Minnehaha Academy Announces Architecture and Construction Firms

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (December 15, 2017) - Minnehaha Academy is pleased to announce that Minnehaha's Board of Trustees selected Cuningham Group to provide architecture and engineering services and Mortenson Construction as the School's construction manager to build the school's permanent Upper School campus.

"We are confident we have assembled a team that has the capabilities to handle a fast track building project while ensuring a thoughtful and deliberative process, keeping quality at the forefront," said the school's President Dr. Donna Harris.

"Cuningham has a depth of experience in designing educational facilities and provided master planning services for the School in 2013," said Harris. "Cuningham's architects also designed the recent Page Family STEM Lab and science renovation projects at the Upper School. Mortenson partnered with Minnehaha in the build out of the temporary site in Mendota Heights— the company accomplished a near miraculous feat, completing the building in record time. In addition, Cuningham and Mortenson have a strong working relationship and are deeply committed to this project. We remain committed to completing construction in time for the opening of school in the fall of 2019. This is a very aggressive, but achievable, goal."

"We're pleased to partner with Minnehaha Academy as they plan for the future of their Minneapolis campus," said Kendall Griffith, vice president and general manager, Mortenson. "We are inspired by the leadership of the school and look forward to creating the best possible learning environment for students and faculty."

"Cuningham Group is honored to work alongside this team," said Principal Judy Hoskens. "This project is about more than just bricks and mortar, it is about honoring the legacy that Minnehaha holds. It's about creating spaces that are not only representative of the students today, but for all of the future generations of students that will be part of the Minnehaha community. Together we will plan, together we will design, and together we will build."

Demolition will continue on the building at 3100 West River Parkway. Heavier demolition work begins next week, with the tearing down of the 1912 and 1922 buildings. Demolition is estimated to be complete by the end of January 2018.

The school is also working to save artifacts that survived the explosion.

Eric Dayton ʼ99 has become a staunch advocate for rebranding Minnesota as a culturally unique North instead of the flyover Midwest and encourages all its residents to take pride in the true North spirit. Read "How Eric Dayton convinced Minnesotans — and the rest of the country — to embrace the 'North'"

In November, Stitch Fix founder and CEO Katrina Lake ʼ01 became the youngest female founder to take a company public and the first woman to take an internet company public in 2017, an IPO milestone lauded by fellow women in the tech industry

MPA Alum Honored by Local Nonprofit

Rose Miller '06 received a special honor at the Animal Humane Society called the Values Award. This recognition celebrates individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the organization and exemplify the Animal Humane Society's organizational values: be good to animals, partner with people, and lead responsibly with compassion.

Rose is the social media producer for AHS, turning the organization's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat profiles into resources for supporters. Rose has helped grow the loyal audience to more than 120,000 followers. She exceeds in her role as the voice of AHS and takes it very seriously. She uses her skills and storytelling tools to post thoughtfully and engagingly, developing her content and organization tactics far in advance.

"She makes people feel good, either by simply posting a photo of a cute puppy, or consoling someone when they've lost their best friend. Her attentiveness to not just animals, but people, is why we have new adopters, campers, Training School graduates, loyal boarding clients, sustaining givers, first-time donors...the list goes on," said Maggie Flanagan, the digital marketing strategist at AHS who nominated Rose. "In her daily work, Rose is where the world is, and she's truly amazing at representing our brand and our mission. I can't speak enough to her value here at AHS."

We are so proud of Rose for dreaming big and doing right at the Animal Humane Society

Congratulations, Erin!

Erin Law '12 recently received a Crystal Pillar Award at the the Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences! Erin is in her second year of graduate studies, mastering in digital media and storytelling.

Erin's documentary, created with Megan McKinley of California, featured Dress For Success, an organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Another alum dreaming big and doing right in our world. Thank you, Erin!

The Science of Studying

Wednesday, Dec 06, 2017

Learning, Students, skills, strategies, studying, finals

With the holiday season right around the corner, final exams for many students are also approaching soon. With increasing demands from extracurricular activities, challenging classes, social outings, and - let's face it - technology, finding time to study can seem next to impossible.


