April 2023

A Message from the Admissions Office

Greetings and Happy Spring!


We are so pleased that you would like to learn more about MPH! We have officially kicked off the 2023-24 enrollment season and are excited to share the first 2023 issue of our Discover MPH e-newsletter. No matter where you are in the admissions process, we hope that you will enjoy seeing a glimpse of some of the many exciting happenings on campus over the past few months.


As these stories will attest, MPH is unlike any other school in Central New York. As the area’s only independent school, we have the flexibility to think differently about your child’s education, and we use that flexibility to curate a holistic academic and co-curricular program that maximizes opportunities for student engagement and meaningful learning.


MPH operates on a rolling admissions calendar. That said, we are actively reviewing completed applications at this time for the 2023-24 school year. We would love to talk with you at any time about your interest in MPH and assist you with the application process. We encourage you to reach out to the Admissions team via email at admissions@mphschool.org to schedule a time to talk with one of our team members.


We look forward to hearing from you!

Please enjoy a virtual tour of campus!


Our Student Ambassadors recently filmed a short video to share a few key areas on campus with prospective families. Please join them as they talk about what makes these spots special.

Pre-K Scientists Explore Temperature and Snow

Pre-K students recently used their senses at the sensory table as they made observations and considered predictions while exploring with a thermometer and snow. They learned how to use a thermometer and discussed the concept of temperature, while also predicting whether the thermometer gauge would move up or down from room temperature when placed in the snow.

Kindergarten Is Full of Artists

In late January, our Kindergarteners could be found working on abstract art inspired by pioneering painter and theorist Wassily Kandinsky.

Kindergarten Takes Fire Drills to a Completely Different Level

Thanks to a nice connection between MPH’s own health and safety coordinator and the DeWitt Fire Department, our Kindergarteners took a trip to the DeWitt firehouse and benefited from a behind-the-scenes tour.

Kindness Runs Rampant

in Lower School!

As part of MPH's Social Emotional Learning (SEL)-focused work, Lower School students read The Kindness Quilt by Elizabeth Wallace, after which students in each grade participated in creating MPH's own Kindness Quilt, which was on display in the Phoenix Lobby in January. Then in February, Grade 1 and 2 students learned about being empowered to make positive choices — in this instance inspired by the book Kindness Grows, by Britta Teckentrup. Evidence of their takeaways from that experience could also be found on display for all to see!

Insider Look at Newhouse for Grade 5 Helps to Inform Capstone

In mid-February, MPH’s fifth-grade students visited the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, a field trip that aligns with the Grade 5 Capstone focusing on choice and voice, in which students are exploring digital storytelling. Once arriving on campus, they were met by professors from multiple departments (Recruitment and Diversity, Visual Communication, and Broadcast and Digital Journalism) and received a tour of one professor’s live classroom: the Diane and Bob Miron Digital News Center. There they learned about each aspect of the news center from every camera to the research hub to the production room down to the “x marks the spot” on the floor. Students were able to see Newhouse students working in the room, practicing their scripts, getting their microphones attached, and finding their mark — all the work that goes into preparing for a live broadcast. They later watched the same students present the news live for the show Mornings on the Hill and were met by another professor who talked to them about the Orange Television Network, where SU students learn how to develop and pitch a show to a network. MPH students in turn shared how in Grade 5 they are each building their own show for their Capstone project, highlighting a range of topics including the Animal Kingdom, Combustion Engines, Aviation, and a range of sports. Two Newhouse Ambassadors then came to give the class a tour of the three Newhouse buildings, and later the group visited local radio station WAER, where the director wrote and produced an on-air news show for the MPH students to record!


With their Capstone projects, students are learning how to tell a story, how to make it a compelling story, and how visual and audio resources help to convey that story to the audience. The students are using Premiere Rush to edit their stories and will ultimately develop a theme to connect and weave all their stories together.

Science of Reading Placed in Students’ Hands with Brain Builders Videos

Many of you have likely heard about our passion at MPH when it comes to empowering our Lower School faculty in the use of evidence-aligned reading instruction and assessment. For the past several years our teachers at MPH have been teaching literacy using explicit instructional practices based on Science of Reading research. 

