Minneapolis Public Schools recently announced that it has come up with a plan to address increasing enrollment numbers in future years. Superintendent Dr. Bernadeia H. Johnson explains the plan in her Leader Letter from Sept. 24, 2013:
Dear MPS partners and friends,
We are pleased that more families are choosing the
Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) for their students’ education. Enrollment is
on the rise and the trend is projected to continue in future years. Our numbers
are expected to exceed 34,000 students this fall, which is an increase of about
600 students. We’ve experienced growing enrollment at the elementary level for
the past several years and are now seeing this growth in our middle and high
schools. This is the first increase at the high school level in over 10 years.
As we do each school year, MPS’ fall adjustment committee has been meeting each week to determine where more teachers and adult supports are needed to address class size in overcrowded classrooms. This committee includes representatives from MPS’ academic and operations divisions, as well as the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers.
MPS recently allocated almost $2 million to hire 42 staff members in order to address this year’s staffing needs. Additionally, in several schools where class size has significantly exceeded projected numbers, continuous enrollment for that grade has been suspended. This quick response means that over 90 percent of classrooms are within targeted class sizes and classes with a larger number of students have additional adults working with students to lower the staff to student ratios.
Moving forward, MPS has proposed a five-year enrollment plan to address increasing and changing enrollment across the city through academic transformation and facility planning. The plan is driven by proposed academic programs that will serve MPS’ growing and changing student population.
Highlights of the plan include: all-day kindergarten in each zone, early childhood expansion, individualized English Learner services and dual immersion expansion, a college preparatory program for first-generation college students, and opening several new educational programs including Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), career academies and an audition based performing arts school. Under the recommendations, 12 buildings will require renovations/additions.
The plan positions MPS to offer exciting and innovative academic programs in every area of the city. The recommendations were developed with students and families in mind, providing programs that our current and future students will need.
The recommendations were presented to the Board of Education this week and will be shared with the community this fall. Families, community members and staff members will have opportunities to learn about and provide feedback on the recommendations to better inform decision-making. The school board is planning to vote on the recommendations in November.
Again, we are pleased to see the growing enrollment in our schools. It continues to be a positive opportunity for MPS. We will continue to conduct enrollment planning on an ongoing basis in order to best meet student needs and plan for academic programs that will accelerate student learning.
Please visit the MPS website for more information about enrollment planning and details about the public listening sessions.
Bernadeia H. Johnson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
What do you think of the five-year plan? Tell us in the comments section below.