The Impact Of Singapore Math In The Lower School

Lower School Director Renee Wright reflects on Singapore Math in the Lower School at MPA.

Looking back over the past 30 years as a Lower School teacher, one of my most challenging subjects to teach was math. Some students were successful, and some were not. Some students loved math, while others didn’t care for it at all. How would I address these challenges? I knew it was my job to teach math concepts and make sure these skills could be applied. At the same time, I wanted students to love math and feel confident. I was not alone with these concerns.

Teachers often report that problem solving is one area that presents the largest challenge for students. It is not uncommon for students to feel anxious or frustrated when asked to solve challenging mathematical word problems. In fact, students often give up before even trying. Problem solving in math often causes students to feel incompetent and believe they aren’t good at math. This can lead to a negative mindset about math and becomes a huge barrier to future success in the subject. Eight years ago, teachers and administrators at MPA started looking for a math program to address these challenges. After much research, the Singapore Math curriculum was selected and adopted in grades kindergarten through fifth. Read More


Celebrating The Holidays Safety

Be Safe Be Smart Be KindAs we’re sure you saw, Governor Walz announced yesterday a month-long pause to help curb the spike in COVID-19 cases that Minnesota is currently experiencing. In addition to suspending organized sports, the order bans indoor and outdoor social gatherings, discourages travel, closes bars and restaurants (except for takeout, delivery, or walk-up service), and closes fitness centers and entertainment venues. Click here for the full order.

In order to do our part, help slow the spread, and ultimately return to dial stop two on January 20, we urge all MPA families to follow this order diligently. Gathering with family members outside your household is a very high risk activity. Travel is discouraged as well. If you do plan to travel, please report it to covid@moundsparkacademy.org.

Thank you for joining us in helping slow the spread. We hope you enjoy the holidays while being safe, smart, and kind. And, as always, report any COVID-19 symptoms, exposures, or cases to covid@moundsparkacademy.org.


MPA Fall And Winter Athletics Update

Panther volleyball players on the courtYesterday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz released Emergency Executive Order which initiates restrictions/a pause on all organized youth and high school sports beginning Friday, November 20. These restrictions directly impact all Minnesota State High School League fine arts and athletic programs that are in-season (volleyball) or projected to start (alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, basketball, and hockey). The restriction remains in effect through Friday, December 18. More specific MPA athletic program information will be forthcoming as we learn more from the Minnesota State High School League.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Dan Haase, athletic director, via email.


A Sense Of Urgency On Give To The Max Day

lower school student building in the makerspaceby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

I am a procrastinator. A proud procrastinator, no less. It’s not that I am not productive or do not fulfill my responsibilities. I’m not lazy, but I do get distracted. There always seems to be a good article to read that pops up on my newsfeed, a post on Facebook I find intriguing, a conversation to be had with a friend or colleague, or a good book to read. Oftentimes, what helps me most is a firm deadline or knowing that people are depending on me to act.

Today is a deadline of sorts as our Fall Campaign winds down and we celebrate Give To The Max Day, both in support of the MPA Fund. If you haven’t yet made a gift, I strongly encourage you to do so. I feel a particular sense of urgency this year as we together navigate the uncharted waters of the pandemic. The urgency comes as we, the school and parents, join together to ensure our children have what they need to be safe, healthy, and continue to learn and thrive. What I know is that this endeavor costs more—more people, more technology, more infrastructure. Read More


Shift To Dial Stop Three

lower school student playing at recessa message from Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School
November 13, 2020

Last spring, when learning shifted to virtual, I made a promise to this community: 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, all the while prioritizing the community’s health and safety.

That’s exactly what we’ve done. And we’ve seen great success because of it. We have had no on-campus transmission. Our health and safety protocols are working. Internally, things are strong and stable, in large part because we have come together, as Panthers. Unfortunately, the external COVID-19 metrics that we monitor closely have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Projections indicate that there is no relief in sight.

In partnership with the administrative team and members of the Community Advisory Group, I have made the difficult decision to proactively transition our community to dial stop three: PreK on campus, K-4 on campus in cohorts, 5-12 in virtual school. Read More


Ms. Dale Gives Belonging

ms. dale helping one of her studentsDuring the Fall Campaign, we are excited to share stories from our community about the impact the school has made on their children and their family. Middle School social studies teacher Marina Dale shares the joys and sense of home that MPA gives her and her family on a daily basis.

How did your family come to MPA?
I came to MPA when Hannah was a year old and I needed a change in my teaching career. Over my 20 years at MPA, I have seen the joys of all three divisions, and the sense of home that the faculty and community has created for my children. As a teacher and a parent, I can’t imagine our family being a part of any other community.

Hannah, my oldest, came to MPA in Kindergarten and she graduated as a “lifer.” Through those experiences, she had the freedom to be creative, be herself, ask questions, and fill her insatiable desire to have knowledge and know why. Because we had such a great experience with Hannah, Simon followed soon after in Kindergarten. Simon loved that he could do drama, plays, art, and read whatever he could get his hands on. My youngest, Aiden, followed suit, started at MPA in PreK. I knew we had found the right place for him when I walked into the PreK room one day and the teacher was rocking my three-year-old to sleep when he was having a difficult day. It reinforced once again that this was home for all of us.