In order to use the time remaining the in the day most effectively, students at Breck are learning strategies to maximize the outcomes of their study sessions and retain new information longer. Aided by recent research in the field of Mind, Brain, and Education (a field that crosses neuroscience, psychology, and education and is at the heart of the Breck's Peter Clark Center for Mind, Brain, and Education), students are learning strategies to increase information retention.

Think back to your English class and those countless vocab words you learned. How did you study? Flashcards with the word on the front and the definition on the back? How about the sheet of notebook paper with the word on one side and the definition next to it, with the page folded over, hiding the answers? While these can be helpful study methods, they are often done ineffectively.

Breck's Middle School Learning Strategist, Jay Rainville delivered valuable study tips that are rooted in research (hence the name of this article, The Science of Studying) at a parent meeting in early November. With final exams upon us, it might be helpful to review how you can help your child study, too.

The Research

Alone or in a group? How should you study?

Rainville: There are benefits to studying independently and in a group. Group study is often more effective for older students since they are more likely to stay engaged and not just focus on social interaction. The interactive group dynamic, however, can make things more memorable and help things stick more effectively because the interactive dynamic may have a positive emotional charge (i.e. if there's a joke that happens that helps students remember a term they are trying to study).

If students are studying solo, they control the environment and pace but it is important to bring someone else into their study routine at the end of the process to avoid the illusion of competency.

What is the illusion of competency? When students study, the information moves into their short term memory. It can be easy for a student to review a term and think, "I've got this!" when really it hasn't been aggregated into their long-term memory. A delayed, final review with someone else ensures that information is stored in the long-term memory. Groups, if done properly, can aid in retrieval practice and accountability for actually knowing.

When is the best time to study?

Rainville: There's mixed research on when but the important thing to know is that a routine is what's best. Even if a student comes home with no assigned homework, having study time built into their routine allows students to review other content and reflect on the day. Brains get used to routines and the longer that time is dedicated for that purpose, students will become more and more efficient.

Should my student be studying in a certain place?

Rainville: As with the time of day in which to study, there's mixed research on location as well. I recommend that students study in a place that resembles the testing environment. You're going to be tested on information—make your study environment as similar to that testing environment as possible. Some students might use music because studying may not be as engaging, but having silence while they study is going to help them really store information into their long-term memory. The important thing to note is that comfort is key. Too much comfort can equal complacency while too little can lead to mental stress/shut down.

How can my student study more effectively?

Rainville: There are many strategies we can use to help students improve their study efforts. A few of them are outlined below.

Spacing: Studying should be spaced out over time. One long study session is not as effective as having three, ten to fifteen minute sessions over multiple days. That's why creating a routine of daily study time is so important. When students block or "cram," students retain information for a day, maybe two since the information falls away so quickly.

Interleaving: While it may seem ideal to focus on one term over and over again until "mastery," the best way to learn is to mix it up. Studying multiple terms or concepts at once and actively switching between three to five is ideal because the brain has to process more deeply rather than just memorizing the one. Focusing on mastery of just one skill doesn't allow our brain to identify when the skill needs to be used. Students aren't looking at the problem and thinking, "what skill do I need to use in order to study this?" Interleaving forces our brains to process the type of question being asked on a deeper level. It is a more active and engaged form of study.

Active Recall: Active recall is a process of studying without being prompted for the answer using tools like practice tests or pretests. In this exercise, students should struggle to recall information, which ultimately strengthens that piece of information in their long-term memories.

Reframe Test Days: Research associated with the stereotype threat tells us that the way we approach tests and quizzes can have a serious impact on how well students perform. Students should reframe a test as a positive opportunity to show off what they've learned. Students may also want to mentally rehearse the day, imagining it going well and reminding themselves of what will happen.

Mirror the Testing Experience: This is an important strategy where students may need assistance. Too often, students are studying and quizzing each other orally. Are they going to be tested orally? If not, maybe they should think about making their study efforts resemble the testing experience.

Reciprocal Teaching: This is a really good strategy that asks the students to become the teacher. If students can effectively communicate how to do a process, they've got it down. But the trick is that they need to be able to describe it in a way that makes sense, and sometimes that is hard to do.

