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Arts Magnet: A school where the core curriculum is intergrated and infused with the arts. Students' interest in core subjects is heightened through development of awareness and appreciation for the arts, Students develop performance skills in a variety of areas such as theater, dance, choir, band and visual arts.

Charter School: An independent public school that is authorized (sponsored) by a school district, university, the state or a non-profit organization. Charter schools operate under a contract with the authorizer and recieve per-pupil funding directly from the state. They are typically not part of a school district.

Community Partnership School: A school that has been granted increased autonomy over how their school operates, along with increased accountability. A Community Partnership School has developed a comprehensive plan outlining how they will use greater flexibility to meet the unique needs of their school community and increase student achievement.

Community School: A school that draws most of its students from the surrounding community, which is its attendance area. Community schools reflect the interestd of the families in the school. Attending a community school make it easier for families to be involved with their child's education, allows for shorter bus rides and encourages a sense of pride and community in the neighborhood. 

Culturally specific: Curriculum and activities are infused with culturally-enriched content. Programs inspire academic success by instilling in students a personal and collective pride in one’s culture.

Expanded Choice Option: Families who live in certain identified areas of the city with high concentrations of poverty and who qualify for free and/or reduced-priced lunch have the option to request certain identified schools that have a low concentration of poverty; transportation is provided.

High Five: A preschool program for children who turn 4 years old on or before Sept. 1 and will start kindergarten the following fall. Priority is given to children who are residents of Minneapolis and qualify for free or reduced-price meals or receive special education services, followed by those who submit school request cards by priority enrollment deadline. Students who are kindergarten age are not eligible for High Five.

International Baccalaureate (IB-PYP and IB-MYP): An accelerated program that stresses high academic achievement and the development of intellectual skills. Students experience a global education that integrates core curriculum with a holistic approach to learning. IB-PYP (Primary Years Programme) focuses on elementary years and IB-MYP (Middle Years Programme) is focused on sixth through tenth grades.

International Baccalaureate (IB-PYP and IB-MYP): An accelerated program that stresses high academic achievement and the development of intellectual skills. Students experience a global education that integrates core curriculum with a holistic approach to learning. IB-PYP (Primary Years Programme) focuses on elementary years and IB-MYP (Middle Years Programme) is focused on sixth through tenth grades

Spanish Dual Immersion School: A schools that provides a unique educational experience in which students master curriculum objectives and learn Spanish or English as their second language. Ideally, half of the students are native Spanish speakers and half are native English speakers. All students learn to speak, read and write well in both languages during their elementary years when languages are most easily learned and retained.

Magnet School: A diverse school with a distinct unifying principle or instructional delivery system that draws from a larger attendance area than a community school. Some magnets are organized around a philosophy of teaching, such as Montessori or Open schools; others use a theme to connect subjects, such as the arts, technology, language or the environment.

Middle School: Grades 6-8 are called the middle grades. Middle grades classrooms, whether they are located within a K-8 elementary school or a 6-8 middle school, offer academically challenging courses in the core subject areas as well as a broad range of exploratory courses.

Montessori School: A school where curriculum is taught within the framework of the Montessori tradition. The basis of Montessori practice in the classroom is mixed age groups, individual choice of research and work, and uninterrupted concentration. Differentiated lessons are delivered by the teacher (classroom guide) in small groups. Independence in the environment is promoted while the teacher is giving other small group lessons where students work independently (self discovery) and learn how to manage their time. Independent work is based on past lessons (practice).

Open School: A school that places high value on student academic choice in the learning environment. Much of the teaching is thematic with hands-on learning activities. Students work cooperatively in small groups.

Urban Environmental: Offers an integrated and thematic curriculum that emphasizes the environment and uses outdoor learning opportunities.


Attendance Zones & Areas: Minneapolis is divided into three large geographical zones. Zone 1, 2 and 3. Each zone includes multiple Attendance Areas, each of which has its own community school. Most magnets are available zone-wide with transportation, while several magnets cover more than one zone or parts of multiple zones.

