When it comes to education and schools in Minneapolis, parents will have plenty of choice. There are some good public schools in the city, the best of which are often charter or magnet schools. A number of private schools are also available.
As with the rest of the US, the Minnesota schooling system is divided into three levels:
Elementary school – Kindergarten to Grade 5
Middle school – Grade 6 to Grade 8
High school – Grade 9 to Grade 12
Public schools in Minneapolis
The majority of children in Minneapolis attend public schools, which are free to all children living in the city. Children attending public school will usually attend the nearest school within their district. However, they are permitted to attend a school outside their school district, provided there is space at that particular school.
There are a few charter schools in Minneapolis. These are independent public schools, operating on a performance-based contract with the local school district. While they are partially funded by the state, they have more flexibility in terms of their teaching style, policies and academic programmes. No fees are charged for charter schools and admission is open to all children provided there are available slots. If the demand for placements is greater than the school’s capacity, it is done via a lottery.
Like charter schools, magnet schools are state-funded. Each magnet school focuses on a specialised area, such as science, languages or the arts. In most magnet schools, attendance is determined by lottery, except where a certain level of ability must be demonstrated for admittance, such as in the case of music schools.
Private schools in Minneapolis
There are many private schools in Minneapolis that operate outside the public schooling system. Most of these offer a high standard of education. Class sizes are usually much smaller at private schools, affording more personalised interaction between students and teachers.
Admission to private schools can be more stringent and may include entrance exams and personal interviews. Competition for a place at private schools can be high, therefore, parents need to plan well ahead if they intend to send their child to one of these institutions.
International schools in Minneapolis
Although there are few international schools in Minneapolis offering foreign curricula, several public and private schools in the city offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. This globally focused curriculum is often preferred by expat parents because there are IB schools in most major expat destinations around the world, allowing for a relatively easy transfer between schools.
Special-needs education in Minneapolis
The Minnesota Department of Education caters well for children with disabilities or learning difficulties. There is an Individualised Education Programme (IEP) Team that assesses students to determine the level of support they need. Where possible, disabled students are accommodated in mainstream public schooling, and those whose disabilities are too severe for mainstream classrooms are accommodated in specialist facilities.
There are a variety of specialised schooling options in Minnesota that cater for a spectrum of unique needs, learning difficulties or various developmental, emotional and behavioural issues. While some of these schools are publicly funded charter schools, others are tuition-based private schools. Families who can’t afford to send their children to a private special-needs school can apply for financial assistance through various government programmes.
Tutors in Minneapolis
Whether a student needs to catch up in a particular subject or needs some help in preparing for their SATs exams, tutors can be a great solution.
The best place to start the search for a good private tutor is by asking around at the child’s school or talking to other parents. The alternative would be to utilise an established tutoring service. TwinCities Tutoring and Viking Tutors are both established and well respected tutoring companies in Minneapolis.
The additional support provided by private tutors allows students to address any gaps in their knowledge, progress in a certain subject area, or simply build confidence in a new environment.
►For information on finding a home in the Twin Cities, see Accommodation in Minneapolis
"In general, schools in Minnesota are very good. Of course, there are problems at schools in areas that are lower-income, but school ratings are published regularly so you can see which schools are getting good results, and which schools may need to do more. My husband has many teachers in his family, and they always say that good education begins in the home."
Check out our interview with Armenian expat Emma to learn more about living in Minneapolis.
Are you an expat living in Minneapolis?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Minneapolis. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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