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Questions and Answers

The following frequently asked questions provide families with important information on the school enrollment process and the program options available to students. Topics covered include:

Pre-School and Early Childhood

High Five is offered in 27 MPS community and magnet schools, and is for children who will turn four by Sept 1, 2023. Three School, offered at two MPS school locations, is for children who will turn three by Sept 1, 2023. To learn more about eligibility and locations, visit the Early Childhood Department website. Placement in either of these preschool programs can be requested at the ExploreMPS.org request site.
Children who turn five on or after September 1 are not eligible for High Five, and should enter Kindergarten. If you are concerned that your child is not developmentally or academically ready, please contact Early Childhood or ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) for guidance. If your child is too young for one of the preschool programs, please reach out to Early Childhood for ideas and guidance finding age-appropriate preschool or childcare.

All High Five students currently attending their community school based on their home address will be automatically assigned to that school's kindergarten. 

High Five students at most MPS magnets will be automatically enrolled in that school’s kindergarten. This website will be updated after December 15, 2022 with a list of magnet schools where students will be automatically assigned to that school's kindergarten.

Parents interested in requesting kindergarten at a school other than their community school or a magnet school listed above should submit a request between November 16, 2022, and February 7, 2023.

MPS Offers Three School for children who will turn three by September 1. This program is available at Lyndale Community School and Mona Moede Early Learning Center.

Kindergarten

Children who turn five after September 1 through October 31, 2023 are eligible for consideration for Early Admission to Kindergarten.
MPS supports a smooth transition to kindergarten. We are happy to work with families to address any hesitations regarding children beginning an all-day kindergarten program. Contact Early Childhood Education at 612-668-2140 for more information

High School Selection

Your student is guaranteed a spot at the community high school for your attendance area. Only a small number of out-of-area placements are done at community elementary, middle and high schools. Other high school options include our citywide high school magnet program, FAIR School of the Arts, and MPS Contract Alternative Programs.

We encourage all students completing 8th grade at a 6-8 middle school or K-8 magnet to submit a high school request, but if they do not, they will be assigned automatically to their community high school based on their home address. If they do not live in the attendance area of the community middle school they are currently attending, they will not pathway to that school’s pathway high school but to their community high school.

The exception to address-based pathways is for students at the English/Spanish Dual Language program at Anwatin who will automatically pathway to the Dual Language program at Roosevelt.

A Go-To Card is a prepaid Metro Transit bus fare card for students. Students can use their Go-To Cards for unlimited rides on city buses and light rail to and from school. Cards can also be used after school hours for other student activities. Students requiring special needs busing will still be eligible for district transportation.
We do not maintain high school waiting lists. If your student does not get a spot at your top requested school and you believe there is information we should know that might change this outcome, such as a health or safety concern, please communicate with the Student Enrollment team.

The following are citywide schools and programs:

  • Contract Alternative Schools
  • FAIR High School for the Arts • Heritage Academy
  • Minneapolis Academy and Career Center (MAAC)
  • MPS Online School
  • Spanish Dual Language
  • South All Nations program at South High School

General Enrollment Questions

You can request up to three schools. We encourage you to request either your community school based on your address, or a citywide magnet, or a combination of these. If you submit your request by the initial due date of February 7, you will have the best chance of getting a spot at your first requested school. Visit the school finder at ExploreMPS.org to learn your school options and submit your online school request.

The Minneapolis Public Schools district is divided into attendance areas, each having its own community school (elementary, middle and high school). All students living inside a community school’s attendance area boundaries are eligible to attend that school with district provided transportation, unless they live inside the school's designated walk zone. Transportation is provided via a school bus, or a Go To Pass for high school students. Some community schools have a theme or academic focus area, but they are designed to have general appeal and provide excellent quality instruction across all content areas.

Magnet schools are ‘citywide’ because they are a request option for students throughout the city of Minneapolis, and any Minneapolis resident student placed there who lives outside the school’s walk zone is eligible for bus transportation. Magnets are also different in that they offer a specific theme such as Arts, STEM or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), English-Spanish Dual Language instruction, Global Studies and Humanities, or Montessori. This additional focus on a specific subject or style of teaching (as with Montessori) are infused across all content areas to provide excellent quality instruction using the magnet focus as a teaching and curriculum theme.