Recently, Lower School teachers have been sharing and discussing these short Brain Builders videos from Amplify in second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade classrooms. As described on the website: “Brain Builders is an animated video series [to share with] students to help them understand what the brain does in order to read — the first time the Science of Reading has been placed in the hands of students. Join Minh on his journey as his babysitter, Tamara, helps him cultivate a love for reading and an understanding of the Science of Reading. [The] series includes 13 episodes you don’t want to miss!”

Grade 6 Developing — and Sharing! — Computer Literacy

Grade 6 computer literacy students had fun creating games in Google Slides one winter week, making Jeopardy, matching, and tic tac toe games for their classmates to play. And just a couple weeks later they were ready to share their knowledge and tips with eager students in Grade 2, who joined them in their classroom.

The “youngers” learned from the “olders” how to utilize Google slides and employ specific features such as transitions, animations, and linking slides.

Students worked together to create an “All About Me” slideshow about the Grade 2 students themselves. 

English Students Create Stories

in Partnership with Early Learners

Before the holiday break in December, Grade 8 English students learned how to “build” a story and partnered with the Kindergarten class to interview each Kindergartener and write a story centered on them. Each group of Grade 8 students then created a book for their Kindergarten partner. In early January, they visited the Kindergarten classroom to read their finished stories!

Mandarin Students Connect with Class in Taiwan

Students in MPH’s Mandarin Chinese class have been experiencing cultural and language exchanges with counterparts from the MingLun High School in Taiwan with the benefit of synchronous Zoom meetings this year. They have had conversations about various topics, and the students from MingLun even sent MPH holiday cards in December.

3D Fossil Skull Plays a Role

in Biology Class

As part of their lab on human evolution, Grade 9 biology students measured 3D prints of fossil skulls of humans and human ancestors and then used their measurements to build a phylogenetic tree hypothesizing the relationships among the skulls. They then determined which skull corresponded to which species. 

MPH Students Honored with Scholastic Art Awards

This year MPH continued its remarkable tradition of excellence with the annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards from students in Grades 8 to 12. Among the nearly 4,000 works submitted by high school students all around Central New York for blind judging, MPH students were honored with 28 overall awards, including seven prestigious Gold Key awards and seven Silver Keys. All MPH entries can be seen here.

Football Frenzy!

Sometimes spontaneous gatherings make for the very best, most-joyful kind, as evidenced by the celebratory mood in the Phoenix Lobby in late November when the U.S. Men’s National (Soccer) Team scored a goal against Iran, ultimately propelling the team to the next round (of 16) in the World Cup. MPH students shuffled couches and chairs into position during their free periods to watch the tense, remarkably contested final group stage game.

Inclusive Approach to Athletics and Fun Pep Rallies Contribute Positively to School Culture

One of the unique features of life at MPH is the inclusive approach to athletics, which means all students who want to play a sport can play a sport regardless of their background, how many travel teams they've been on, or whether they've even played the sport before. In speaking with students, they see this as a positive aspect of the school culture. Instead of breeding cold-blooded competition among peers, it encourages of a culture of inclusion, support, and community. To be clear, it doesn't mean the Trojans don't succeed; in fact, MPH is home to numerous league, sectional, and even state championship teams and individual performers. It just means everyone who wants to can benefit from the positive experience of participating in MPH athletics.


It also means the Boys Varsity Basketball team can try to play volleyball against the very successful Girls Varsity Volleyball team in front of a gym full of their peers and lose. Soundly. (But with good humor, of course.)


And so… On one Friday in late January, laughter and celebration were on full display; it was Pep Rally Day at MPH, and once again the gym was the scene of plenty of energetic friendly competition and noise, with the now-traditional tunnel entrance for each varsity team followed by, among other things, a layup/three-pointer/half-court basketball contest and the aforementioned volleyball game. Spirits, on and off the court, were understandably high!

