Social Media: Online And On Edge

Two students sitting with phonesby Jenn Milam, Ph.D., Middle School Director, Mounds Park Academy

Just last week I had the privilege of sitting among fellow Middle School parents to hear a presentation prepared and expertly delivered by Ms. Mohn’s Upper School women’s literature students about the power and dangers of online vulnerability that exist in and through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and any number of newly emerging applications. This parent education session serendipitously followed my attending a screening of the new film, “LIKE: A Documentary About the Impact of Social Media on our Lives,” with my family just a few days before.

What is clear to me as I write this piece is that now, more than ever, we must have open, honest, informed, and critical conversations surrounding not only how we (yes, you and I) and our children are using social media; but more, how it is using us. While online interactions in these virtual worlds may seem somewhat disconnected from reality, make no mistake the influence of the social connections, comments, tweets, direct messages, chats, and images that are exchanged online spill over into the very fiber of our daily lives, and into our beings as humans.

It is present each day that the Middle School students walk through the halls at MPA, when they play basketball afterschool, and attend Quiz Bowl tournaments on the weekend. It’s likely present in Lower School students’ experiences as they attend birthday parties and playdates and parents post pictures with captions on Facebook. And, yes, in Upper Schoolers’ interactions as they navigate college acceptances, celebrations, personal life moments, and social dynamics and move into adulthood.

Does this seem overwhelming? If you answered yes, you are not alone. The good news is, we can change our behavior and therefore, change the impact that social media has on our lives and those of our children. Read More

Free Food For Thought Friday

Two lower school kids in the cafeteriaFriday, February 1 is Free Food For Thought Friday at MPA! This is a wonderful opportunity for students who normally don’t take hot lunch or who haven’t for a while, to try MPA’s program.

A MESSAGE FROM SAGE: SAGE is excited to partner with Mounds Park Academy for this fun event! Come and enjoy lunch on us! We know you’ll love the selections we have to offer. That day features a crowd favorite—house-baked chicken tenders, quesadillas, and brown sugar sweet potatoes. You’ll also find a build-your-own California Cobb salad, creamy baked mac and cheese, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and much more. Our team will be proud to serve you. Come and experience the passion and care that goes into every meal we create here at Mounds Park Academy!
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Choosing A School Path That Inspires

Lower Schooler SmilingThere are so many things to think about when you’re raising a child, but there are few things more important than their education. A child’s educational journey only happens once, so it’s important to guide them down the path that is right for them.

For many, a private school education is the right choice because of the personalized attention students receive. Complementing the academic experience, many private schools teach students to be responsible community members and encourage them to make a positive impact on the world.

A strong focus on each child’s unique abilities

At Mounds Park Academy, our focus on every child’s individuality is one of the things that makes us so unique. We embrace every child, celebrate their differences, and help guide them to discover who they are truly meant to be. Teachers are not bound by test- score data as the sole measure of a student’s abilities, so they have more freedom and flexibility to accommodate individual students’ needs. Small class sizes allow teachers to better evaluate their students’ academic and personal strengths and challenges. Teachers engage with students every day in ways that help them thrive. Read More

It’s In Our DNA

middle school girls working together in classby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

Last week, a new lunch group was launched in the Middle School. Seventh and eighth grade girls were invited to participate in a “Girl Power Friendship Group” over the course of eight weeks. During lunch, Middle School girls are coming together to learn about how to navigate difficult emotions, confidently communicate with others, and build strong friendships. The new group, under the guidance of Ashley Cooper, Middle and Upper School counselor, and Aria Fiat, Ph.D. candidate from the University of Minnesota, is a proactive way to address the social, emotional, and mental health challenges that appear developmentally in adolescent girls.

