An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

Mission and Values


Our mission—shaping the minds and the hearts of the people who will change the world—is a promise to our students and our families. It is intentionally ambitious so it will push us to be thoughtful about everything we do. It inspires us to be our best and reminds us that we have the responsibility to respect the unique potential in every child. There are literally thousands of decisions made every day by teachers, administrators and students. In sum, these decisions serve to define who and what we are. We ask everyone in our community to use our mission statement as a filter: is this decision in alignment with our mission?

The mission also sets a high standard for our students. We shape their minds by teaching them how to think clearly and creatively. We shape their hearts by teaching them how to be sensitive to the personal struggles of others. In the end, we open doors, show them pathways and support their passions. Then it is up to each of them to choose their direction, to apply their individual talents, and to embrace their potential.

Our mission gives us purpose. It represents our greatest aspirations and values. But most of all, it reflects our deep belief in the talents and capabilities of our students.

SPA's mission

Our mission statement was the focus of the spring 2014 issue of  SPA Magazine.


The SPA experience is shaped and defined by six core values: achievement, accountability, community, resilience, inventiveness, and passion

  • Achievement and academic excellence are at the center of what we do. Working hard toward a goal is deeply fulfilling for students of all ages. We believe the pursuit of excellence cultivates both the humility and genuine confidence students need to succeed in college and in their lives.
  • Accountability is one of our most important values because it is the foundation of our Accountable Classrooms. In our distinctive classroom settings, students learn to be accountable to their classmates and teachers by coming to class prepared and responding thoughtfully and constructively to the ideas of others; they become accountable to themselves by taking full advantage of the many opportunities afforded them, both in and out of the classroom.
  • Community: Parents and students describe a disarmingly warm and welcoming culture at SPA. Students are at the center of this culture, and even our youngest students are expected to act as accountable citizens of the larger community. This is possible because we give them meaningful, age-appropriate responsibilities that set the tenor for the school. Students reap the benefits of a supportive community but more importantly, they learn that they have an obligation to make the community better.
  • Resilience is a learned strategy for dealing with life’s inevitable frustrations and setbacks in the most productive manner possible. Students need to learn to see failure as a step towards success, never as an endpoint.
  • Inventiveness: Creative, original thought moves the world forward. It requires a mind capable of synthesizing the known into the new. But it also takes curiosity and courage to see the world in new ways and offer new ideas. We feel it’s vital to provide both the intellectual tools and the emotional support required to unleash creative minds.
  • Passion: Above all, SPA is a place where students learn the power and satisfaction of fully engaging in their learning and their community. Passionate, emotional engagement brings profound joy and better performance, whether in the classroom, on the stage, in front of an easel, or on the field of play.

Alumni/ae Living our Values:

Sera Markoff '89: Resilience

Carlton Calvin '79: Inventiveness

Uju Obi Berry '00: Community

F. Scott Fitzgerald '12: Achievement