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Frequently Asked Questions: Enrollment in MPS
Frequently Asked Questions: Enrollment in MPS

Q: How old does my child have to be to attend school?
A: Children who are five years old on or before September 1st are eligible to enter kindergarten.

Q: What if my child is not five years old by September 1st and I still want him/her to attend school?
A: If your child will turn five between September 2nd and October 31st, your child is eligible for consideration for Early Admission to Kindergarten. Minneapolis Public Schools also has pre-kindergarten options.

Q: Do I have a better chance of getting into our first school preference if I apply early?
A: No. All request cards received by the February 4th deadline are treated equally.

Q: Is my child guaranteed acceptance into one of my requested schools?
A: Yes, if your child is entering kindergarten, you submit your request card by the Lottery deadline, there is sufficient classroom capacity (MPS Policy 5262) and one of your requested schools is your community school. If you select a school other than your community school, you are not guaranteed a space at that school. Families seeking placement for children in upper grades (1-8) will be assigned based on available space. There are no guarantees for community schools in upper grades, but you are promised a school in your busing area. 

Q: Does MPS offer half-day kindergarten?
A: No. Minneapolis Public Schools now offers all-day kindergarten at all elementary sites. Half-day kindergarten classroom options will no longer be available in MPS.

Q: Why did MPS switch to all-day kindergarten across all elementary sites?
A: We believe that an all-day kindergarten program is the best academic and social/emotional setting for most kindergarten-aged children. Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature approved funding for all-day kindergarten for school districts statewide.

Q: What if I believe my child is not ready to attend all-day kindergarten?
A: 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.

Q: Do we have to reapply to remain in the same school next year?
A: No. Once your child is enrolled in a school he/she is assured a space for each year of the grade levels in the school. This policy does not apply to High Five programs. Families with a child in High Five must complete a request card for enrollment in kindergarten.

Q: Who is a sibling and what is sibling preference?
A: All children living in the same household are considered siblings. To qualify for sibling preference, the older or younger sibling must be continuously enrolled in a school before the new sibling is granted preference at the same school. Sibling preference does not apply to students enrolled in city-wide special education or pre-kindergarten programs.

Q: How does sibling preference affect school request?
A: A family must have a child already enrolled at a school and must continue to be enrolled at that school to receive sibling preference. Requests for sibling preference are honored before other requests if there is space.

Q: If one of my children is in the school’s highest grade this year and I want my younger child to attend that school next year, does the younger child get sibling preference?
A: No. Both children must be attending the school at the same time for the younger child to enter that school with sibling preference.

Q: How can we improve our chances of getting into a particular school within our attendance area?
A: These things will help:
• Submit your online request by February 4, 2017; or if you will mail in your request card make sure it is postmarked by February 4, 2017.
• Apply when your child will be entering the youngest grade level offered by the school. This is the time when the most openings are available.
• List your preferred school first on the request card.
• Apply to your community school.

Q: What happens if my child does not get into our first school preference?
A: Your child’s name will be placed on a waiting list for that school, and will automatically be placed in your second school preference if space is available. If space opens up at your first school preference before or during the school year and your child’s name is next on the waiting list, you will be notified and given the opportunity to enroll your child in that school. The waiting lists expire September 30th of each school year unless your child has a sibling who attends that school or it is for high-five.

Q: What if my child is already enrolled in a school and wants to attend another school for the next school year?
A: Elementary, K-8, and middle school families must send in a new request card by March 5, 2016 in order to request a school change for the following year.

Q: What is an attendance area?
A: An attendance area is the geographic area around a school from which students are eligible to receive bus transportation to the school unless they are in the walk zone (live one-half mile or less from school). Magnet schools serve entire attendance zones encompassing many neighborhoods and communities, whereas community schools serve a smaller grouping of neighborhoods.

Q: Can I apply to a school outside of my attendance area?
A: Yes, but students who live within that school’s attendance area will be placed first and you will not receive busing. You must sign a transportation waiver agreeing to transport your child to and from school. If your first preference is outside your attendance area, it is strongly recommended that your second preference be in your attendance area.

Q: What type of childcare is available for elementary students?
A: Minneapolis Kids and Minneapolis Public Schools have partnered to provide Minneapolis Kids School Age Care sites on a year-round basis at various locations. There are also many private and public childcare programs throughout the city. See Minnesota Childcare: www.mnchildcare.org

Q: Who is eligible to ride a school bus?
A: Generally, an elementary school student is eligible for transportation if the student lives within the school attendance area and outside the school walk zone (one-half mile or less) from school. Middle school students who live within a school’s attendance area will receive bus transportation if they live more than one mile from the school.

Q: Can my child attend a school based on his/her daycare address rather than our home address?
A: School assignments are based on home address only. If the student is assigned to your preferred school, then you can request transportation to and from the daycare address if it is within the school's busing attendance area. You may request a school outside of your attendance area but priority placement will be given to those families who live within that school’s attendance area. If you live outside of a school’s attendance area but your daycare is located in the attendance area, you may be granted admission to the school if space remains after all attendance area requests are honored. Transportation is not provided to addresses (home or daycare) located outside of a school’s attendance area.

Q: My child has special needs. What services are available?
A: Minneapolis Public Schools offers a wide range of Special Education programs and services. If you have general questions about special education, please call 612.668.0673.

Q: What programs are available for advanced learners?
A: Most elementary schools offer talent development and academic programs for students who have been identified as advanced learners. Please contact individual schools about the specifics of their programs, or visit the Talent Development and Advanced Learner Education webpage.