Become A Parents Association Grade Rep!

middle school students smiling togetherThe Parents Association is looking forward to the incoming school year and the Grade Rep program, which is integral in building our school community. If you’re interested in becoming a grade rep for the 2021-2022 school year, please email Julie Bixby at juliebixby1@gmail.com. If you’re currently a grade rep, thank you for all your work in keeping us together over this challenging year. The Parents Association will assume you want to continue as a grade rep unless you choose to opt out by contacting Julie Bixby.


Why MPA Parent Susan Knapp Volunteers

Parker and friends at recessby Susan Knapp (parent of Parker in ninth grade)

For the kids. There is something magical in seeing the joy on the kids’ faces, knowing you had a part in generating that. It’s a great way to get a glimpse into your child’s life at school—at least until they’re teens and don’t want you around at school. See what they’re like with their friends, get to know their class a little better, experience their camaraderie, their joy, and gratitude for the extras volunteers provide.

For the sheer joy of being a part of something bigger. One of the best experiences I’ve had volunteering was being involved in the MS Café. Using my talents and time in ways that I don’t normally has been very rewarding. I loved the teamwork, meeting the challenges, the creativity, and the gratitude and wonder on the kids’ faces as they walked into all of our hard work for the very first time. It was a labor of love and totally worth it. Another great experience was manning the snack room in pre-COVID teacher appreciation week. It’s a very fun way of meeting teachers and staff members, surrounded by sugar and snacks and gratitude. What can be better than that?! Read More


Thank You, Why I Volunteer, And More From The Parents Association

PreK on the story walk with Ms. LageThank You!
The Virtual Book Festival was a great success this year. Thanks to everyone who participated. Thanks to our volunteers, Book Festival Chairs Michelle Mick and Deedee Clendenning, the faculty and staff that helped make it happen, and to all the families who love to read and supported MPA. A big thank you to Valley Bookseller for donating 20 percent of sales and to Usborne books for their contributions.

Approximately 190 books were sold by Valley Bookseller, and Valley’s contribution to MPA is $678.06. Usborne Books sold 208 books and contributed $1,263.52. That makes the Book Festival’s total contribution to MPA’s library $1,941.58!

Join The PA Board
The Parents Association board is looking for volunteers to fill several positions next year. There are varying time commitments, but the experience is consistently rewarding. Over the next few weeks the current PA Board would like to share our reasons for volunteering. Read More


MPA Book Festival Ends May 3!

perk students on story walkThe book festival has started and runs through Monday, May 3. Its goal is to encourage the love of reading and to contribute to the MPA Library. Books are available for purchase from two local booksellers, Usborne Books and Valley Bookseller in Stillwater. Our theme this year is Earth Day, which was April 22. We have opportunities to participate in book and Earth-related fun activities, including story times and prize giveaways!

Below are helpful links with book recommendations and direct links to our book vendors to place your orders.

If you have any questions about this year’s Virtual Book Festival, please contact DeeDee at deedeeclendenning@gmail.com or Michelle Mick at michelle_wessely@yahoo.com.


Planting Seeds

perk students doing the story walkby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

Outside my office is a skinny rubber tree with branches extending in all directions. A scarcity of leaves is clustered on the end of each branch, like hands and fingers on outstretched arms waving at passersby. I have to admit that it looks quite peculiar and often is subject to ridicule, like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. But it means a great deal to me and I love to share its story.

The tree was a gift from long-serving Upper School Math teacher Theresa Reardon Offerman upon her retirement. Theresa told me she bought the tree during her first year of teaching. It was the winter of 1977-78 and she happened upon it at the old Sears on Lake Street in Minneapolis. “It looked lonely sitting all by itself in the aisle,” she said. “It was sickly, partially frozen from sitting outside too long, and on sale. I bought it and nursed it back to life.” Every time I walk by the tree I think of Theresa, her dedication to MPA, her love of math, and the many seeds she planted over her teaching career, touching the hearts and minds of so many.

This week and last, MPA has been observing our annual celebration of reading, the MPA Book Festival. This year’s theme is centered on and coincides with Earth Day, which was celebrated on April 22. Students in all divisions were each given a beautiful bookmark and a packet of seeds with the quote, “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” A hallmark MPA tradition, the Book Festival began 21 years ago, in 2000 by the Parents Association under the leadership of Elaine Johnson and Karla Myers. Like the library at the center of our school, reading is at the heart of a MPA education.

There are many special activities occurring this week. For instance, in Lower School, our librarians read the book, “We are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom and the students all took the Water Protectors Pledge. This pledge went home with students so families could work together to be stewards of the Earth. Students are currently working on an illustration which will be hung up in Lower School promoting taking care of our Earth. Upper School Student Council organized a casual Earth Day activity in the Benz Courtyard for their peers. It involved painting plant pots filled with succulent plants, and also painting rocks with messages of peace and love for our planet. Council members set up tables in the courtyard and played music.

