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Comprehensive District Design (CDD): Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: November 25, 2020
 
Overview:
Starting next year in September 2021, Minneapolis Public Schools’ Comprehensive District Design (CDD) will begin implementing changes designed to deliver on MPS’ mission and vision of ensuring that every student receives a well-rounded education and graduates academically, socially, and emotionally prepared for success in college and career.
 
This means that starting next September, some students may need to transition to different schools than the one in which they are currently enrolled. Any student who will need to change schools should have received, or will be receiving, a letter/email from our Student Placement Office with details of this transition. 
 
To assist families in finding the best school option for their student, on December 5, MPS is hosting a Virtual School Request Kick-off.  
 
The kick-off will be followed by schools holding their own virtual open houses from December 7 to January 30. We encourage families to “attend” these virtual sessions so they can get more details about their school options.
 
Also starting on December 5, families can look up their school options based on their home address at our new enrollment website: www.exploremps.org. School requests received by February 7 will have the best chance of being met.  As always, students who attend their community school or magnet school options within their attendance area will receive MPS transportation. Families must provide their own transportation for their student if they attend a school outside of their attendance area.
 
Below are answers to frequently asked questions related to these upcoming school changes. Families can also review these overview of the CDD changes to MPS schools here: Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, and High Schools. 
 
NOTE FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS: Current high school students are not impacted by the CDD in terms of the school they attend. All current 9-11 grade students will stay in their current school next year. However, current 8th graders going into 9th grade next year will attend high school based on their attendance area or magnet program. 
 
Enrollment/Placement Questions
 
Q: How will families know if they need to change schools for fall 2021?
Students who are moving from elementary to middle or from middle to high school may have to change schools in Fall 2021. Any student who will need to change schools should have received or will be receiving a letter from our Student Placement Office with details of their school change. 
 
Current high school students are not impacted in terms of the school they attend. All current 9-11 grade students will stay in their current school next year. However, current 8th graders going into 9th grade next year will attend high school based on their attendance area or magnet programming. 
 
NOTE: School assignments noted in this communication do NOT impact this school year (2020-21)  if and when we return to in-person learning. They impact the NEXT school year, which begins in Fall 2021.
 
Q: Can families request any school? 
Yes, families may request any school, but students are only to be ensured a seat at their community school. Both a student’s community school and magnet options are based on a student’s home address. (After this transition year, home address will not impact placement at magnets.)  Placement in a students’ magnet options is based on submitting their school request by the school request due date: February 7, 2021. 
 
Placement in a magnet school is then based on the available seats and economic integration goals set out the by CDD. 
 
The best way for families to find out what their school options are is to look up their options based on their home address at our new enrollment website: www.exploremps.org. Our staff at the Student Placement Services are also available to help families by contacting them at 612.668.1840 or sps.department@mpls.k12.mn.us. 
 
If a family gets placed in a school for the 21-22 school year and move that same year, can they remain at the school they were assigned to?
 
Q: My family’s school is changing, but we want to stay at our current (2020-21) school? What can we do? Can we continue to attend our previous school even if we don’t live in the attendance area?
Families can submit a request for any MPS school; however, families who live within the attendance area of a community school or new citywide magnet schools (during this transition year) have the highest priority for being placed in those schools. 
That said, schools may have seats available to accommodate requests from families who live out of the attendance area. Once an “out-of-area” student is accepted in a school they will have a placement at that school. But it’s important to know that transportation is not provided for students who live outside the school’s attendance area, nor will that student necessarily get a seat in the middle or high school in that attendance area.
 
Q: I don’t want to go to my community school. What should I do? Who can I talk to? What were your transition rules when placing students for the first year of CDD implementation? 
You can see the detailed protocols here. 
 
Q: Why is home address a factor in placement in magnets if students receive transportation from anywhere in the city?
During the first year of CDD implementation, as magnets are repopulated based on CDD protocols, we want to ensure that students do not have over-long bus rides. For magnets with multiple sites, it just makes sense to place students as near to their homes as possible.
 
Q: Where will students who are homeless and/or highly mobile be placed?
Homeless and/or highly mobile students who have a stable home address before July 1, 2020, will have the opportunity to enroll in their community school based on their current address or apply for a magnet school. 
 
