The Strength Of MPA Is In Our People

Mr. Peterson Teaching Middle School mathby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

“Welcome back to campus!” I said this morning as I greeted a Middle School student on their way into school. “What are you more excited about, being back together with your friends or seeing your teachers in person?” I asked. He paused for quite a while, pondering the rather unfair choice I was asking him to make. However, his response was emphatic, “Both!” Asking such a question of a Middle School student can be rather risky, but I wasn’t surprised with his response. The strong, personal relationships students have with their teachers is a hallmark of MPA.

MPA is incredibly fortunate to have an exceptional faculty who are genuinely dedicated to their students and truly committed to the school. Most teachers remain at MPA for their entire career and we all benefit from their experience and wisdom. At the same time, we’ve had teachers who experienced life transitions that took them in different directions, whether a move to a new city or sometimes experiencing a change in career. Enrollment, program changes, and external factors may also impact our faculty workforce. For instance, our COVID-19 health and safety plan led us to hire several additional teachers and teaching assistants to reduce classroom density. Read More


MPA Speech Hosts “Figure It Out Bout”

MPA Speech teamMPA Speech had a fantastic tournament, called the “Figure It Out Bout,” that was designed to be an educational experience for competing in a virtual world! Teams from all over the state, from Austin to Dassel-Cokato, to our neighbor Stillwater, competed.

As customary, MPA was exempt from placing as a team since we hosted. Technically, MPA placed third, with half the entry of Stillwater and Shakopee, who were first and second respectively. Senior Ryan Ghose won two categories, Humorous and Prose, and was the Tournament Individual Sweepstakes champion–an award that signifies an extraordinary individual effort determined by who earned the most points on the day. Ryan swept both categories on 1’s, meaning he never lost a round. Junior Charlotte Bergh was also a tournament champion in Ex Reading. Seniors Sana Punjani, Salmah Elmasry, Anna Gaudio, and Emma Cohen also placed top three. Sophomore Cynthia Ghannoum, seniors Isak Dai and Livia Wooldridge, and the duo of seventh graders Evie B. and Teagan O. all made the final round as well.

This was the first tournament in which the MPA Middle School Speech Team competed, and we’re so excited to say all seventh and eighth graders who competed either placed or were in a tiebreaker to get into a final round. Congratulations to Teagan and Evie, Annika B., and Yusuf A.!


Save The Date For Virtual Maker Fest

a student painting at maker fest 2020Save the date for MPA’s Virtual Maker Fest! On Saturday, February 20 from 11 AM-1 PM, MPA will host a variety of community makers to showcase their projects, passions, and hands on how-to demonstrations through Zoom. Participants will be able to the presentations by visiting different breakout rooms. More event details for Virtual Maker Fest 2021 will be coming soon! Please click here to sign up as a presenter!

If you have any questions, please email Nicole Koen at nkoen@moundsparkacademy.org.


“Some Good News” Premieres Tomorrow, January 22!

the middle school play cast and crewThe upcoming webisode series “Some Good News,” created by the cast and crew of this year’s Middle School play, premieres tomorrow, January 22 at 7 PM on YouTube! Inspired by John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” series, the Middle School students (with Upper School students mentoring) were responsible for pitching ideas, collaborating, and writing stories, interviews, jokes, and sketches to produce four webisodes in the series. This approach allows the cast to go beyond acting, but to be involved in writing, filming, and directing.

The Middle School Theatre Department is proud to offer students and community members meaningful theater experiences year after year. Given the unique challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Middle School production is fully virtual so all community members far and wide can experience the joy of the students involved in this special project.

If you love and support the Middle School Theatre offerings every year, please consider making a gift that is right for you to help offset lost revenue from ticket and concessions proceeds this year. Every dollar you give will directly support the students and staff making these experiences a reality. Click here to make your gift and help us reach our goal in support of the Middle School Theatre Department. Simply add Middle School Play in your gift designation on the easy giving form. If you have questions or want to learn more about giving opportunities at MPA, please contact Jennifer Rogers director of development and community engagement at jrogers@moundsparkacademy.org.


Net Promoter Score At An All-Time High

middle school student in math classby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

We begin a new year with new hopes and resolutions and with optimism that the end of the pandemic is in sight. We begin a new year complete with new understandings of ourselves, our family, our society, and our values after an extremely challenging year. Our task will be to take what we have learned, put it to good use, and work for lasting change.

You may remember that in December, parents were invited to participate in our annual Net Promoter Survey. I was more than pleased with the incredibly high level of participation—a whopping 78% of our parent community completed the survey. If you are familiar with the Net Promoter Survey, you know that is commonly used in business to measure customer service. Similarly, MPA uses the Net Promoter Survey to measure parent satisfaction and solicit feedback for use in continuous improvement in order to make data-driven decisions. The survey and score is also important because word of mouth referrals are the greatest source of admission inquiries and the best predictor of new enrollment. Read More


Stay Tuned For The Middle School Play!

the middle school play cast and crewStay tuned for more information about the upcoming webisode series, created by the cast and crew of this year’s Middle School play! Inspired by John Krasinski’s “Some Good News” series, the ensemble came together to produce four webisodes, which will begin airing next Friday, January 22. The Middle School students (with Upper School students mentoring) were responsible for pitching ideas, collaborating, and writing stories, interviews, jokes, and sketches. This approach allows the cast to go beyond acting, but to be involved in writing, filming, and directing.

