Nissan Read Brown is a former South Minneapolis student who now attends Edina High after taking advantage of the Choice program. Brown told the African News Journal that without the Choice program she wouldn’t be able to seek a better school or the school of her choice. “The program gives me options,” she said.
Brown said that when she came to Edina high she noticed a big difference the way she thinks about education and life. “Students are motivated here and they tend to work harder, so it makes me work harder,” said the former South Minneapolis, 31st and Clinton area resident. She said that her experience at Edina High of other races other than her own African American heritage was a big plus. Something she encourages everyone to experience.
Speaking about the school, she said that she noticed more receptive and welcoming environment for all students from both the administration & the teachers. She said some people tend to think if you go to another school, you will face some difficulties since you are new to that school. “No, I never felt that way, it was a smooth transition,” she said adding, “Actually, I felt that I study here and I enjoyed my decision to come to this school.”
Brown said that the department of education is offering a good program, speaking about the ‘Choice of Yours’ program & many students like her would use this service but they may not know its existence.
What is more, Nissan said, that the program provides free transportation and other programs that supports students to improve.
She said many students feel being trapped into some certain conditions/schools and have no choice to seek other alternatives but this program provides that opportunity. She said she would like to ask the department of education to increase its promotional activities about this program toward minority communities.
“Schools were not prepared the influx of students from all over but over the years we got ready & trained,“ said Katy Kessler, Program Supervisor for Academic Support of Edina High School, speaking the greater response schools like Edina High received through this program. Kessler said the school had to allocate some resources. She said in this program, the schools also benefit, students come from all over, creates open enrollment to broaden the horizon.
The Choice is Yours is a school choice program for families qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches who live in the city of Minneapolis.
Families apply by January 15 for the following fall in order to have the best chance of being admitted to their school of choice. Through The Choice is Yours, families who enroll receive priority placement at the schools they choose, including magnet schools in the city as well as suburban schools.
Families in north Minneapolis may choose schools in the Minneapolis Public School District or in the following suburban districts: Columbia Heights, Hopkins, Robbinsdale, St. Anthony-New Brighton, St. Louis Park or Wayzata. Families in south Minneapolis can choose schools in the Minneapolis Public School District or in the Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Richfield or St. Louis Park school districts. The state of Minnesota provides transportation to the suburban schools. The Minneapolis Public School District provides transportation to city schools (according to school district policies on attendance zones and walking limits).