LINCS Strategy: LINCing is a vocabulary strategy that guides students through creating a mind map with terms. Students should:

  • Listen to the sound of the new term as they say it,
  • Identify the reminding word (think of a familiar word or phrase that sounds like the new term),
  • Note the LINCing story (use the reminding word to recall the LINCing Story about the term and think of how the story helps you think of what the new term means),
  • Create the LINCing picture in your mind (visualize the LINCing picture about the reminding word and think of how the picture helps you think of what the new term means)
  • And Shape a sentence that contains the new term (make a sentence that uses the new term correctly).

A few other tips and tricks:

Encourage active self-quizzing: Take time to really struggle to retrieve the information

Make flashcards more effective: Don't just include the term and definition! Add antonyms, synonyms, hint words, "sounds like" words, or even a sentence with the word used accurately in a sentence.

Movement and Standing: Research suggests that some movement, like bouncing on a ball or standing while studying can improve executive functioning skills and working memory capabilities.

Aim to master: Go beyond thinking "I'm good to go," to really thinking about that information deeply, trying to draw connections to different terms or topics that they're studying.

Pretesting: Even if the information is new, pretesting can prime the brain for what's coming later.

Use it but don't then lose it: Even after the test has happened, review the information to keep it active in the brain (see "Spacing" strategy above).

Thinking about your thinking (Metacognition): Don't just think about how well you did on a quiz or test but also reflect on how your studying went. Consider using the "Stoplight Method" where you have three different rubber bands and students separate their notes between "I know it and have it down;" "I kind of know it;" and "I've never seen this before." Directing your studying to the words you are struggling with makes study time more efficient.

Personal connections: The more students can make personal connections with what they are learning, the easier it is going to be to remember and recall it. Known as contextual learning, this process requires that students customize their own methods of learning.

Paper vs. Electronic: It depends. Research suggests that online methods need more repetitions to learn content than with paper flashcards. Conversely, research also suggests that electronic methods are more motivating for students. If you're trying to decide what's better, paper or electronic, the answer is: it depends.

So the next time you are preparing for a test or helping your child prepare for an upcoming exam, consider your approach. Strategies matter. Making strategies your own matters, too.

These strategies are taught to all Breck Middle School students through the MindWorks program. For more information on a Breck education, visit us online at

MPA Alum Receives Student Film Production Award

Erin Law and Megan McKinley with their Crystal Pillar AwardErin Law, Class of 2012, received a Crystal Pillar Award at the the Chicago-Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences last weekend! The Crystal Pillar is NATAS' highest award for student productions.

Erin is in her second year of graduate studies, mastering in digital media and storytelling. Erin's documentary, created with Megan McKinley of California, was "Dress For Success." The mission of Dress For Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Congratulations, Erin! We love how you are dreaming big and doing right!

We build confidence, success,

purpose through transformative

learning experiences.

November 10, 2017

Groves Academy supports families in the community seeking information on dyslexia, ADHD, and similar learning differences. Groves is a local resource for families and the only organization of its kind in Minnesota.

We are proud to co-sponsor
an upcoming workshop on executive function.


Thursday, November 16
8:30 AM - 4:10 PM
Sheraton West Minneapolis
in Minnetonka

Click HERE for more information and to register.

Workshop led by Sara Ward, MS, CCC/SLP

Leave the conference with actionable strategies to teach youth how to develop task initiation, transitions, forethought, time management, planning and self-awareness.

In addition, Groves Academy's Community Education Workshop Series provides helpful information to families who attend Groves as well as those from the community for no or low cost. Click here to register or for more information.


November 14:
Dyslexia and Other Learning Disabilities, presented by Ellen Engstrom, Groves Academy Director of Curriculum. 7:00-8:30 PM

December 5:
Diagnostic Testing Overview: IQ and Academic Assessments, presented by Dr. Ethan Schwehr, Groves Academy Licensed Psychologist. 7:30-8:00 PM | 952.920.6377

3200 Highway 100 South

St. Louis Park, MN 55416

© 2017 All Rights Reserved.