Placement in magnets is based on the new magnet placement priorities approved as part of the Comprehensive District Design approved by the MPS School Board in June 2019. Priorities include (in order of weight):

A. Students who live within a half-mile radius of the school;

B. Students with siblings already attending the school who will continue to be enrolled at the same school;

C. Students who do or do not qualify for Educational Benefits, depending on the school’s projected balance of students who qualify for Educational Benefits; and

D. Students who are experiencing homelessness.

If you do not request your community school, we will not know that you are interested in having your child attend there. Placement is guaranteed for all community school requests received by the February 7 due date.

When you complete your school request form (online or paper request), you will have the option to include up to three schools. We strongly recommend that you list your community school as one of your choices. The following guidance may be helpful:

  • If you are only interested in your community school and you are requesting before the February due date, you do not need to list any other schools. (Please be sure to confirm that the school you are requesting is the correct community school for your child’s home address).
  • If you decide that one of the magnet options is your most desired school for your child, you should indicate that as your first choice. If you second choice is your community school, you should indicate that as your #2 choice and you do not need to list a third choice.
  • If there are two magnet schools you are interested in more than your community school, you should list them as your #1 and #2 choices and you should list your community school as your third choice.

No, all requests submitted by the lottery due date are considered "on time". We encourage you to use the time before the due date to take advantage of all opportunities to learn more about your school options:

  • ExploreMPS.org website school descriptions
  • Explore Now MPS schools guidebook
  • Take school tours and attend open houses
  • Attend the Minneapolis School Finder Fair January 7, 2023
If your child is currently enrolled in an MPS school, please let your school office know as soon as possible so they can update your child's information in the Student Information System and reach out to the Enrollment Department as your move could change your school options and your address-based priorities.

All children living in the same household are considered siblings. To qualify for sibling preference, the older or younger sibling must be currently enrolled (and still enrolled during the year for which the request is submitted) in a school. Sibling preference does not apply to students enrolled in citywide special education or pre-kindergarten programs.

Siblings living in separate households are also eligible for sibling preference.

Placements for all students with F1 and J1 visas are centrally managed and individual schools cannot guarantee enrollment. Interested J1 agencies must begin the enrollment process with the Enrollment Department.

J1 Visas

J-1 Visas are for high school age Foreign Exchange students enrolling through a registered International Exchange Organization. They may enroll in U.S. public schools for a maximum of 12 Months. J1 students are welcome to participate in graduation events but cannot receive a diploma.

Exchange Agencies are required to be registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State's office and to follow CSIET recommendations and be on CSIETs Advisory List of approved organizations. This is for the protection and well-being of students and host families.

Placement of students enrolling in MPS with a J1 visa are subject to the attendance area boundaries of the host family. For example, if the host family's address is in the Henry High attendance area, Henry would be the school of enrollment offered to the exchange student.

Important Application Windows & Deadlines

  • The application window for J1 enrollment for Semester/Term One and Full Year is from April 1-May 30.
  • The application window for J1 enrollment for Second Semester/Term only is Sept. 15-Nov. 15.

F1 Visa Information

Who can apply for an F-1 Visa:  

  • Foreign students entering in grades 9-12
  • Students entering grades 9-12 between the ages of 15 to 20 at the time of enrollment

Who cannot apply: 

  • Students entering in grades Pre-K-8 
  • Students who already have a diploma in the country of origin
  • U.S. citizens or legal residents and Immigrants or refugees residing in the U.S.

Duration of an F-1 Visa

  • Maximum stay – One Year
  • Minimum stay – One Quarter

F-1 Visas are for International Students. They may enroll in U.S. public schools for a maximum of 12 Months and are required under federal law to pay tuition. 

Please be advised that in recent years students applying for U.S. visas frequently experience extensive delays. Unfortunately MPS has no control over this process, but recommends applying as early as possible to allow ample time for your US Visa to be issued.

Tuition Information: Please contact the P/DSO regarding current tuition requirements. Please note we are only able to accept Cashiers or Certified check drawn on a US-based bank for tuition payment. Unfortunately we are not able to provide refunds and can only return the check un-cashed if the student does not arrive within 15 days from the start of school.

              Steps to enrolling an international student obtaining an F-1 Visa:

              1) Visit studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students for specific guidance and details from the official US Government website for International Students.

