Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When Minneapolis students had back to class a week from Monday, the district will experience something it hasn’t in more than a decade – a spike in the number of high school students attending Minneapolis Public Schools.
For the first time since 2001, enrollment district-wide will be more than 34,000 students – nearly more than 400 than last year.
“In the past we saw a big drop off around the middle school years and into high school with families moving out of the city and into the suburbs,” Director of Enrollment Ryan Fair said.
He attributes the rise to a housing market and economy that’s still recovering.
“Families are not able to move out of the city as easily, as well as afford private school,” he said.
Fair said it also has to do with the district’s rigorous academic programs.
“Southwest is the number one high school in the state and we’re very proud of that,” Fair said. “This past year we had 700 families applying for the school and we have about 415 seats available, so that shows you the demand.”
Washburn and South High will see more students too, despite several high profile incidents that put the schools in the headlines.
At Washburn, its newly hired principal Patrick Exner was let go over test-tampering allegations at his previous school.
“It brings about definitely a lot of negative perception of our schools, but I think that inside our schools is definitely a very different story,” South High Senior Amirah Ellison said.
Fair said that a former Washburn graduate will be attending Yale this fall.