This year has been a year unlike any other. Can you share what it has been like being back on campus this school year?
COVID has really put into sharp focus what is important. My relationships with my students, that they feel valued and heard remains my primary focus. We are thriving and delivering on the MPA promise thanks to being back in every capacity. Even for those who are virtual this year that I haven’t even met, I have made a connection with them and they do feel MPA is their home.

What does MPA give to your children and your family?
MPA has given my kids: critical thinking skills, compassion, and curiosity. All three of my kids will leave MPA curious about the world and wanting to learn more.

MPA has not only enriched my family, it has also honored me with the ability to connect with a family’s student during the turbulent adolescent years, encouraging, and validating them. I feel very honored I am entrusted to play a role in helping other children weather this storm. I hope my students emerge on the other side with the skills necessary to find success in Upper School and beyond. I have loved being everyone’s second mom at school. I go home at night knowing I have made a difference.

Why do you give?
MPA embodies what I believe is important in nurturing and helping students achieve and I give to MPA to make sure that vision and mission continues beyond the years I will be here.

Make A Gift


Plan The Work, Work The Plan

ninth grader racing their mousetrap carby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

I benefitted from the guidance of a mentor whose mantra was, “plan the work, work the plan”. The constant drumbeat under his leadership helped me develop an appreciation for strategic thinking and long-range planning. Along the way I learned the necessity of looking ahead and the discipline required to achieve progress. Without an end in mind, as Alice learned from the Cheshire Cat, any road will suffice.

Mounds Park Academy has a long history of strategic planning designed to advance the mission of the school and to meet the emerging needs of students in an evolving and increasingly globalized society. Setting the vision of the school and establishing strategic direction are among the most important responsibilities of the MPA Board of Trustees. Our most recent plan, Momentum 2020, guided the MPA community through the last five years and came to an end last May. Momentum 2020 has been instrumental in setting forth a direction and providing strategic priorities that led to the incredible success and growth we’ve enjoyed over the last five years. Read More


Thanks For Kicking Off The Fall Campaign With Us!

middle school student painting in the makerspaceThank you to our generous community for joining us on Monday for our virtual 2020 You Give Fall Campaign Kick-Off. Thanks to our community’s participation and giving, we were successful in reaching our goals to receive a $10,000 challenge gift in support of the school! The Fall Campaign will culminate in next week’s Give to the Max Day, so be on the look-out for ways to give, participate, and help us during this important time.

When you make a gift, you ensure our students, faculty, and staff have the tools, resources, and support they need for today and tomorrow, especially during these challenging times. Tuition only covers 82% of the cost of an MPA education. Your gift will bridge this gap and help us to maintain our unique learning environment, top-notch facilities and resources, and small class sizes. Every gift of every size makes an impact. Your participation is what counts. By everyone doing what they can, we all can benefit and thrive.

Make A Gift


Back to Basics: A Health & Safety Pep Talk

perk student coloring with his mask onJust like you, MPA is watching all of the COVID-19 metrics very closely. We continue to be incredibly successful with zero on-campus transmission and effective tracing. Because we are relying on both internal and external metrics to guide our decision making, we do not intend to make any changes to our dial position in the near future.

As cases continue to rise outside of MPA, however, now is a good time to get back to basics and refresh everyone’s memory about three of the most important health and safety layers that we have in place. It is our collective responsibility be safe, be smart, and be kind every single day.

  1. AUX SAFETY APP: This needs to be completed twice per day, every single day. This includes weekends and days your student is not on campus. If the app indicates that you need to stay home, it activates our response protocols internally and you must stay home.
  2. REPORTING: Any symptoms, close contacts, travel, or other vital information must be reported to covid@moundsparkacademy.org. And please follow the recommendations of the contact tracing team diligently. If your child is determined to be a close contact, you will hear from us immediately with information and instructions.
  3. GATHERINGS: We strongly advise against in-person gatherings with extended families or friends. As Governor Walz announced yesterday, this is a primary source of the spread in Minnesota. It can be very challenging to say no to our children, but the more diligent we all are, the more access to campus our students will have.

Read More


Parents Connect With Recipe Sharing

MPA Diwali celebrationIn the spirit of sharing, the Parents Association is starting a recipe exchange. We’re all cooking a lot more and are sharing some of our favorite recipes to try and enjoy throughout winter! This first week we’re focusing on Diwali. More details will be provided in next week’s Panther Post.

A Recipe for Diwali
This weekend, many of our Indian friends will be celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Celebrations include decorating the house with lights, lighting firecrackers in the evening, exchanging gifts and eating delicious food and desserts. One sweet delicacy that is synonymous with Diwali is Kaju Katli. MPA parent Seema Anwar has graciously provided an old family recipe from her mother-in-law for this delightful dessert.

Kaju Katli

Ingredients: cashews, sugar, water, and butter, ghee, or coconut oil. (Optional: rose water or saffron strands) Read More