The Joys And Challenges Of A PreK-12 Schedule

from Bill Hudson, head of school

I am deeply touched by the outpouring of kind sentiments I’ve received since announcing my intention to retire at the end of the 2024-25 school year. This decision was incredibly difficult, as I have found immense joy in serving as the head of school at MPA and feel privileged to lead such a remarkable community. Each day, I eagerly anticipate coming to school, recognizing the rare fortune of a job that is both professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling.

As I look toward the future, I have full confidence in the board of trustees and the search committee to find an exceptional successor. Rest assured, my commitment and passion for MPA remain unwavering, and I am dedicated to giving my all over the next 16 months.

Looking ahead to the 2024-25 school year, I am excited to share some exciting changes coming to the Middle and Upper Schools. Throughout this year, the academic administration has carefully reviewed feedback on the curriculum and academic schedule from students, parents, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to continuous improvement is guided by our school’s mission and values, ensuring we meet the evolving needs of our students.

Developing a master schedule and academic calendar that caters to students from PreK through 12 is indeed challenging. I often liken my role as head of school to managing a wonderfully messy family with three different schools, each with its own unique students, teachers, and parents—all under one roof. We are one school united by our mission, yet each division approaches the daily schedule with a focus on our students’ academic, social-emotional, and mental well-being. A committee of teachers and administrators, supported by our exceptional new registrar, Renae Wantock, has refined the master schedule to be even more responsive to our students’ needs.

Upper School
In the Upper School next year, we will offer an impressive 50 elective classes, with 29 available to ninth graders, 13 more in the tenth grade, four more in the eleventh grade, and four more in the twelfth grade. This breadth of choice is rare and reflects our commitment to providing an enriching academic experience. Read More


Congratulations MPA Skiers!

MPA Skiers Alpine and NordicThree members of the MPA Alpine Ski Team earned All-Conference Awards for their efforts at the IMAC Alpine Conference Championship Meet at Buck Hill. Congratulations to Sidney Lundeen ’27, Henry Schwartz ’25, and Jaclyn L. ’29.

Two members of the MPA Alpine Ski Team earned Honorable Mention All-Conference Awards for their efforts at the IMAC Alpine Conference Championship Meet at Buck Hill. Congratulations to Myah Hoeschen ’27 and Jacob Wyant ’27.

Two members of the MPA Alpine Ski Team qualified for State at the Section 4A Alpine Ski Meet. Congratulations to Jaclyn L. ’29 and Vittorio Bloyer ’24. They will be participating at the State Alpine Meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, MN on February 13. Read More


MPA Students Experience Music Clinic At University Of Wisconsin

Oslo, Julia, and LucyThree exceptional MPA students had the opportunity to attend a prestigious orchestra clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this week. Julia Anderson ’27, Oslo Norcross ’27, and Lucy Mayer ’27 attended intensive rehearsals, guided by university faculty, and all of their hard work culminated in a live concert performance.

“Our MPA musicians are so dedicated to music making and I love that they were able to experience this event,” said Hannah Lawson, MPA’s director of orchestras. “As their director, I want to give my students as many performance opportunities as possible and I’m so proud that they accepted the challenge and can carry this experience with them forever.” Read More


Upper School Division News February 8, 2024

Upper school students in French classfrom Mark Segal, Upper School director

Mark Your Calendars

  • Wednesday-Friday, February 7-9: Grade 10 Deep Portage Trip
  • Friday, February 9: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Thursday, February 15: Re-enrollment Deadline
  • Friday, February 16: No Classes, Professional Development
  • Monday, February 19: No Classes, Presidents’ Day
  • Monday, February 19: US SAT Mini Prep Class, 5-8:30 PM, Room 181
  • Wednesday, February 21: Upper School Parent Quarterly Coffee, 8-9:30 AM, PCR
  • Thursday, February 22: Upper School Band Concert, 7:30-8:30 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Wednesday, February 28: Senior Performances, 8-9:15 AM, Recital Hall
  • Thursday, February 29: Upper School Vocal Concert, 7:30-8:30 PM, Nicholson Center
  • Friday, March 1: SnoDaze Assembly, 2:20-3 PM
  • Friday, March 1: Upper School SnoDaze Event (TBD), afterschool

Important Information
If your student will be absent, late, or needs to be excused early from school, please reach out to the Upper School office via cwilliams@moundsparkacademy.org.