              2) After completing steps above, the host parent meets with MPS DSO (US Designated School Official) to Complete the I-20 information form, Submit the tuition payment (required prior to creation of I-20, see below for tuition procedures) and receive an original, signed I-20 from from the District PDSO or DSO

              3) Host parent mails the original I-20 form to the student in their home country. The student brings the I-20 to their local U.S. consulate to obtain the F-1 Visa. Please note this stage of the process can be quite long. Please see details on the  website above in step 1.

              4) The student submits payment electronically of the I-901 SEVIS fee SEVIS (FMJFee.com) when applying in the home country.

              5) Once the host parent knows the student’s arrival date, they can make an appointment with the Enrollment Department. Travel delays are unfortunately very common in this process. We can hold a confirmed students spot up to 15 days after the start of school.

              6) Once the student arrives in Minneapolis, the student/host family must contact the Enrollment Office within three business days to schedule a prompt in-person visit to the Enrollment Center with the students passport & visa to officially register through US -SEVIS.  This is a requirement of the US visa process. At this appointment the student will have an English language proficiency assessment and receive a school placement.

              Additional F1 Information

              • The application window for F1 enrollment for Semester/Term One and Full Year is from March 1-June 15.
              • The application window for F1 enrollment for Second Semester/Term only is September 15-November 30.
              • Students who meet credit requirements for graduation may receive an MPS High School Diploma.
              • If an F1 student will travel outside the U.S. during the school year, the host family and student must bring their 1-20 to the DSO to sign the travel section of the I-20 to approve reentry to the United States.
              • F-1 student and their families are responsible for maintaining the student’s legal status. Please visit Study in the States for more information.

              B1 Visa Information 

              Holders of B-1 and B-2 visas generally cannot enroll into any K-12 public school in the U.S.  All Non-Immigrant Visas are regulated by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).

              Minor children of adults who are in the U.S. on a B1 visa for work, study or medical care may be enrolled in a public school.

              Requesting an Out-of-Area Community School

              While you can submit a request for any Minneapolis Public Schools school, only a small number of out-of-area placements are made at community schools. Additionally, students who are placed at out of area community schools are not eligible for transportation to their home address.
              MPS does not provide transportation to or from an out-of-area home or childcare address. If your child is enrolled in an out-of-area community school, transportation would be provided only to or from an address (such as a childcare) within the school’s attendance area.
              If your child is attending an out-of-area community elementary school, you would need to submit a request (by the due date during their 5th grade year) for that school’s pathway middle school. A small number of out-of-area placements may be done at each community school (including middle and high schools). The same is true for students transitioning from middle to high school.
              While you will not be required to un-enroll your child from a school they have already been placed at or enrolled in, they will not be eligible for transportation and will not pathway with their peers to middle or high school if your new address is outside the middle school’s or high school’s) attendance area boundary.

              Waiting Lists and Transfers

              Every magnet school request we receive is entered into our enrollment system, which assigns each request a ‘priority weight’ that is the accumulated total of all the priorities that apply to the request. When we run the placement lottery, we place as many students as possible to fill the open seats at that school. Students who remain on the list after the lottery make up the waitlist. Students stay on the list in priority order. Priorities include:

              • Whether the student lives in the city (resident or non-resident)
              • Whether the student lives inside the school’s attendance area (in-area or out-of-area)
              • Whether the student has a sibling already attending the school who will still be there during the school year for which placement is being requested
              • Whether the student lives a half mile or less from the school (for magnets only)
              • Whether or not the student qualifies for Educational Benefits (Free or Reduced Price Lunch)

              Every community school request we receive is entered into our School Enrollment System, which assigns each request a ‘priority weight’ that is the accumulated total of all the priorities that apply to the request. When we run the placement lottery, we place as many students as possible to fill the open seats at that school. We anticipate being able to honor all community school requests when the student’s own community school is requested, so no student should need to be added to a waiting list for their own community school.

              Out-of-area community school requests are not necessarily maintained on a waiting list if they are not able to be honored in the initial or second lottery.