Just last week in my head’s message, I reiterated a vision of MPA that reframes the understanding of “whole-child for whole-life.” Such an education is collaborative, experiential, and interdisciplinary, which values the assessments of broader aims—those skills, dispositions, and mindsets most necessary to live, learn, and thrive in today’s 21st century globalized society. A crucial aspect of which is the social, emotional, and mental health of our students. Read More

Strategic Planning From The Board’s Perspective

middle school students working togetherby Brent Peacock, Chair of the MPA Board of Trustees

In 2015, MPA launched an extensive, highly collaborative, strategic planning process. The process, which was initiated, designed and driven by a task force of the Board of Trustees and Head of School, involved and engaged 64 stakeholders from across the school community, including leadership, faculty, staff, families and, critically, students. The process was grounded in the mission and values of the school and was designed to be collaborative, comprehensive, transparent, and inclusive. It provided both a compass and a blueprint to make informed decisions in order to respond, anticipate, and proactively plan for changes and challenges ahead. Not only did the process produce a strong 5-year strategic plan (Momentum 2020), it also built trust and partnerships among its wide array of stakeholders. Read More

Maker Fest 2019: Meet Michelle Mick

Michelle Mick art workWe’re interviewing the Makers you’ll meet at at Maker Fest 2019 on Saturday, February 23 so you can get to know them ahead of time! If reading about Michelle’s work has inspired you to share your own, sign up here to be a Maker yourself!

What (or who) inspires you to make? 

Having had a brain tumor that compromises my ability to do certain things, I find that having been told I am completely impractical–and now being able to function normally–I have an inner strength to try my hand at things that I have been told I can’t do or am no good at. I am inspired by bending down in the garden, in a parking lot, or wherever, and seeing this beautiful nature all around us. It could be as simple as this morning, with a few snow flakes coming down, and seeing them one by one land on our black truck, absolutely amazingly perfect. Or it could be sitting in the garden listening to the hum drum of the bugs in the middle of summer, and having a butterfly come and land on me and stay there for half an hour or so, or chatting with a tame blue jay!

What do you enjoy making?

I started by trying to paint butterflies on rocks, having read about the village members in Mexico selling rocks to tourists, to try and raise awareness of the Monarch butterfly. I donated the money that I raised to the Monarch lab at the U of M, and branched out by painting a swallowtail, caterpillars, hearts, you name it! I recently did a project for an MPA staff member, painting rocks and sayings, which was such an amazing thoughtful gift from the staff member to friends. Read More

Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards 2019

Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards

The Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards (MSAA) is organized and administered by the Art Educators of Minnesota.  Professional jurors select work submitted by students in grades 7-12. The competition is recognized by the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design.

Out of 3,746 submissions this year, awards were granted as follows: 309 Gold Keys, 384 Silver Keys, 699 Honorable Mentions. Gold Key work will go on to compete at the national level.

Gold Key works will be on display at the Regis Center for the Arts West Gallery at the University of Minnesota, from February 5-23, 2019. Silver Key works will be displayed digitally in a slide presentation on gallery monitors during the exhibition. Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mention works will all be featured in an online gallery.

Please join the Visual Art Department in congratulating the following artists who had work recognized in the 2019 Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards! Read More

Updated Open Gym Schedule

kids playing basketball in the lansing center

The Lansing Sports Center will once again be open most Saturday mornings this winter for MPA families and their friends. Please see below for an updated schedule of open gym dates and times.

If you know a family who might be interested in learning more about our school, this would be a great opportunity to welcome them to campus!

Saturday, January 19: 8-10:30 AM
Saturday, January 26: 9 AM-12 PM
Saturday, February 2: 9 AM-12 PM
Saturday, February 9: 9 AM-12 PM
Saturday, February 23: 9 AM-12 PM

You are welcome to come and use the track, sports center and fitness center. If you have any questions, please contact the Athletic Office at 651-748-5630.

Panthers Take First In ABC Relay Race

Boys Nordic Ski Relay Team

Congratulations to all MPA skiers who participated in the ABC Relay races this past Saturday, January 12, at Theodore Wirth Park! The team of Henry Snider, Isak Nightingale, Peter Manolis, and Matthew Bourne put together an excellent race and came home with the first place trophy, beating second and third ranked teams. Eighteen schools participated in the relay in groups of four, and MPA came in first place, the best results in the school’s Nordic ski team history. Congratulations, Panthers!

Register For Spring Sports

Registration for spring sports at MPA is now live! With options from track and field to baseball, softball, and golf, there there is something for everyone to stay active this spring. Sign up here!