REMINDER: even though there are no Lower or Middle School classes on February 9 due to their conferences, the Upper School will hold classes as usual.

Sharing your story is not just an act of self-expression, it is a powerful tool for personal connection and growth. When you “open up” about your personal, lived experiences, you invite others to participate in your stories and share your authentic self with them. One of the MPA graduation requirements is for all members of the senior class to give a Senior Performance. Most seniors speak to their peers in the Recital Hall, yet some choose to share their story with all members of the Upper School community in the Nicholson Center. The Senior Performances are often speeches that speak to individual growth and reflection, but at times are actual performances where original pieces of music or monologues are performed. Read More


Meet International Student Alum Wei Zhan ’22

Wei Zhan '22What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally? What experiences or relationships have inspired you along the way?
I went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and am now attending Santa Monica College. Engaging with a diverse and talented group of individuals fueled my passion along the way.

How was your experience at MPA different than other schools?
MPA has an inclusive and open atmosphere, embracing individuals from all backgrounds and creating a welcoming environment for everyone. Read More


Being An MPA Student Is…

MPA students working together in a small groupThis message is from MPA’s Office of Admission from the January 27, 2024 issue of InsideMPA. Click here to get in touch with Admission and learn more!

Being a student at MPA is a lot of things.

It’s being part of “A generally really diverse, inclusive environment. I fit in like on day one.”

It’s also a place where you will find “Words of encouragement, even when I didn’t really think I needed it,” and opportunities that make you think, “This experience has just made me a much more confident speaker and critical person.”

And even in addition to all of that, it’s “This safe, nurturing, supportive place where I could really explore and learn so many new things.” Read More


Upper School Division News January 25, 2024

from Mark Segal, Upper School director

Mark Your Calendars

  • Friday, January 26: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Friday, January 26: PA Parent Trivia Night, 6-8 PM, Family Commons
  • Friday, January 26: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 7-8:30 PM, Black Box, tickets >
  • Saturday, January 27: MPA vs SPA Varsity Basketball at Target Center, 9 AM (girls), 11 AM (boys), tickets >
  • Saturday, January 27: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 7-8:30 PM, Black Box, tickets >
  • Tuesday, January 30: Senior Performances, 8-9:15 AM, Nicholson Center
  • Wednesday, January 31: US ACT Prep Class, 5:30-8:30 PM, Room 181
  • Thursday, February 1: US Cabaret Concert, 7:30-8:30 PM, Family Commons
  • Friday, February 2: Re-Enrollment Agreements Sent
  • Friday, February 2: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20 AM-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Friday, February 2: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 7-8:30 PM, Black Box, tickets >
  • Saturday, February 3: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 7-8:30 PM, Black Box, tickets >
  • Sunday, February 4: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 3-4:30 PM, Black Box, tickets >
  • Wednesday, February 7-Friday, February 9: Grade 10 Deep Portage Trip
  • Friday, February 16: No Classes, Professional Development
  • Monday, February 19: No Classes, Presidents’ Day
  • Monday, February 19: US SAT Mini Prep Class, 5-8:30 PM, Room 181

Important Information

  1. If your student will be absent, late, or needs to be excused early from school, please reach out to the Upper School office via cwilliams@moundsparkacademy.org.
  2. The members of the Winter Show class are proud to present “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” in the Black Box Theatre over the next two weekends. Dates and show times can be found above. Tickets are $8 for students and $12 for adults. Tickets can be purchased here. The show is recommended for ages 10 and up.
  3. Students’ quarter two and semester one grades will be available late in the day next Monday (January 29). Please reach out to the Upper School office if we can help you access this information.

Read More


Parents Association News January 11, 2024

New! Parents Association Trivia Night
Friday, January 26, 6-8 PM
Join us for a joyful evening of dinner and socializing at MPA hosted by Trivia Mafia! Compete to be trivia champions! For parents and guardians of students in PreK-12, $5 per person (adult or child), dinner from Cossetta, childcare available for grades K-6. For more details and to register, click here.

