Strengthening schools to increase enrollment
For the fourth year in a row, there are more students attending Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) than the year before. At more than 35,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12, MPS is severing the highest number of students we have seen in nearly a decade.
We project how many students will enroll each school year based on census data, enrollment trends and other key factors. As the Star Tribune reported on Oct. 18, we originally projected that many more students would enroll in MPS this year than actually did.
This is significant because MPS receives funding from the legislature for each new student that enrolls in our school district – about $5,807 per student. Even though enrollment increased this year, we have fewer students than we expected, so we need to adjust our budgets at the central office to accommodate the change.
We receive state funding based on our official annual enrollment numbers, which are determined by the number of students attending school on Oct. 1. Because this official number was measured just earlier this month, we are still determining the best way to make budget adjustments without negatively impacting students or schools.
We do not take this lightly. We are working to be more accurate in our predictions and to increase enrollment through careful research and recruitment, as well as strengthening our academic programs.
We know that about 20,000 Minneapolis students attend charter schools, private schools and schools in other school districts. There are also fewer students living in other school districts who chose to attend MPS schools this year. We are supporting our schools with low or declining enrollment with resources and training so that we can bring back some of these students. When we tell the stories of the positive educational opportunities and outcomes that are happening in our school district, we will be able to encourage some of those students to return.
We also recognize that the learning experiences that students have in our schools offer the best way to attract new students and retain the students who are already enrolled. We know this because of schools like Patrick Henry High School, which was recognized this week by Governor Dayton and First Lady Michelle Obama for its significant progress in closing the achievement gap and increasing student proficiency and graduation rates, among other successes.
Every child deserves a great education, and MPS offers excellent programs to serve all of our students’ needs. Our schools are places where many families are proud to send their children. We remain committed to our efforts to accelerate achievement in every school, tell our positive stories and continue to earn and retain the trust and confidence of the families we serve.
Five-year enrollment plan aims to create 4,800 student seat
The Minneapolis Board of Education in December 2013 voted to approve the school district’s five-year enrollment plan that strengthens schools through enrollment strategies. The plan will create an additional 4,800 student seats districtwide through fall 2018.
“This is an exciting time for Minneapolis Public Schools,” said Dr. Bernadeia Johnson, superintendent of schools. “Our schools are growing and our five-year enrollment plan will allow us to serve more students while strengthening academic programs districtwide. This is great news for the school district and the city.”
Under the plan, five new schools will open: Cooper (3239 44th Ave. S.), Cityview (3350 N. 4th St.), Webster (425 NE 5th St.), Wilder (3345 Chicago Ave. S.) and Franklin (410 15th Ave. N.). Building additions or renovations will create additional space at Sanford, Southwest and Seward.
The plan also strengthens zone-specific and district-wide pathways; provides a stronger foundation for schools in neighborhood communities; and strengthens magnet and IB programs, arts and world language offerings through additional financial resources to adequately support program development and implementation. Additionally, the plan expands services in areas such as early childhood, new-to-country student support and providing Go-To bus passes for out-of-district students attending undersubscribed high schools.
Previous versions of the plan were presented to the school board and community in September and November. MPS heard input from over 1,400 people through community Listening Sessions and emails during the development of the recommended plan and made revisions to the multiple versions based on community feedback. Additional community engagement will be ongoing throughout each year of the plan’s implementation.