An Exciting Together, We Dream Update

color palette and cafeteria furniture for our new spaceby Jennifer Rogers, Director of Development and Community Engagement

A lot of exciting improvements are beginning to take shape for our new commons, cafeteria, kitchen, and library! This week, we are sharing the work of several teachers, staff members, and students who have been working hard to help pick our new furniture and fixtures for the spaces! Here is a sneak peek of our color palette and cafeteria furniture for our new space.

Generous families have helped us to reach $3.8 million toward the Together, We Dream initiatives! Thank you to everyone who has helped us to reach this milestone! Our goal is to raise $4 million by May 1 in order to begin construction on the library this summer. Thanks to the generous spirit of our community, we are 76% of the way to our overall goal of $5 million for improvements to our school. Learn more at

The Long-Term Outcome Of An MPA Education

mpa alumni gathered in New Yorkby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

I’m one of the few people who actually enjoys painting a room or even a house. Several years ago, we had our 100-year-old house re-stuccoed, which required scraping and painting the wood trim around the windows. In order to save a few dollars, we decided to do it ourselves. More than 30 windows later and a lot of work, the job was done, and the house looked great. Whether its painting, cooking, or refinishing old furniture, I like seeing the rapid transformation of a finished job. In contrast, the work of educating young people is never finished and there are not often opportunities to see an immediate outcome. Read More

Retirement Celebration Save The Date

karen Rossbach teaching lower school artWe are celebrating three long-time faculty and staff members as they retire at the end of this school year. Please join us in showing your appreciation for Karen Rossbach, Dave McGaha, and Laurie Foss, by attending the annual Retirement Celebration on Thursday, May 30 from 4-7 PM at Keller Golf Club. An invitation will follow. Mounds Park Academy extends its sincere gratitude for all they have done for our students and community.

“It sounds so cliché, but I will miss the people the most. I could have never imagined working with people who were so supportive and philosophically on the same page about education. And the children brought me so much joy each day,” says Karen. Read More

Inspiring A Playful And Joyful Performance

families view art at lower school art showby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

It is difficult to be thinking about spring while a snow storm is bearing down on us and we are all enjoying an unexpected snow day. However, spring is my favorite season for many reasons. One of which is the Lower School Art and Music Show. Slowly, over spring break, the gallery and halls of MPA come alive with beautiful works of art created by our Lower School students. Ms. Rossbach works throughout the break to carefully curate and present their art thoughtfully and enchantingly. If you have walked the halls this past week or so, I am sure you will agree with me that it is magnificent.

The theme of this year’s show is inspired by the music of the Beatles, envisioned and interpreted by our very talented Lower School students. Art teacher Karen Rossbach and Music teacher Mari Espeland have yet again collaborated magnificently—as they have for more than 33 years—to integrate art and music, inspiring a playful and joyful performance that cannot be matched elsewhere.

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Allergy Aware Change For The 2019-20 School Year

pretzels are a nut-free snackBeginning last school year, MPA made a commitment to becoming an even more Food Allergy Aware School and has been guided in part by the voluntary guidelines set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We defined guidelines for our school community, enhanced procedures, and provided additional training and resources for faculty and staff related to all food allergies.

Due to the rising number of students at MPA with life-threatening peanut and/or tree nut allergies, and the rising rate of food allergies in general, MPA will prohibit foods with peanuts and/or tree nuts throughout the school and at all school events beginning July 1, 2019. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated 4%–6% of children in the United States. One in five children with a food allergy will have a reaction at school. It is important to note that in the United States, fatal or near fatal reactions are most often caused by peanuts and tree nuts.

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Parents Association Open House & Upcoming Events

pa coffee gatheringWe invite the MPA community to attend the MPA Parents Association Open House on Friday, April 19 from 8-9 AM in the Porter Conference Room. Come enjoy coffee and a light breakfast as we discuss our accomplishments this past year and plans for the upcoming school year. Please attend as we would love to get your feedback and ideas. If you are interested in taking on a PA Board or Event Chair position for next year, come to the Open House for more information or contact Kim Jakway at We would love to see you and really appreciate your help! Read More

MPA Is Seeking Host Families

Sarah McFarland talking to an international studentDo you have room to spare? Space in your heart for another family member? A desire to expand your family’s perspective of the world? MPA is seeking host families for several international students for the 2019-20 school year.

Our new students this year are finding great success, experiencing near-daily “firsts,” and loving their MPA journey. Between the adults in their school and home lives, our students feel supported, nurtured, and loved while living so far from their families. This is vital to their success and the strongest testament to everything our MPA host families and staff do to care for our international students.

