PM

LOWER SCHOOL FAMILIES • GRADES PREK-4
3-3:30 PM – Students and parents stay together to meet homeroom teachers, put away school supplies, and locate and/or practice lockers.
3:30-4:45 PM – Students separate for an activity with Mr. Purdy, extended day coordinator, while parents meet with Ms. Wright, Lower School director, in the library.
4:45-5:30 PM – Enjoy dinner in the cafeteria.
5:30-5:45 PM – Meet Dr. Hudson, head of school, and the leadership team.
6:15-6:30 PM – All-School Welcome Back Assembly in the Lansing Center.
6:30-7:30 PM – Additional time to visit homeroom and specialist teachers and classrooms, organize school supplies, and practice student lockers.
7:15-7:30 PM – Ribbon cutting ceremony and refreshments in the cafeteria. Read More


Saying Farewell to Summer

Transitioning from summer activities to schoolMaking The Transition Back To School
The lazy hazy days of summer are suddenly coming to a close, with both students and parents beginning to contemplate a return to school. Starting a new academic year is more than fresh pencils and first day photos—it’s also an important time of building confidence and creating routines; of getting organized while capturing a few carefree moments; and of re-establishing connections while building new relationships.

Arne Duncan, former United States Secretary of Education, writes that one of the best ways to move from summer to school is to embark on a learning adventure. “Do something fun together that’s focused on learning, whether indoors or out: from a kitchen craft project or backyard science experiment, to a trip to the library or a museum,” he says. Scheduling an activity that incorporates both work and play is a great way to spend valuable time together while reactivating that school mindset. “Our minds are like muscles,” emphasizes Duncan, “help get them warmed up for academic success.”

A Back-To-School Transition Plan
While getting back into the school routine is important for all students, younger children especially benefit from a purposeful transition plan. Mounds Park Academy Lower School director Renee Wright recommends that students spend time reading and working on math facts to review and refresh skills before starting school. She also encourages parents to engage their children directly in making your home school-ready, so that students feel empowered in the process. “Build enthusiasm for school by shopping together to pick out their supplies,” she says. “Clean closets and organize spaces together, donating clothes that don’t fit or toys that are no longer age appropriate. Create a homework station with study essentials to get kids excited about school and help them be organized for homework tasks.” Read More


Big Points For School Athletics

MPA girls varsity volleyball team huddleBuilding Character and Academic Success
Back to school also means back to sports, with many students reuniting with their fall teams, moving up to the next level of play, or trying out a new activity. Mounds Park Academy has been at the forefront of cultivating student athletes, with an emphasis on good sportsmanship and leadership that extends from the classroom to the courts, tracks, fields and stadiums where our Panthers compete.

Healthy mind, healthy body
MPA offers one of the broadest prep school athletic programs in the Twin Cities, including more than 20 Upper School teams and a range of competitive Middle School sports that begin in fifth grade. Our student athletes transform their gifts and talents into accomplishments that bolster their educational experience, with research showing that sports help create better students, and better citizens. For example, the University of Missouri’s Adolescent Medicine program highlights that many athletes do better academically and encourages all children to participate in sports, reinforcing that “physical exercise is good for the mind, body, and spirit. Team sports help teach adolescents accountability, dedication, leadership and other skills … [and how] to effectively communicate to solve problems.” MPA’s athletics embraces this theme, welcoming students to take part in sports at all levels of experience—developing commitment, character, perseverance, initiative, and teamwork. Read More


Welcome To The Family, Ms. Longfellow!

kyra longfellowMeet Kyra Longfellow, who will be joining MPA as the Middle School assistant!

After college, Ms. Longfellow participated in the international youth organization Up With People. She was part of a cast of 150 students from 23 different countries. She performed community service, lived with 100 host families, and performed a variety show while visiting seven different countries during a tour called World in Motion. In the beginning of her professional career after that, she worked in the financial services industry as a service trainer, business analyst, privacy manager, and tester of advisor tools. We are thrilled that she is bringing her skills and passion for working among children to MPA!

