Curiosity Continued

upper school science labby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

I have often heard that people like to read my weekly messages. That is always welcome news as it can be time consuming and sometimes stressful in the midst of my other duties and demands on my time. However, I truly enjoy the opportunity to reflect on a particular topic relevant to education or taking place in the world and connect it with what is happening at MPA. At times, I am struck by something that happens in a classroom or event that gives rise to a deep appreciation for our exceptional teachers and the unique educational experience provided at MPA.

It is particularly rewarding when something I write resonates with the community. My message two weeks ago, “Cultivating A Curious Mindset,” did just that. Since then, I have had a number of conversations with parents who connected what I wrote with their experiences in the workplace. In a moment of serendipity, Dr. Mike Mercer, Lower School parent of Henry and Charlie, shared that on the day I wrote about curiosity, he covered the same topic with his medical students. He shared with me a very powerful article entitled “Curiosity” written a number of years ago by Faith T. Fitzgerald, M.D. from the UC Davis Medical Center. Read More

2019-20 Financial Assistance Application Open

middle school students in classThe financial assistance re-application for the 2019-20 school year is now open. If you are a current family who plans to request financial assistance for the 2019-20 school year, please submit your application, including supporting documents, by Friday, January 11.

You should have everything you need to complete the application today, given you will use your 2017 tax return to do so. The application can be accessed in your TADS account. Please be sure to select the 2019-20 application year. Click here to re-apply and select Minnesota > Saint Paul > Mounds Park Academy. Read More

Computer Science Education Week At MPA

computer science week at MPAby Ariel Kitch, PreK-12 Technology Integration Specialist

“I made a 12-sided shape!” one of the fourth graders screamed jubilantly while programming a tiny turtle to move in patterns across his screen. You would be surprised how motivating it can be to move the tiny turtle forward with a few lines of Python code, nonetheless create a dodecagon with a for-loop. Our study of Python Turtles in fourth grade is part of Computer Science Education Week here at MPA, a national event aimed at raising awareness of computer science in schools.

We have been celebrating the study of computer science in my technology classes by trying out coding in many different forms, but also through practicing the set of processes referred to as “computational thinking.” Computational thinking acknowledges that computer science is about more than just programming or studying computers themselves (although they are all around us these days)–but about our capability to harness the power of computers to solve problems. Some of the skills of computational thinking, such as persistence, critical thinking, and collaboration, could be simply referred to as “life skills.” Others, such as pattern recognition, debugging, algorithms, and abstraction, help us to structure our solutions to fit the unique strengths of computer processing power. Read More

Important Safety Reminders From MPA

lower school drop offIt is MPA’s responsibility to provide the safest campus environment possible for you and your children—this is our number one priority. We’d like to share some important traffic safety reminders.. 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

Drive-Thru Lanes
We realize it can be a frustrating time in the morning and afternoon as students unload/reload all of their things for the day and that many drivers are in a hurry to get to work or an evening commitment. We’d like to ask, in the interest of safety, courtesy, and efficiency, that parents refrain from pulling in front of another car or “leap-frogging” to the front. Please do not pull in front of another person who is paused to allow their child to exit (or enter) the car with their belongings. Read More

Lori Evert And Per Breiehagen Visit MPA

Lori and PerMPA was delighted to welcome Lori Evert and Per Breiehagen, author and artist of “The Wish Books,” to campus! The series has been featured on the New York Times Best Sellers List, and the students were so excited to meet the creators. There are six books, including “The Polar Bear Wish,” “The Reindeer Wish,” and “The Christmas Wish.” All are colorful Nordic tales inspired by courage, friendship, and the spirit of adventure, starring Lori and Per’s daughter, Anja.

The pair read stories to the Lower Schoolers, answered their wonderful questions, and signed their books. Per also visited with an Upper School digital media class to talk about his career as a photographer. His work has appeared in publications by National Geographic, Disney, Audubon, and Rolling Stone.

A warm thank you to Lori and Per for visiting MPA! See all of the photos at!

Cultivating A Curious Mindset

Lower school French class making maps of France for geography unitby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

I recently came across an article shared by Entrepreneur magazine entitled, “The Most Important Skill at the Office Isn’t Being Taught in School.” It caught my attention. What is that important skill? The article argues it is curiosity. Curiosity is named by many behavioral scientists to be among the most valuable attributes in the workplace and yet it is not fostered in many schools. In fact, the way in which schools are structured discourages it. It makes sense because so many schools are driven by standardized testing and measure performance solely on test-based standards. Rest assured that is not the case at MPA, and in fact, is quite the opposite.

