MPS handles registration rush before school year

Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders Leah (center) and Meghan (left) talk with Fawsiya Maow and her son Ismail Abdulqadir at the Minneapolis Public Schools' New Families Center on Wednesday.

Hundreds of families have been enrolling in Minneapolis Public Schools these past two weeks, as the district prepares to start classes Monday.

The district has been registering about 200 students a day over the past two weeks and has registered about 1,600 since Aug. 1, Student Placement Supervisor Martha Swanson said. All told, the district expects to register about 2,000 by the time school starts next week.

MPS will welcome about 36,000 students back to school next week. Most had already registered as of this month, but some hadn’t yet done so.

Director of Enrollment Management and Student Placement Services Bryan Fleming said some families are new to city, state or country and that others have uncertain living situations. A small percentage of families haven’t made their final selections yet, he added.

The district generally has openings in all grades across the system, Fleming said, though some high-demand schools do have waiting lists. It will be launching a protocol in the first week of school to confirm student counts, he said.

Two placement offices

MPS has two offices at which it places students, one in the northern half of Minneapolis and the other in the southern half. The center at which Swanson works has a focus on families whose first language isn’t English, employing many staff who speak multiple languages.

Staff there assess the students’ proficiency in English, take their education and health histories and help families find schools that are the right fit.

Swanson said that the liaisons at the center can connect families with housing, health and employment resources. Family and Community Liaison Awo Mohamud said families’ emotions range from excitement to nervousness when they are registering for school. She, too, noted the resources beyond school registration that the center provides families.

“A lot of people think that when they come here they’re just coming for schooling,” she said. “But then they figure out there’s a lot of other things we can help them with.”

The Minnesota Vikings helped the district with its fall-rush campaign this week, sending cheerleaders to the New Families Center and the Student Placement Center on Wednesday and Thursday. Fleming thanked the Vikings for their help conveying the messages that school is starting and that school attendance is key to lifelong success.

School begins for most MPS students on Monday and on Wednesday for kindergarten, pre-K and early-childhood students. Visit mpls.k12.mn.us/b2s for more back-to-school information.