The Cook FamilyParent Rebekah Cook and her family live in St. Paul, MN, and have a second grader at MPA.

What do you love about MPA?
I love the communication from faculty and staff. I always feel like I know what to expect and when things are happening, which gives me a sense of agency and allows me to be an active participant in my child’s education.

What initially attracted you to MPA?
My good friend, Summer, works at MPA. She would share about what she was teaching and the discussions she would have with her students, and I was like, “I WANT THAT FOR FRANKIE. How do I get that?!” Also, we visited several different schools and at no other school did kids have such confidence. We were strangers walking down the hallway, and kids would say, “Hi!” Or when visiting their classroom, a teacher would ask them a question and they would all be so eager to respond and share–so eloquent and confident. That’s all we wanted for Frankie–to feel confident and safe to be herself!

How is your child encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Frankie is curious, empathetic, highly opinionated, and has some natural leadership abilities, but it can sometimes come across at “bossy.” One of Frankie’s goals from her first grade teacher was to not get distracted by others in the room and to put all of her focus on her own work so she could feel challenged and proud. I LOVED this! Her teacher didn’t discourage her to be different or to simulate, but to identify her weaknesses and strengths and channel all of that to make her the best she can be!

If your child has attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
Frankie attended kindergarten elsewhere in a class with 29 other students. She often felt like she couldn’t ask questions because she didn’t want to take attention away from students that maybe needed more focus from the teacher. She became anxious and didn’t enjoy school at all. After just a few days at MPA, we saw Frankie come back to life. She instantly dove back into her love of reading, she loved sharing about what she learned in Spanish and about her rocks and minerals unit. We really feel like Frankie is encouraged to be the best Frankie she can be at MPA.

What would you tell another family considering MPA?
I would tell them to tour! The school speaks for itself. The hallways are calm yet exciting. The classrooms are organized and the students are engaged and enjoying themselves. The cafeteria is warm with students engaging in conversation. And the library!

The Upper School drama students will do improv exercises for you. Honestly, we didn’t need anyone to tell us anything. We saw how incredible the school is and we continue to everyday now that we are part of the community.

In what ways has MPA prepared your child for life in the 21st century? What are the key attributes, skills, and content that you find most valuable?
Don’t just do, think! World language starting in first grade, typing skills in second grade, and a holistic approach to learning that includes academics, art, self-awareness, community, and the importance of thinking for yourself.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your MPA experience?
I really appreciate the intentionality of everything everyone does. I know that sounds vague, but nothing ever feels superfluous. Also, I never feel like MPA tries to get my child to be “perfect.” They celebrate that we all come from different backgrounds and everyone sees the world differently. But through common values, we can work together and can respect one another.

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