Dr. Hudson’s Book Club
Monday, February 12, 6 PM
One more announcement for our parent readers! Dr. Hudson’s Book Club will be back on February 12, 6:00 PM in the MPA Library. We will be reading “The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store” by James McBride. Childcare will be provided. Sign up here to get your copy of the book.

Parent Volunteers Needed for Lower School Valentine’s Day Party
Please contact msotoPA@moundsparkacademy.org if you want to help organize the festivities!


Upper School Division News January 11, 2024

from Mark Segal, Upper School director

Mark Your Calendars

  • Friday, January 12: US Class of 2028 Parent Coffee, 8-9 AM, PCR
  • Monday, January 15: Indexed Tuition Re-Application Deadline
  • Monday, January 15: No Classes, Martin Luther King Day
  • Wednesday, January 17: US ACT Prep Class, 5:30-8:30 PM, Room 181
  • Thursday, January 18: MS Grade 7/8 BIPOC Affinity Group, 2:20-3 PM, Panther Center
  • Friday, January 19: MS/US End of Quarter 2
  • Friday, January 19: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20 AM-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Monday, January 22: No Classes, Professional Day
  • Wednesday, January 24: US ACT Prep Class, 5:30-8:30 PM, Room 181
  • Friday, January 26: US BIPOC Affinity Group Meeting, 11:20-12 PM, Room 150-151
  • Friday, January 26: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 7-8:30 PM, Black Box
  • Saturday, January 27: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 7-8:30 PM, Black Box
  • Tuesday, January 30: Senior Performances, 9-9:15 AM, Nicholson Center (in lieu of block 1 classes)
  • Wednesday, January 31: US ACT Prep Class, 5:30-8:30 PM, Room TBD
  • Friday, February 2: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 7-8:30 PM, Black Box
  • Saturday, February 3: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 7-8:30 PM, Black Box
  • Sunday, February 4: US Winter Show, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” 3-4:30 PM, Black Box
  • Wednesday, February 7-Friday, February 9: Grade 10 Deep Portage Trip

Important Information

  • If your student will be absent, late, or needs to be excused early from school, please reach out to the Upper School office via cwilliams@moundsparkacademy.org.
  • Class of 2028 parents are invited to attend a coffee for rising ninth-grade parents to learn more about the Upper School at MPA, ask questions, and share the excitement of this next important step in students’ educational journey. Please mark your calendar for Friday, January 12, 8-9 AM. No RSVP is required, and coffee, tea, and light refreshments will be provided at the gathering. We will meet in the Porter Conference Room (PCR) within the Head of School suite.
  • Student work for quarter two/semester one classes is due by the end of the day on Friday, January 19. On Tuesday, January 23, students will start attending their quarter three/semester two courses.

Read More


A Makerspace Twist On National Novel Writing Month

One of the most memorable seventh-grade traditions at MPA is completing NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a national effort where participants write a novel throughout November. “It’s one of my favorite units to teach,” said Maddy Wolfe ‘12, seventh-grade English teacher at MPA. “They create well-rounded characters, complex story worlds, and a plot laced with tension, all while learning and incorporating language rules and mechanics.”

This year, in addition to their novels, the seventh graders created 3D frames depicting a scene from their stories. They chose a scene from their novel to highlight, and they needed to define the details that make up the scene in its entirety, translated onto a foreground, midground, and background.

“We used a multi-plane camera process—an old-fashioned way of creating 3D space by painting on glass frames as in the early King Kong movie—to create the illusion of space,” commented Keith Braafladt, MPA’s Makerspace coordinator. “It was a surprise how interested and passionate the students were, especially in terms of using color and painting techniques with paint markers, which is a painting tool we just started using last year with our Gunpla model-making activity. The students had so much more control than learning to use a brush in small spaces.”

When the models are held up to a projector, a 3D image is projected onto the wall behind.
“They turned out really incredible!” said Ms. Wolfe. “Their scenes included so many details from their novels, and it was cool to watch their visions come to life.”

“It was a wonderful collaboration using digital fabrication tools to make the frames and the transparencies using a historical perspective technique that came from filmmaking and animation and building this all around the notion of the creation of the narrative for the students’ novels,” commented Mr. Braafladt.

See photos from this exceptional project here.