We would love it if you and your family considered hosting an international student for next school year. As you and your family consider hosting, some logistical questions may arise. The information below is by no means an exhaustive list, but it may answer some of the initial questions you have and prompt additions ones as well:

  • Host families are responsible for providing transportation to and from school and school-related activities.
  • Host families are responsible for providing transportation to and from the airport when the student travels.
  • Host families will work with their student in scheduling rides for social events.
  • A 10-month stipend of $9,000 will be directly deposited in equal installments of $900/month on the first of each month for the previous month, September through June.
  • An early installment of $500 will be deposited on August 1 in preparation of your student’s arrival; the remaining $400 will be deposited on September 1.
  • The daily stipend rate of $30/day will be taken from and disbursed to host families who are providing respite care for a student, as needed.
  • All international students will receive the MPA school lunch. Host families and students do not need to pack lunches.
  • Host families are responsible for providing two meals on all weekdays and three meals on all weekend days.
  • New-to-MPA students are being asked to arrive over the weekend of August 17-18, 2019.
  • New students will have New International Student Orientation on August 20-23.
  • Returning MPA students will probably arrive on/near August 26, preparing for the first day of school on August 28.

By hosting an international student, you and your family have a unique opportunity to bring the language, culture, and perspective of another country into your home, allowing for a truly rich, intercultural experience. The students will love to share their lives with you while becoming a part of your family, exploring Minnesota, and enjoying MPA student life all at the same time.

We hope you’ll consider opening your hearts and homes to one of our international students. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sarah McFarland, International Student Program Coordinator and Advanced Language & Culture Teacher, at or 651-777-2555.

Click here to fill out a Host Family Application, and here for more information. Thank you so much for considering!

MPA Speech Wins Section 4A

Students at section speech tournamentThe MPA Speech Team won the MSHSL Section 4A Speech Tournament on Friday, April 5 with more than double the points of the second place team. Congratulations to our Panthers and their incredible coaches!

Finalists and state qualifiers are:

  • Beldaja Jama – 1st place in DISCUSSION (going to the MSHSL State Tournament)
  • Kaija Kunze-Hoeg – 3rd place in DRAMA (going to the MSHSL State Tournament)
  • Chloe McClusky – 4th place in DRAMA
  • Hana Miller – 5th place in DRAMA
  • Ryan Ghose and Livia Wooldridge – 1st place in DUO (going to the MSHSL State Tournament)
  • Carly Peacock and Tyler Schelle – 3rd place in DUO (going to the MSHSL State Tournament)
  • Garrett Hollihan – 1st place in EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING (going to the MSHSL State Tournament)
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Two Seniors Far Surpass Previous Bridge Record

Gabby Law and Henry Peterson with their bridgeA story of creative risk-taking and turning challenges into opportunities.

Fifteen sticks of basswood, a tube of glue, a bunch of instructions, guidelines, and some hints: these are the only materials given to students in Upper School physics for the infamous Bridge Project. The students have four weeks to build a bridge that will hold the most weight possible and garner votes for craftsmanship, creativity, realism, beauty, and best name, before putting the bridges to the test.

“I’ve been doing it since the mid-nineties,” says Marc Shapiro, Upper School physics teacher. “I do it because it’s a great way to apply things that we have learned during the first semester of physics. It’s a new, different kind of project than any other thing that we do, and we get to learn about structures and forces along the way.”

This year started out like previous years, with the students hard at work on their bridges. After the bridge testing, however, it was clear that something special had happened; two MPA seniors, Gabby Law and Henry Peterson, set an outstanding new record that would go down in MPA Bridge Project history as the bridge that held the most weight. Their bridge weighed 21.05 grams, and held an astonishing 319 pounds, which was 6,900 times its own weight. The previous record held just under 2,400 times its own weight.

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MPArors Advance To World Championship

Robotics team with their robotThis past weekend the Robotics Team, MPArors, competed in the MN FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Regional Robotics Competition! The team placed second overall out of 60 teams, and will be moving onto the FIRST Championship in Detroit at the end of April, where there will be teams participating from all over the world.

They had a wonderful group of fans who stayed throughout the day to watch, among which was Sarah McFarland, MPA parent and international student program coordinator. “There were so may wonderful things to see and experience such as watching the team learn and grow from their mistakes, seeing the students in action working together toward a common goals, hearing the pride in mentors’ voices and seeing the sparkle in their eyes,” she shared.

Some MPA alumni and founding team members were also in attendance, cheering on the MPArors and offering their support. Among the MPA alumni present was Sirid Kellermann ’88. Sirid was a FIRST FRC Judge Advisor, whose job it is to coordinate the 30-judge team and ensure they are able to do their jobs successfully. “The MPArors truly reflected the ‘gracious professionalism’ spirit of FIRST Robotics,” said Sirid, “FIRST is about so much more than building a quality robot that performs well in competition. It’s also about the agile problem-solving, teamwork, and collaboration with other teams for the benefit of all. The MPArors can be proud of being a well-rounded team that checks all of these boxes. I encourage them to build on their success and strive even higher in the coming years—I’ll be there cheering them on again next spring!”

Congrats, MPArors! The MPA community and Coach Shapiro are so proud of you!