The annual Book Festival provides our MPA community with opportunities to participate in reading activities, purchase great books, and support our local booksellers. The MPA Library will use the donations from the booksellers to purchase books for teachers, for the classrooms, and the Library. Books are available for purchase from two local independent booksellers, Usborne Books and Valley Bookseller. Since our event is virtual, you have the ability to purchase any books available through their distributors.

I give credit to co-chairs and Lower School Parents, Michelle Mick and DeeDee Clendenning, for choosing such a brilliant theme—reading and gardening have much in common. For me, libraries are like wonderous gardens, filled with countless varieties of flowers. In this garden, books are the flowers and seeds are the ideas that over time, grow and give life. From childhood, books have fed my mind, sparked my curiosity, and nourished my soul. Reading has planted seeds that have taken root and grown, forming me into the person I am.

In an age of instant gratification, live streaming entertainment, and overnight delivery, gardening, like reading, takes time and patience, and teaches us to slow down. Seeds need to be cared for and nurtured, like the experiences, perspectives, ideas, and knowledge that stem from reading. If properly cultivated, its blooms are transformational.

Please join me in celebrating Book Festival 2021. May the seeds of knowledge we plant today bloom innovators, scientists, doctors, artists, peacemakers, and leaders we desperately need.


Parents Association Members Share Why They Volunteer

MPA parents having coffee outsideWe invite you to join the MPA Parents Association Board! The Parents Association board is looking for volunteers to fill several positions next year. There are varying time commitments, but the experience is consistently rewarding. Over the next few weeks the current PA Board would like to share our reasons for volunteering.

Please reach out to Kim Jakway, Susan Knapp, or any of the current board members with questions or to express interest.

Why I Volunteer
by Yukiko Miyokawa (parent of Eilam, 9th Grade)
I have been volunteering my time as a Treasurer for the Parent Association for the past one and a half years and it has been a very rewarding experience.

Initially, I was nervous to volunteer at MPA since English was not my first language and I came from a different culture.  Moreover, since I was born and raised in Japan, I had no idea what student life was like and how teachers interacted with students and their parents in the U.S. I wondered what I could do as a parent to be involved and help. Read More


MPA Book Festival Has Begun!

MPA librariansThe book festival has started and runs through Monday, May 3. Its goal is to encourage the love of reading and to contribute to the MPA Library fund. Books are available for purchase from two local booksellers, Usborne Books, and Valley Bookseller in Stillwater. Our theme this year is Earth Day, which is today, April 22! We have opportunities to participate in book and Earth-related fun activities, including story times and prize giveaways!

If you have any questions about this year’s Virtual Book Festival, please contact Michelle Mick at michelle_wessely@yahoo.com.


MPA Book Festival Agenda & Activities

two students reading in the library in 2019The MPA Book Festival is a beloved tradition and the Parents Association is looking forward to making it possible virtually! The annual Book Festival provides our MPA community with opportunities to participate in reading activities, purchase great books, and support our local booksellers. The MPA Library will use the donations from the booksellers to purchase books for teachers, classrooms, and the library. Books will be available for purchase from two local booksellers, Usborne Books and Valley Bookseller. Since our event is virtual, you have the ability to purchase any books available through their distributors. You can even purchase a gift certificate for a teacher! Our theme this year is Earth Day, which occurs on April 22. There will also be opportunities to participate in book and Earth-related fun activities, including prize giveaways! If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Mick at michelle_wessely@yahoo.com. Read More


Join In For The Virtual MPA Book Festival!

The MPA Book Festival will again be a virtual event this year! Save the date to join us for the annual treasured MPA Book Festival! Mark your calendar for Monday, April 19 through Saturday, May 1.

The annual Book Festival provides our MPA community with opportunities to participate in reading activities, purchase great books, and support our local booksellers. The MPA Library will use the donations from the booksellers to purchase books for teachers, for the classrooms, and the Library. Books will be available for purchase from two local booksellers, Usborne Books and Valley Bookseller. Since our event is virtual, you have the ability to purchase any books available through their distributors. You can even purchase a gift certificate for a teacher!

Our theme this year is Earth Day, which occurs during the Book Festival on April 22. There will also be opportunities to participate in book and Earth-related fun activities, including prize giveaways!

If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Mick at michelle_wessely@yahoo.com.


Save The Date For Book Festival!

students looking at books in the librarySave the date to join us for the annual treasured Virtual Book Festival!

Mark your calendar for Monday, April 19 through Saturday, May 1 to encourage the love of reading and to support local bookstores, MPA teachers, classrooms, and the library. Books will be available for purchase from two local booksellers, Usborne Books and Valley Bookseller. Our theme this year is Earth Day, which occurs during Book Festival on April 22. There will also be opportunities to participate in book and Earth-related fun activities, including story times and prize giveaways!

If you have any questions about this year’s Virtual Book Festival, please contact Michelle Mick at michelle_wessely@yahoo.com.