Groves Academy is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Your gift is fully tax-deductible as allowable by law. No goods or services were provided in consideration for contribution.

Groves Academy, 3200 Highway 100 South, Saint Louis Park, MN 55416

Sent by in collaboration with

ERIN WALSH - Speaker

Title: Raising Kids in the Digital Age: Is there an app for that?

Date: Thursday, December 7

Time: 5:00-6:30 PM

Location: Breck US Library

Erin Walsh, M.A. is a dynamic, knowledgeable speaker who has addressed a wide range of audiences on topics related to brain development and raising resilient young people in the digital age. Erin was instrumental to the development of the MediaWise movement and enjoyed working with her father, Dr. David Walsh, for 10 years at the National Institute on Media and the Family before creating Mind Positive Parenting together in 2010.

In addition to her work with Mind Positive Parenting, Erin is a speaker with the Bolster Collaborative and teaches undergraduate students at the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs where she teaches a program called Making Media, Making Change.

Erin currently serves as the board chair of YMCA Camp Widjiwagan, a wilderness-based youth development program and has consulted with schools, school districts, parent groups and other youth serving organizations throughout the country on issues related to digital media, children, youth. She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her partner, two sons, and husky dog.

Minnehaha Players to Perform Student-Written Play US. at Guthrie

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., (N, 2017) - Minnehaha Academy Upper School theatre students have the unique opportunity to perform student-written US. at the world-class Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis this November.

At Minnehaha Academy, we have learned in new ways how community pulls us together and lifts us up. That lesson is reflected in the Upper School performance of US; a piece written and performed by the Minnehaha Academy Players. Minnehaha Academy actors have the unique opportunity to perform this piece at the world-class Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

US. is a "devised theatre" piece designed to reflect who we are as a community and how we can all come together with all of our differences to work toward a common goal with love and respect. The setting is in an airport where a plane has mysteriously made a sudden landing and all are waiting to finish the last leg of their trip. The characters are vastly different with differing views and perspectives yet everyone's goal is the same, to finish their trip safely.

Student Written & Performed at Guthrie

Student actor Greta Hallberg noted, "US. is really unique in that it's like nothing the Minnehaha Academy Players have ever done before. Not having a concrete script and writing a show from scratch has certainly been a challenging process. We don't really have a crutch to fall back on with words that have been crafted by a playwright because we are the playwrights! It adds a whole new aspect to this production that we usually don't experiment with. While it's certainly been frustrating at times, my hope is that the finished product will be worth the hard work and that people will be able to connect with the words we write and the ideas we portray on stage."

Students had assistance from a local playwright who workshopped the play with the students. Ray Tippen, Upper School student, commented, "I'm really glad that we were given this opportunity. Storytelling has always been something that I'm passionate about, and this gave us all a voice to share. It was a very unique experience that taught me a lot about collaborative writing." In addition to writing the play, students were also responsible for writing and creating the music for US.

Student Cailin Hoben said, "I'm excited and nervous to perform it at the Guthrie because so many great plays have been put on there and I never thought I'd be acting in a play at the Guthrie."

On Finding a Play for Minnehaha Academy

"After all that has happened to our community, I felt uneasy about finding any play that would best fit our needs," said Theatre Director Nicholas Freeman. "I kept seeing people come together to mourn, inspire and rebuild. I prayed about what to do and kept hearing the word "us." I guess that was God's way of speaking to me. The voices that really matter the most in our community belong to the students. I wanted them to be able to share what is on their hearts and minds. This play does not directly address the explosion or any emotional ties related to that, but rather these students wrote about people and topics that are near and dear to them. This form of storytelling should inspire dialogue and reflection. We always strive to walk in God's light and follow His lead for our work. We hope the audience feels that and appreciates this unique theatrical experience."

Performance Details


Written by the Minnehaha Academy Players

Co-Directed by Shannon Elliott and Nicholas Freeman

Nov. 9th, 10th and 11th. 7:30 p.m.; Nov.11th 2 p.m.

Guthrie Theatre's Dowling Studio

(Running time is around 1hr 10min with a 20min. talkback.)