Now, Next, And Beyond At MPA

first grade class science projectby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

My thinking these days on navigating this crisis has been informed by one of my favorite bloggers, Pascal Finette. In his recent post, he wrote about a global consulting firm that looks at the world in three time dimensions: Now, Next and Beyond. The world, observes Finette, has changed dramatically. “In the world BC (Before COVID-19) Next was one to two years out, and the Beyond was somewhere past the five-year mark. Today, Now and Next are happening in parallel and at the same time, while Beyond is AC (After COVID-19).” AC, wrote Pascal, “requires a very different view of the world and leaders to show up in very different ways.” I would like to use this framework to share with you how MPA is successfully navigating this crisis and planning for the future.

Now
During the last six weeks, we’ve made an incredible shift to online learning, ensuring the continuity of learning for our children. We have done so while holding fast to our whole child philosophy and our commitment to rigor with purpose. As I said in the beginning, “first different, then better.” Modeling the resiliency we inspire in our students, we have been engaged in an ongoing process of designing, implementing, assessing, and adapting teaching and learning to meet the needs of our students in our new reality, even as the crisis itself evolves.

Plans are in place and unfolding to ensure success in the continuity of operations, admission and enrollment, and the fiscal health of the school. I am confident that we will weather the storm.

  • Continuity of Operations: In order to sustain the quality of the education you’ve come to expect, we must continue to support our teachers, cover all of our non-teaching expenses, and invest in innovative ways to deliver our curriculum for our students. In fact, the school has invested in additional operating expenses associated with adopting and implementing online learning tools. In addition, we have a number fixed costs. For instance, even though we are not at school, we still have costs to maintain the building, pay utilities, mow the grass, etc.
  • Enrollment: BC (Before COVID-19) recruitment and admissions were strong and exceeding expectations. I am very happy to share that both new enrollments and re-enrollments continue to be strong today. New enrollments are trending significantly higher than at the same time last year, and re-enrollment is on pace. Even in the face of uncertainty, families are seeing clearly the value of MPA—perhaps in contrast to how other schools are managing remote learning. Please continue to share MPA in your networks.
  • Financial Health: Through managing expenses and carefully monitoring cash flow, we are positioned well to end the fiscal year. Philanthropic giving has been very strong BC and our reimagined Spring Auction was a phenomenal success. To assist families and employees who are experiencing financial difficulties, a Community Care Fund has been created.
  • Employees: We will continue to compensate all of our dedicated and hard-working faculty and staff through the end of the school year. Wherever possible, staff have been reassigned to support the overall operations of the school. We are making every effort to honor the everyday commitment they make and to ensure their continued employment during these uncertain economic times. We must retain our highly qualified and dedicated teachers and staff as we look forward to next year.
  • Lunch and Busing: One of the things we keep hearing from MPA families is their gratitude and appreciation for how MPA teachers and staff have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have asked how they can give back and support the school during this difficult time. We will have more ideas for you soon, but one easy way for your family to consider is donating back your hot lunch and transportation costs. Click here to express your desire to this or to receive a refund.

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Supporting The Class Of 2020

the class of 2020 group photoMembers of the MPA Class of 2020 are all in our hearts and minds as we approach so many milestones that they should be celebrating in person but are sacrificing in order to keep our local community members safe from COVID-19. One of the joys of graduation is hosting a graduation party for families and friends, whose contributions help graduates gather the necessary supplies for their journey to college in the fall. Since these parties and gatherings may no longer be possible given the realities we’re facing, MPA student representatives had a great idea for a meaningful way the rest of the MPA community can support them during this time.

Please consider a donation that is right for you to help us provide resources to seniors and their families through the Community Care Fund to purchase any items that will be needed for their journeys to college campuses around the country this fall. Help us ensure every MPA graduating senior has access to the funds they need. Consider this your graduation gift to the amazing MPA Class of 2020! You can even make a gift in honor of a student or graduating senior as a special way to commemorate this incredible class. Make a donation today.


Thank You For Lighting Up The Night

the Boyle family videoThanks to our incredibly generous community, the first-ever MPA Virtual Spring Auction: Light up the Night was a huge success! Our community joined together to raise nearly $230,000! MPA families, alumni, grandparents, parents of alumni, and friends joined together as a community to dream big, do right, and light up the world. Thank you for being part of the most successful auction in several years!