What did you love about MPA right away?
Everyone from MPA who interviewed me seemed excited to be here and jazzed about their daily contributions to the school. Being the parent of a middle schooler myself, I appreciated how MPA recognizes that academics, fine arts, and sports all contribute to building a strong educational foundation. Read More


Choosing Change: It’s Not Too Late To Join MPA

Two upper school boys in the upper school commons working togetherAugust is bittersweet. It serves as a pause between a memorable summer and the excitement of a new academic year. For many families it’s also a time to reconsider the best fit for their child’s education, and to consider a change.

“During the summer, there are two main reasons why families may be looking to consider a different school,” says Craig Dodson, director of admission at Mounds Park Academy. “Some are families who are experiencing an unexpected life change, such as relocation from another city. Others are those who, now that they’ve had some time to reflect on the previous school year, are not sure they want to return to where they were and are looking for potential options.”

The good news, reassures Dodson, is that for both types of families it’s not too late to choose MPA. “Even though the standard admission schedule occurs in the spring, we definitely have an open door policy and continue to work with families during the summer and even into the new school year,” he explains. “No matter when a student joins us, our admissions staff, faculty, and ambassadors do an amazing job of helping students and their families transition to MPA.” Read More


Welcome To The Family, Ms. Honan!

Cherie HonanMeet Cherie Honan, who will be our executive assistant to the head of school. Ms. Honan comes to MPA with more than 20 years of high level executive administrative experience in the legal and banking fields. She has excellent skills in project management, is organized and detailed, and communicates warmly and articulately. In her role at MPA, she will help best serve MPA families, faculty, and staff in a way that is responsive and helpful. She also has an extremely caring and joyful disposition.

What did you love about MPA right away?
After many years of working in a corporate setting, I loved the close-knit, welcoming atmosphere at MPA. I am honored to be part of the community.

What’s your big dream?
My big dream is to spend a month in Hawaii and visit every island.

What are you (and your family, if you so choose) passionate about?
My husband and I are passionate about our grandchildren, Mallard and Janelle. We are also expecting grandchild number three who is due any day.

What’s your secret talent?
My secret talent started out as a secret to me. I love event planning. The event I am most proud of is my niece Olivia’s wedding.

We can’t wait for our entire community to meet you, Ms. Honan! Stay tuned for more extended Q&A profiles of the amazing faculty and staff joining our community in the 2019-20 school year!


MPA Student Makes Local Impact With “Max’s Muffins”

Max's annual muffin saleIt’s time for the third annual Max’s Muffins fundraiser! Every summer, MPA fourth grader Max sells muffins to raise and deliver funds to a local food pantry. Max was first inspired to host these summer muffin sales by Ms. P’s Kowalski’s food shelf project in kindergarten. When he learned that families struggle more in the summer when children aren’t in school with lunch provided to them, he decided he had to do something to help.

After first grade, Max created and led his first muffin sale. He donated more than $200 to the Hugo Good Neighbor Food Shelf, where he took a tour of the organization and fell in love. Max’s family continuous to volunteer throughout the year to support the cause, and for the third year in a row, Max keeps up his summertime muffin sale to contribute and give back to his community. Way to dream big and do right, Max! We are so proud of you!

 


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, Mr. Milam!

John MilamMeet John Milam, who is joining MPA as the Middle School science and design teacher. Mr. Milam has been a teacher and leader in STEM education for more than 20 years, spanning public and private school teaching, university administration, and program development. Most recently, he served as the Middle School STEM teacher at Hmong College Prep Academy. Mr. Milam is excited to challenge MPA students to bring their science knowledge to real-world problems through design thinking in order to make a difference in our community, both locally and globally.

What did you love about MPA right away?
The open and affirming atmosphere by all—students, teachers, staff and administration. The desire to collaborate and build incredible thematic units that will impact the community—both locally and globally. Incredible students—I had a blast teaching and learning from them! Read More


Welcome To The Family, Ms. McCall!

summer mccallMeet Summer McCall, who is joining MPA as a social studies teacher. Ms. McCall has a Bachelor of Arts in history and Master of Arts from the University of Minnesota, and has been teaching high school for the past fifteen years across the country and internationally in Louisiana, Arizona, and Korea. After moving back to Minnesota, she worked at Bloomington Kennedy High School until joining the faculty at MPA!

What did you love about MPA right away?
My favorite part was my interaction with the students! I loved the student interview and the sense of community at MPA.

What’s your big dream?
My big dream is to live in a world that thrives on open discussion of the world’s issues. We need more conversation and less division! Read More