Most 8th-graders get first-choice high school

But nearly 10 percent shut out of top three choices

Nearly three-quarters of Minneapolis Public School 8th-graders received their first choice among high school small learning communities for the '03-'04 school year, according to preliminary district figures reported March 25.

Small learning communities are 37 academic groups of 30-150 students that stay together throughout high school. This is the second year for SLCs and the second year that all students must apply for admission. Students can select up to three choices. Any city student can select any SLC, except the ones that each high school designates for its attendance area only.

According to district figures, 74 percent of students received their first-choice SLC. The district did not release figures on how many students received second and third choices.

In round one advisors review applications from students designating a particular SLC as their first choice. Seven SLCs filled in the first round. The Open SLC at South High, 3131 19th Ave. S., received the highest number of applications in the district, with 310 applications for 175 spots.

The International Baccalaureate SLC at Southwest, 3414 W. 47th St., will most likely be the largest SLC in the District, receiving 279 applications for 200 spots.

Other SLCs that filled in the first round:

  • South Liberal Arts (240 applications for 175 spots);

  • Washburn Aviation and Aerospace (104 applications for 87 slots);

  • Washburn Travel and Tourism (102 applications for 87 slots);

  • Washburn International Studies (88 applications for 87 slots);

  • Washburn Health and Human Services (29 applications for 29 spots).

    Overall, 25 SLCs received applications for more than half their slots, while 12 SLCs received applications for less than half their available seats.

    The District saw a 20 percent increase in applications overall from last year. North High School, 1500 James Ave. N., saw the highest increase in applications, up by 131 from a year ago. Applications to South, Southwest and Washburn increased by less than 20 per school.

    Most SLCs populated by students from Southwest Minneapolis saw about the same number of applications, though Southwest's Spanish Dual Immersion program fell from 115 to 57 applications this year.

    Shut out

    Approximately 280 of the more than 3,000 applicants did not receive any of

    their choices. Some of those applications were incomplete, included inappropriate choices or all three choices were filled in the first round. Ginny Craig, a district administrator for the SLC choice process, believes that families must make wiser choices to get into at least one of their chosen SLCs.

    “We'll have to paint a scenario for parents to show them what happens when they choose three popular SLCs,” Craig said. “Some families were surprised to find out that their second- and third-choice SLCs didn't see their application” because they were already filled.

    For example, a student who chose South Liberal Arts first, Southwest IB second and Washburn Travel and Tourism third, could be shut out from all three SLCs after not gaining admittance to Liberal Arts because both IB and Travel and Tourism filled during that same round.