In case you missed our incredible live program featuring student performances, guest speakers, and exciting announcements, you can view a recording by clicking here.

Thanks to our community, we have gotten a jump start on our Community Care Fund. These flexible funds will allow us to respond to emerging needs, including:

  • financial assistance for MPA families in need;
  • technology access for teachers to continue enhancing virtual learning;
  • employee support funds for wellness and emergency resources; and
  • the cost of additional supplies to ensure a whole child education can continue, including art supplies, books and e-books, software and hardware, and devices for families without access to adequate technology or wi-fi for virtual learning.

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A Sense Of Community And Commitment To MPA

Jennifer and Scott Holloway at the 2019 spring auctionby MPA Spring Auction co-chairs Jennifer and Scott Holloway

When we began this school year with our daughter Grace embarking on her senior year at MPA, we could have never imagined how different school and life would be just a few short months later. We’ve been a part of many milestones at MPA, both as a family, and in the history of the school. One of the great joys we’ve had as parents and volunteers at MPA has been to serve as co-chairs of the Spring Auction for the past four years. Despite this history, this year has shaped up to feel like the first time all over again now that we’re offering our first ever virtual spring auction as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We can’t overstate the importance of our sense of community and commitment to MPA as it has given so much to our daughter and our family. We’ve often been asked why we continue to volunteer and urge others to do the same for the school we love. For us, it’s all about the sense of gratitude and appreciation that you can only understand when you’ve experienced the MPA way. Each year, we’ve witnessed the way that truly amazing things can happen when people join together in a common purpose. That might happen in a big banquet hall with fabulous decorations and amazing food, or it could happen on the basketball court, in the classroom, on stage, or now, in a virtual zoom room.

As co-chairs of this year’s auction, we urge you to join us for this special night. You can be a part of this event in whatever way is right for you: bid on our more than 130 auction packages, join our live Zoom program on Friday night at 6:30 featuring amazing students and guest speakers, share within your networks of family and friends to invite even more people to join in on this important fundraiser, or give at a level that is right for your family toward this year’s Fund-A-Need. Countless people have planned, donated, organized, and contributed in some way to what we’re sure is going to be another successful year. Please join us in building community and funding important needs for our students, faculty and staff, and incredible school. We can’t do it without you.


We’re All In This Together

middle school students together on the playgroundby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

There has been a song running through my mind over the last several weeks as we’ve banded together as a school, nation, and world, to battle COVID-19. It comes from a time-honored and critically acclaimed movie, “High School Musical.” “We’re All in this Together” is one of those catchy, syrupy songs that once you hear it, it’s hard to get out of your head. However, deep down, there is an important message. So much so that I adjusted the lyrics a bit and recorded my own version of the song to inspire (horrify, with my tone-deaf singing) our faculty and staff.

The simple truth is that we are in this together, and it is through community that we will emerge successfully, and stronger, on the other side of this crisis. Expressions of community and the affinity members of the MPA community feel for one another abound these days. As a community, we’ve come together to provide stability and continuity for our students. Parents have come together as well, through formal and informal channels, to support, counsel, and learn from one another.

In less than a week, we have an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate our shared values and aspirations. Our annual Spring Auction was to take place on the top floor of a warehouse in Lowertown St. Paul overlooking the lights of the city. While that will not be possible, we will still come together, virtually, to celebrate the best of MPA. Through Zoom, we have the opportunity to join with one another from our kitchens and dining rooms across the metro area and raise both our spirits and the necessary funds to support MPA. Read More


MPA’s First Ever Virtual Spring Auction

MPA virtual spring auction logoSave the date for MPA’s first ever virtual Spring Auction! Since the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic and MPA’s shift to virtual learning, so much of our world has changed! One thing that has remained the same throughout all of this is the importance of our connection to one another, especially as we work together to overcome whatever challenges or obstacles may be in our way.

In this spirit, our volunteer Spring Auction committee is pleased to announce that this year’s 2020 MPA Spring Auction: Light Up the Night is going virtual! Join us on Friday, April 17 for a fun evening filled with inspirational stories, fun auction items to bid and win, and the most important element that makes MPA so special: community.