Students who are experiencing homelessness after July 1, 2020, will have the right to attend their last school attended, the pathway school from that school, or the school based on their current address. 
 

Q: What are my chances of getting into a community school outside my attendance area? 

The chances are different at every school and depend on many variables, for example the grade level, the number of requests received for that grade at that school, and whether it’s a community school or a magnet. The placement priorities such as whether the student has a sibling already attending the school, lives inside or outside the attendance area (for community schools), or inside or outside the city determine the student’s priority level in the lottery and on a waiting list.

 
Q: Do students who live outside Minneapolis and open enroll into MPS get seats ahead of MPS students?
No. Students who live in Minneapolis get priority placement in their community school or magnet options before any student who lives outside the district. At the same time, we are pleased to work with our open enrollment students in order to find the right school for them.
 
Q: Are any of the planned school changes being delayed because of COVID-19?
No. The planned changes to school programs under the CDD are proceeding on schedule.  
 
Q: Why didn’t my high school student receive a letter about their school next year?
Current high school students are not impacted by the CDD in terms of the school they attend. All current 9-11 grade students will stay in their current school next year. However, current 8th graders going into 9th grade next year will attend high school based on their attendance area or magnet programming. 
 
Q: Why are you going through with the CDD during a pandemic?  
We understand the trauma our families and students have endured throughout much of 2020. MPS staff have endured the same. Like our families and students, we are facilitating at-home learning while working from home. We’re caring for vulnerable family members. In some cases, we are dealing with the loss of someone close to us because COVID.
 
We empathize deeply but believe that the reason the CDD was created in the first place – years-long trauma for our students of color as the result of inequitable education – remains as urgent as ever, probably more so. The murder of Mr. George Floyd demonstrated just how urgent and deeply felt is that inequity.
 
Because of COVID, we’ve seen that students who are most vulnerable during the pandemic situation can ascribe some of that vulnerability to systems and practices that our school district has failed to address for decades. That includes, for example, adequate resources and staff to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of English-language learners, students with disabilities, or students experiencing homelessness.
Had the Comprehensive District Design been implemented earlier, our students and teachers would have been much better equipped to deal with the challenges posed by COVID-19 today. Not moving forward means maintaining disparities, and that is not acceptable.
Where will students in the One Way Dual Language (DDL) program be starting fall 2021?
All OWDL classes will be transitioned to a Dual Language program together to help keep their continued relationships (Green, Andersen, Jefferson) intact.
 
 
Community School Questions
 
Q: How will community schools be different under the CDD?
At MPS, we believe all students and families deserve strong schools in their communities regardless of home address or zip code. We also believe all community schools should reflect the culture and fabric of their home communities and celebrate the rich histories of their unique neighborhoods. 
To support this vision, we will be providing “STEM for All” where students in Kindergarten through 8th grade receive rich instruction that integrates key themes of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  
 
We are also committed to increasing access to advanced academic programs for students in all grades from kindergarten through 12th grade. Additional academic improvements include a new math curriculum as well as improved instruction in literacy, especially for our youngest learners. 
We will also be offering instrumental music instruction to students in 5th grade to prepare them for middle school. New to all community middle schools is the offering of the prestigious International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.
 
We are also focused on social emotional learning while building students’ skills to succeed in advanced coursework. Our new Climate Framework will help schools intentionally create cultures that embrace each individual and ensure schools are a place where students, families, staff and the community feel and experience a sense of belonging, safety, wellness, and respect.
 
Q: Will there be program changes at any of the high schools due to the CDD?
Starting with the class of 2025, students will need to take an elective in Ethnic Studies in order to graduate. MPS is excited to be offering electives in Ethnic Studies which will combine elements of many subject areas to deeply examine race and ethnicity, and how they have impacted us historically and still do today. 
Students will have the opportunity to talk about their own racial identity and gain a deep understanding of history that is centered around the experiences and cultures of people of color. Students will also learn how to approach history and current events with a critical eye.  Learning stories of joy, resistance, and resilience here in Minneapolis and around our country will give MPS students a more complete perspective on the world. 
A centralized Career and Technical Education program is planned at the high school level, but implementation is not scheduled for this next school year.
 