Building Community One Bag of Snacks at a Time

With a gaggle of Lower School students approaching the MPH Campus Shop during community time to grab a snack, a little more disorder might be expected. But here on a Friday at MPH — a Pep Rally Friday even! — the younger students were remarkably ordered, lining up in single file, approaching quietly, then politely picking from the available (healthy) offerings. Chalk it up to the MPH culture of respect, but also chalk it up to the impressive logistical acumen of the Upper School students running the newly reconstituted store.


The campus shop took a hiatus during COVID but returned this year as a club/experiential-learning hybrid, guided by a faculty member and truly driven by a core group of juniors and seniors, with one of the seniors (Kate C.) serving as de facto store manager. The store runs as an actual campus business, having started with a seed loan from the administrative wing (a loan that is "nearly paid off," says Kate) and with the club members dutifully keeping tally of all sales, purchases, and trends. Just as many business owners already know, the students have learned that selling items is the easier part of the work…


"The easiest part is when we're open and selling at the window," Kate tells us. "The behind-the-scenes work is much harder: Creating a schedule so that we have workers when students have free blocks; knowing how much to buy and making sure we keep new things available; and making sure especially Lower School kids have a nice variety of really healthy choices."


For Middle and Upper School students, the store runs conventionally, with students bringing money and selecting from a variety of snacks and drinks. Lower School students with access to the shop (Grades 3–5 only) don't have to actually purchase their snacks and are allowed one selection from a limited menu of healthier choices (i.e., the Flaming Hot Cheetos will have to wait).


"We knew it was really important for Lower School students to have equity," Kate says. "They have the same food choices, and they each get one choice. Usually it's something like Goldfish and Pirate's Booty; sometimes gummy snacks. We tally it and calculate the cost for [Lower School Division Head] Ms. Abdo." The Lower School then reimburses the store to keep the books in line.


"The LS kids are the best," Kate goes on. "They're really polite kids. And it's really a big community builder. When I see them in the hall they'll say hi, and they recognize us from the store." She says the community factor is also a plus for Middle and Upper School students, as the store has become a gathering place in the Phoenix during free time, and these students don’t mind weighing in as the store evolves. "We get requests. Then we make a list and go to BJ's to restock. We try to add new items and keep the more popular items in stock at the same time…” Hands-on learning, indeed.  

World Language Multicultural Fest

MPH wrapped up its World Language Multicultural Festival on a Friday in February with an energetic assembly in the gym that featured skits in multiple languages, a schoolwide sing-along, a wonderful dance by a junior, and a flag parade sequence choreographed by a senior. The assembly followed a week of multicultural activities that took place in the Phoenix during Community Time, with presentations on various regions and cultures, culturally diverse menu items in the dining hall, and even a toga-wearing tutorial. The week enriched us all by celebrating our own extraordinary diversity within the MPH community, as well as expanding our knowledge and understanding of — and exposure to — cultures and traditions beyond our own.

Sharing the Importance of Oral Traditions

Michelle Schenandoah of the Onʌyota':aka (Oneida) Nation Wolf Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy visited MPH for Community Time on Friday and talked to students about the power of collective oral traditions as well as individual perspectives and contributions.

Schenandoah, who is an inspirational speaker, writer, and thought leader, is also the founder of the nonprofit Rematriation, dedicated to lifting up the voices of Indigenous women. She told students parts of the Haudenosaunee creation story, explaining that non-Indigenous scientists and historians continue to catch up to Indigenous oral traditions. She noted that while Haudenosaunee stories do not tell of a migration across the Bering Strait, non-Indigenous historians had insisted upon this narrative until recently. She spoke of the tradition of thanksgiving at social and religious gatherings and its origins in oral tradition and reminded students that America's "Founding Fathers" took their ideas for democratic government from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy — although, as she pointed out, they left out a few key ideas: compassion, rights for women, rights for the land and water and other living beings among them.

Before she left, Schenandoah told students that each of them was a unique individual with something to contribute that only they could provide.

Read More Like This!

If you would like to see complete issues of Snapshot, our weekly e-newsletter to current MPH families — and the publication from which most of the stories above have been excerpted — view back issues here.
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