Grandfathering: When school boundaries are changed or schools are reconfigured, students who are "grandfathered" can remain in their current school as long as they stay at the same address. If a family moves, they will lose their ability to remain in the same school with trnsportation. If space is available, they can remain in the school and provide their own transportation. Siblings of current students can receive out-of-area sibling preference. Siblings may take advantage of grandfather transportation if they are the same age or older than the sibling with grandfather privileges. If the sibling is younger, they may also ride the bus, but the parent must sign a transportation consent form which will indicate that they realize that they will likey not receive transportation after the oldest sibling transitions to the next school level.

Guaranteed Community School: This guarantee applies only for entering kindergarten students whose school request is submitted by the school request deadline, and only for the community school of the attendance area in which the student resides. While Student Placement makes every effort to grant all school requesta, due to students moving forward from one grade to the next, space cannot be guaranteed beyond kindergarten. Students requesting grades higher than kindergarten at their community school will be given priority ovr students who live outside the attendance area.

Open Enrollment: State law allows students to attend a school outside of the school district in which they live (if they live outside of Minneapolis and want their child to attend a school at Minneapolis Public Schools or if they live in Minneapolis and want their child to attend a public school outside of Minneapolis). There must be space in the school they are requesting and transportation must be provided by the family unless they qualify for The Choice is Yours Program.

Pathways: Because stability and relationships are important to middle school students, we’ve set up pathways from elementary school to middle school. Middle school attendance boundaries based on elementary school attendance areas. This establishes a clear and consistent “pathway” to middle schools. Students move on to middle school with the majority of the same group of students they have known since kindergarten.


Curriculum mapping: Each teacher provides a curriculum map at the beginning of the year, term or grading period outlines:
• Major learning objectives to be addressed and that essential questions to be answered in each unit
• Major concepts and skills to be learned and integrated across more than one subject
• Major assignments/projects required and when they are due

Responsive Classroom: Many middle grades programs use the Responsive Classroom program in their advisory periods. It is a nationally recognized program that helps students learn about respect, listening skills and how to express their ideas.


Several schools have the following special programs or features listed within their school description. For more detailed information about how the program affects learning for students, please call the individual school.

Advisory: A regularly scheduled time when middle grade students have opportunities to build relationships, student-tostudent and student-to-adult, and address adolescent-related topics and issues.

Computer Curriculum Corporation (CCC) Lab: This computer-assisted instructional program offers courses in the basics (math, reading and spelling) as well as problem-solving and higher-order thinking skills in math, reading and science. The program evaluates a student’s present performance and begins instruction at that level and moves the student up to higher levels as he/she is ready to progress.

Gifted Catalyst Program: This program targets the early primary years (grades K-2) as a key time to purposefully recognize and develop strengths and talents in all students, a practice supported by research. Through its complex thinking and open-ended curriculum, the Gifted Catalyst Program also provides appropriate challenges for gifted/talented K-2 students. The program promotes literacy, supports increased achievement levels and promotes equal access to gifted/talented services for all students.

Looping: Student/teacher teams remain together for at least two and often three of the three-year middle grades experience. This practice promotes more personalized attention, time to build solid relationships among members and a strong sense of community.


Multi-age Classroom: Students of different grade levels are in the same classroom.

National Science Foundation Grant Supported School: Through a five-year K-8 National Science Foundation Grant, schools get extra attention from science resource teachers to help them use hands-on science curriculum. In year, one-third of our teachers used science kits in their classrooms. Today, 95 percent of teachers use science kits to provide students with hands-on science instruction. The grant also supports school science leaders and provides professional development opportunities.

Quality Performance Awards: Quality Performance Awards are presented to schools that meet or exceed their school improvement performance goals. MPS uses a comprehensive set of indicators to determine eligibility for the awards and individual schools complete an extensive written application.


If you have questions about the enrollment process, please contact us at sps.department@mpls.k12.mn.us or call us at 612.668.3700 or 612.668.1840. 

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