The Middle School Theatre Department is proud to offer students and community members meaningful theater experiences year after year. Given the unique challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Middle School production is fully virtual so all community members far and wide can experience the joy of the students involved in this special project.

If you love and support the Middle School Theatre offerings every year, please consider making a gift that is right for you to help offset lost revenue from ticket and concessions proceeds this year. Every dollar you give will directly support the students and staff making these experiences a reality. Click here to make your gift and help us reach our goal in support of the Middle School Theatre Department. Simply add Middle School Play in your gift designation on the easy giving form. If you have questions or want to learn more about giving opportunities at MPA, please contact Jennifer Rogers director of development and community engagement at jrogers@moundsparkacademy.org.


Peacefully Working Through Our Differences

Katie Murr's US History Classby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

As I was putting the final touches on my original Panther Post message yesterday afternoon, news broke of the violent protest in Washington DC and the storming of the United States Capitol. The peaceful transfer of power is a cornerstone of our democracy. In the days, months and even years ahead, our nation must engage in serious reflection of who we are as a democratic society. How long can we say, with any sense of integrity, that this is “not who we are” before we must admit that this is who we are.

However, I am an eternal optimist and believe that American democracy is resilient. To me, it makes the case that education is important more than ever. Critical thinking, nurturing student voice and agency, character development, and civic engagement and responsibility are all antidotes to discord, division, and violence. These are important attributes of an MPA education. For instance, quite organically, 40 Upper School students joined a Zoom call last night under the guidance of several Upper School teachers who provided a context for students to think critically about the unfolding events in the context of civic responsibility. Read More


Finding Light, Warmth, Joy, And Growth

Fourth grader sewing annual mitten projectby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

In a few short days, the winter solstice will be upon us. Literally and figuratively—a few short days. Monday will be the shortest day of the year, the longest night, and the first official day of winter. The increasing darkness over the last several months has resulted in six additional hours of nighttime. Darkness seems to have also crept into our psyche as we experience the impact and uncertainty of the pandemic, the economy, and the social and political discord. A long winter break is needed now more than ever.

The heaviness of the dark is coupled with what seems to be more anxiety, more stress, more work, and less time to unwind. It has been proven that we have more time for leisure than we did 50 years ago, and it doesn’t seem to be any more relaxing, in part because of the pandemic, the fuzzy line between home and work, and the disintermediating effects of our screens. According to behavioral scientist Ashley Whillans, emails, texts, and social media aren’t just eating 10% of our free time—they’re fragmenting it into tiny pieces of “confetti” that we can’t enjoy. Whillans recommends blocking out uninterrupted time for leisure, just as we do for deep work. (You might enjoy Whillans’ article “Time Confetti and the Broken Promise of Leisure.”) Read More


MPA Board Of Trustees Seeking Nominations

Middle school students doing work together in classroomMPA’s Board of Trustees collaborates with the Head of School to guide the school’s strategic direction, to protect its mission, to support the school’s development efforts and to safeguard the school’s financial stability.

Nominations for Trustees
We are pleased to share that the Governance Committee of the Board is launching its annual process to identify potential trustees.

If you, or someone you know, could be a strong contributor to the MPA Board of Trustees, please provide the name of your nominee and a short description of their experience and background, directly to Wendy Marko Odeen, Trustee and Governance Chair, MPA Board of Trustees at wendy.odeen@ellester.com by January 16, 2021.

In addition to strong leadership skills, nominees will bring a broad diversity of experience and backgrounds, and a passion to advance the mission of MPA. Areas of desired professional experience include: finance, accounting, investment, banking, business, communications, construction, education, law, governance, scientific training, the arts, IT, human resources, strategic planning, development, marketing, and community service, among others. Read More


Invite A Friend To Discover Something Remarkable

middle school students doing a lab in the hallwayInvite a friend, neighbor, colleague, or family member to join us for MPA’s final PreK-12 preview event of the year. Held virtually on Sunday, January 31 starting at 2 PM, this event will be a structured program that allows prospective students and parents to get a sense of what makes MPA an exceptional place to learn and grow.  From participating in hands on classes offered by our expert educators, to seeing 17 campus spaces via a virtual tour, prospective families will get a detailed overview of Mounds Park Academy.

Kindly invite your friends and neighbors to RSVP in advance for this engaging program at moundsparkacademy.org/RSVP. If you have any questions, contact the Office of Admission at 651-748-5577 or admission@moundsparkacademy.org. We can’t wait to meet them!