If our school is changing, can we still have the same programming by becoming a specialty school? For example, can we offer Montessori at Armatage or can Dowling still be an environmental school?
In fall 2021, school communities can apply to become a specialty school. Community schools that apply to become a specialty school will need to meet a set of expectations and requirements that are under development. 
 
Magnet School Questions
 
Q: What are the magnet options that will be offered and which schools will have these magnet programs?
Magnet programs will specialize in the Arts, STEM/STEAM, Spanish Dual Language Immersion, Montessori, and Global Studies and Humanities; locations and grade configurations are noted below. Please see www.exploremps.org for more information.
  • Arts magnets:
    • Bethune Arts Magnet serving grades PK-5
    • Marcy Arts Magnet serving grades K-5
    • FAIR High School for the Arts serving grades 9-12
  • STEM and STEAM magnets:
    • STEAM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, will be offered a is being offered at:
      • Franklin Middle School serving grades 6-8
      • Sullivan serving grades PK-8
    • STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, will be offered at:
      • Hall serving grades PK-5
  • Spanish Dual Language magnet:
    • Emerson serving grades PK-5
    • Green serving grades PK-5
    • Sheridan serving grades PK-5
    • Andersen United Middle School serving grades 6-8
  • Montessori magnet:
    • Seward Montessori which serves grades PK-5
  • Global Studies and Humanities magnet:
    • Jefferson which serves grades PK-8
Q: At Andersen, will the Dual Language students be in their own separate school housed within the building? Or is it going to be two separate programs? 
Andersen United will be one middle school hosting two programs -- a community school and a Spanish dual language program. 
 
Q: How did you place students in Green Central and why?
Students currently attending Andersen and Green’s one-way programs are automatically transitioned to Green. Students attending Windom are automatically transitioned to Green if they live in the eastern half of South Minneapolis, the Lyndale attendance area, or south of Minnehaha Creek in Southwest Minneapolis.
? The eastern half of South Minneapolis is closer to Green than to Emerson
? Green is physically located in the Lyndale attendance area
? Students living south of Minnehaha Creek would have extremely long bus rides if they were to go to Emerson. To prevent this, they are transitioned to Green despite living in Southwest Minneapolis
? Green cannot hold more students than this, so the rest of the Windom students in Southwest Minneapolis are automatically transitioned to Emerson. They can request Green or any other school if they want to.
 
Q: Will High Five students follow this transition attendance protocol?
Unfortunately, we are not able to automatically assign High Five students to magnet schools. Parents with current High Fivers at magnets wishing their students to continue there should submit a kindergarten request by the Feb 7 due date for the best chance of placement at that school. In order to assure that all of our current HIgh Five students have a school assignment for fall 21-22, any current High Five students who have not had a request turned in will be automatically placed at their community school based on their home address. 
 
Q: Are the dual language programs balanced for English and Spanish speakers? 
Yes. While the 50/50 balance is the ultimate goal, Spanish and English speaking groups can be split up to 70/30. As the transition for all current dual language programs (one-way, two-way, and transitional programs) is determined, it will be about a 60-65% Spanish language to 35-45% English split among student groups.
 
Q: Will magnet boundaries always exist or are they just for the transition year?
These boundaries will just be in place for the transition year. These boundaries are only for automatic transitions of current students. Students can still request any of the dual language magnets, regardless of where they live, during this request season and in future years.
 
Community Education/Minneapolis Kids Questions
 
Q: Are you still making decisions about Minneapolis Kids? My former school had Minneapolis Kids, but now my new school doesn’t. 
Yes, we are considering expanding Minneapolis Kids to additional sites. For a majority of sites without Minneapolis Kids, we are also looking at expanding our Youth Enrichment opportunities. Minneapolis Kids is the child care program provided through Community Education to MPS families on a sliding-fee scale. However, due to COVID-19, Minneapolis Kids must prioritize MPS-enrolled students of emergency and health care workers as declared by Governor Walz’s executive order.

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