At MPA, curiosity is not just encouraged–it is expected. Furthermore, curiosity is valued as a mindset to be cultivated in its own right, not just for the workplace, but for lifelong fulfillment. According to best-selling author Todd Kashdan, “Curiosity—a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something—creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, laying the groundwork for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy, and delight.” Whether in the classroom, the workplace, or in life, curiosity is essential. Read More

Thank You For Your Generosity

2018 lip sync assemblyThe generosity of the Mounds Park Academy community is truly amazing. During the five weeks of our annual Fall Campaign you showed why MPA matters to you by contributing nearly $300,000 to the MPA Fund, including over $130,000 on Give to the Max Day. The Give to the Max Day Lip Sync Battle, now an established tradition celebrating our fabulous community, was so much fun! Click here to revisit this year’s performance one more time.

The MPA Fund is the lifeblood of our fundraising, supporting the school’s mission and the educators who bring it to life. Through these efforts, our community came together to financially support the next generation of MPA students. So many gifts were given by alumni, current parents, faculty, and staff, in support of our school that is making such an incredible impact in the lives of our students.

And, congratulations to the kindergarten, first grade, second grade, seventh grade, and eighth grade classes for hitting the 70 percent participation mark and winning a party for your students! Lower School classes will receive a party with Mr. Sheehan and the Middle School classes will receive a pizza and games party. Details to follow!


Parents Association Opportunities & Events

pa gift wrappingJoin the Parents Association for these exciting upcoming volunteer opportunities and community events!

All School:

MPA Faculty and Staff Gift Wrapping

There are still a few slots open to help with Faculty and Staff Appreciation Gift Wrapping! As a continuation of Faculty and Staff Appreciation during the school year, the MPA Parents Association has a tradition of wrapping gifts for the MPA Faculty and Staff. This year, there will be two gift wrapping events. Come be a part of this joyful experience!

Sign up here to volunteer and wrap gifts for one hour, two hours, or as long as you like! The Parents Association will provide the gift wrapping and all the necessary equipment. We will also provide snacks and drinks–maybe a little holiday music, too! Please contact Tara Matthews-Lafferty at with any questions. Read More

Invite A Friend To Lunch!

lunch at mpaIf you have know a friend or family that would love to be part of our community, invite them to campus to join us for Lunch at MPA! Lunch at MPA is Tuesday, December 11, 2018 from 11:30 AM-1 PM. This admission event will help prospective families experience what a special school community Mounds Park Academy is!

Guests are invited to campus during a regular school day to meet school administrators over a casual meal, tour MPA, and see our community in action. Please extend our invitation and have your friends RSVP in advance for this engaging program at If you have any questions, contact the Office of Admission at 651-748-5577 or


Dr. Jenn Milam Named Permanent Middle School Director

Dr. Jenn MilamDr. Jenn Milam joined the MPA community in mid-August as our interim Middle School director. She has done an exceptional job leading the Middle School thus far and connected so well with students, parents, faculty, and staff.

Before I could consider the long-term leadership of the division, I wanted to better understand the strengths, challenges, hopes, and dreams of the Middle School so that I could ensure we hired the best possible leader for what the division needs today. I utilized the search firm of Carney, Sandoe & Associates to conduct an independent and comprehensive needs assessment that was inclusive and transparent. They led focus groups of current Middle School parents, students, and teachers and distributed an in-depth survey.

I received the cumulative report recently and it revealed a number of important things:

  • The MPA community believes the Middle School is very strong and, in particular, values its academic excellence, small class sizes and low student-teacher ratio, and close student-teacher relationships.
  • There are three priorities that emerged as focus areas for the next Middle School director. They are recruiting, retaining, and compensating high-quality faculty, continuing to create a safe and nurturing environment that promotes security and risk taking, and continually enhancing academic excellence.
  • Of all the characteristics and qualities listed, there was strong congruence on the three most important for the next Middle School director to possess. He or she needs to have a deep understanding of the developmental needs of middle school aged students, have strong leadership skills, and be an excellent communicator.

Read More