We need you now more than ever to ensure every student, family, and staff member has what they need to dream big, do right, and light up the world. Learn more about the event, including answers to some frequently asked questions and the changes to expect this year. Check your email inbox this weekend with more details and ways you and your entire family can get involved! Questions? Contact Jennifer Rogers at 308-765-0524 or via email at jrogers@moundsparkacademy.org.


Light Up The Night At The Spring Auction

MPA Alumni at the 2019 spring auctionDon’t miss out on your chance to purchase tickets to the 2020 MPA Spring Auction: Light Up the Night! The event is right around the corner and Alumni tickets are only $50!

In case you missed it, the Spring Auction is MPA’s biggest fundraising event of the year, and raises nearly $200,000 to support students, teachers, and special projects. Your ticket or sponsorship includes parking on the night of the event, a hosted bar, appetizers and a plated dinner, and a wonderful night out with like-minded friends. Learn more about this year’s Fund a Need renovation project on our event website.

We are still accepting items for our silent auction and games. We are in need of additional bottles of wine (at any value), gift cards, and any items you think would be right for the auction. Contact Jennifer Rogers at jrogers@moundsparkacademy.org with questions or your donation information.


MPA Alumni Left Their Mark!

lower school students hold up thank you for alumniThe MPA Alumni Day of Giving on March 3, 2020 was dedicated for alumni to show their continuous Panther Pride and support for MPA students, faculty, and staff. MPA alumni and parents of alumni rallied together yesterday to raise an incredible $40,692 in support of students and teachers! A total of 106 alumni and parents of alumni made a gift, and the Classes of 1991 and 2004 tied with 20% class participation. Their gifts ensure students can receive:

  • Scholarships and Financial Assistance: MPA prides itself on its diverse and inclusive community. Help us to ensure that Panthers from all backgrounds can benefit from a life-changing education. Your gift will support the more than $2 million in financial assistance MPA provides to families each year.
  • Programmatic Enhancements: Thanks to the AnnMarie Thomas Makerspace, experiential learning opportunities, a robust performing and visual arts program, and no-cut athletics, MPA offers a whole-child education for an ever-changing world. Your gift will help us to continue to provide top-notch educational opportunities across these important academic content areas.

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Limited Auction Golden Tickets And Sponsorships!

light up the night spring auction 2020Don’t miss out on your chance to purchase a Golden Ticket, Sponsorship, and tickets to the 2020 MPA Spring Auction: Light Up the Night! The event is right around the corner! Just 13 Golden Tickets remain, Host Sponsorship packages are SOLD OUT, and only two Community Sponsorship packages remain. Join your friends and fellow MPA parents in support of the school. Hurry before Spring Break to secure your spot today.

In case you missed it, the Spring Auction is MPA’s biggest fundraising event of the year, and raises nearly $200,000 to support students, teachers, and special projects. Your ticket or sponsorship includes parking on the night of the event, a hosted bar, appetizers and a plated dinner, and a wonderful night out with like-minded friends. Learn more about this year’s Fund a Need renovation project on our event website. Read More


Alumni, March 3 Is The Day To Leave Your Mark!

prep students in the library with thank you signs for alumniby Mike Velin ’06, MPA Alumni Association Chairperson

A 6 AM email from me may have seemed a little early, but it’s never too early to begin an important day of giving in support of MPA students, faculty, and staff. Today, I hope you’ll join me and other alumni and Parents of Alumni from our generous community to ensure MPA students and teachers today have the resources they need. Your gift will support:

  • Scholarships and Financial Assistance: Did you know MPA provides over $2 million each year to families who dream of an MPA education, but can’t afford the price tag? Your gift can make sure every promising student can benefit from a top-notch education, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • Programmatic Enhancements: An MPA education is the magic that happens inside the classroom, and in the clubs, sports, teams, and enrichment activities before, during, and after the school day. Make sure that students don’t miss out on what makes MPA truly great: the arts, athletics, music, student groups, and enhanced learning through innovative classroom experiences and the AnnMarie Thomas Makerspace.

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