Minneapolis Public Schools create draft plan for radical high school reform


Officials from the Minneapolis Public School district have unveiled a comprehensive plan for a radical restructuring and reform of its high schools.

A draft of the executive summary of the plan, which was authored by district superintendent Dr. Bill Green, Chief Academic Officer Bernadeia Johnson and Associate Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius, presents many changes that together would result in a radical reshaping of the district’s high schools and the amount of choice parents have about which schools they can send their children to.

Key parts of the proposal include the following:

—There would be three types of high schools: comprehensive neighborhood high schools with Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), College in the Schools (CIS) and Signature Career programming; smaller specialty high schools with specific career focuses; and “success” schools for students who need the highest level of academic help or social/emotional support.

—The neighborhood schools would be “free of disruption” because under the new plan students would receive “increased academic and behavior supports,” there would be “clear school-wide discipline plans” and students who needed intensive behavioral support would be placed in the new success schools.

—Students in ninth and tenth grades would be required to attend their neighborhood schools or a small specialty school, to which they would be bused. Within each school, the students would be organized into ninth- and tenth-grade “academies.”

—Students in eleventh and twelfth grades who choose to go to other schools or take courses elsewhere would get free transportation on MTC buses and light rail with an “MPS Scholar” pass.

—For safety reasons, all students would be required to wear a uniform and carry an ID.

—Schools would be open from 7 am to 8 pm and students would have flexible schedules, meaning they might not attend every day, or they might attend a seminar on a Saturday.

—Student/teacher ratios for classes in the neighborhood and specialty high schools would be 25:1 and in the success schools would be 12:1.

—All students would receive a laptop computer from the district.

—Students would not be allowed to fail. If they do not earn a “C” or higher, they would be given an incomplete.