              A small number of out-of-area requests may be honored in the first lottery, and students will not be added to the waiting lists for out-of-area community schools, however, lists of un-placed students are retained.
              In general, students may be placed from waitlists through the first month of the school year. Waitlists for High Five, and sibling preference remain active through May 1 of the school year for which the request was submitted.
              Students can be on one waitlist. If your first requested school is a magnet and your child does not get placed at that school in the lottery, your child will be added to that school’s waitlist. If we are able to honor your second or third listed school, your child can remain on the waitlist for the first requested school.
              No. If a student requested a spot in 3rd grade at Apple School but didn’t get in, if they wish to try for Apple School again for 4th grade, a new request for 4th grade at Apple School would need to be submitted.
              Continuity and stability for students are very important for students’ academic success, and we discourage mid-year school changes in most cases. If you are unhappy with your school or an aspect of your child’s education, it is important to bring your concerns to your child’s teachers and school leaders before requesting a transfer. Most issues can be successfully resolved at school.
              If you are unhappy with your school or an aspect of your child’s education, it is important to bring your concerns to your child’s teachers, school social worker and school leaders before requesting a transfer. Most issues can be successfully resolved at school. If a transfer is needed, your school social worker will work with the district Special Education department regarding the possibility of available openings in a similar program elsewhere in the district.

              MPS Online School

              In March of 2020, school districts across the country responded to the Covid 19 pandemic by shifting to distance learning as their mode of education when children could not attend school in-person. Through doing this, districts have learned we can provide high quality education online, and that many families prefer this option. In response, beginning in the 2021-22 school year, MPS expanded our 9-12 alternative school to the K-12 MPS Online School. Once students are enrolled, they stay until they graduate or request a move to an in-person school for the following school year.
              MPS Online isn’t technically a magnet school, but it functions like one in that it has a unique method of curriculum delivery (online), and is accessible to all students in the district equally as long as there are openings. While we do prioritize Minneapolis residents, the MPS Online School’s attendance area includes the state of MN and we are glad to welcome students from throughout the state.
              While we don’t recommend midyear transfers, if a transfer from the MPS Online School is necessary due to changes in family circumstances, the Enrollment Department will work with you to identify an in-person school option.

              Second Lottery

              A second lottery will be run in early spring for magnets only. Magnet school requests that could not be honored in the first lottery and requests received between Feb 8 and April 4 will be included in a second school placement lottery. Please see the school request timeline for more details.
              The process to request a school is always the same. You can submit a request online or if you need assistance, you can contact Student Enrollment at SPS.Department@mpls.k12.mn.us or call 612.668.1840.
              No, the second lottery is only for magnets. If you request your community school, the Enrollment Team will work to process your request as quickly as possible. If there is capacity at your community school, you will receive a placement notification letter by either mail or email. In some cases, you may be required to submit proof of address.
              You can submit a request for any school at any time. If you request your community school, we will try to place right away, and if you request a magnet school before April 4, your request will be entered in the lottery. Community requests are honored on an ongoing basis, and magnet requests are honored as openings allow.

              Families are welcome to submit a request at any time, but magnet requests received by the February 7 and April 4 due dates are included in the initial and second placement lotteries.

              Magnet requests received after April 4, are made based on priorities and openings. If we are not able to honor your magnet request at the time of submission, your child’s name will remain on a waitlist for that school through the end of September of the school year for which you have requested placement, and we will work with you to identify a placement option for your child.

              Having a second due date and lottery gives more families an opportunity to participate in the school request and lottery process. It also gives us a tool to move continuously toward the district's goal of economic diversity in our magnet schools. We do this by holding out a percentage of magnet seats when we do the first lottery, then prioritizing requests for the second lottery based on whether the school has more or fewer students who qualify for Educational Benefits (Free or Reduced Price Lunch).

              Childcare

              Minneapolis Kids is the childcare program provided through Community Education to MPS families on a sliding-fee scale. A list of locations can be found on the Minneapolis Kids website.
              If your child will need to attend childcare before or after school, and your childcare is not in your home attendance area, a magnet school may be the best solution for you as all magnets now provide citywide bussing.
              Understanding the school enrollment process is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
              Answers to frequently asked questions: PK-8th Grade
              Answers to frequently asked questions: High School
              Contact Us

              English : 612.668.1840
              Español: 612.668.3700
              Soomaali: 612.668.3700
              Hmoob: 612.668.1840

              8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
              sps.department@mpls.k12.mn.us

              1250 W. Broadway Ave.
              Minneapolis, MN 55411