2020-21 Frequently Asked Questions

  • Applications and Enrollment

    What happens if I submit more than one application?
    Your school choices from the last application submitted are used for enrollment processing. 

    If we decide to apply to a different school, will my child lose their place at their current school?
    Your child will not lose placement at their current school simply by applying to a new one, but they may lose their spot once they are accepted to a new school. 

    If you change your mind about leaving your current school, you will need to decline the acceptance of your new school. Notify the Student Placement Center by the date listed on the acceptance notification. Please note there may no longer be space available to return to your previous school.

    Can my child attend the elementary school nearest to our daycare rather than our Area school?
    Yes, parents who want their child to attend school near their daycare can apply to a school located within the same Area. Acceptance is not guaranteed, however. 

    Can families who do not live in Saint Paul apply to Saint Paul Public Schools?
    Yes. Under Minnesota’s Enrollment Options statute, families can apply to PreK-12 schools that are not located in their home school district. Space availability and school district policies still apply. 

    How can we improve our chances of getting our child into a particular school?
    Two suggestions to improve your chances include:

    1. Apply by the priority application deadline.
    2. Live within the school’s identified boundary in order to receive priority over students who apply from outside the specified Area. Community, regional and district attendance Areas (A-F1/F2) are not based on geographic proximity to a school. See the District map to see in which Area you live. Please note that space availability and other school district, and state policies, may limit enrollment in a particular school.

    Do I have a better chance of getting into my first-choice school if I apply earlier than the deadline?
    No. All applications received by the priority deadline are treated equally. 

    Is my child guaranteed acceptance to one of my school choices listed on the application?
    No. Many schools receive more applications than they can accept. If your school choices typically have limited space or receive a large number of applications, your chances of being accepted to one of those schools are reduced. 

    What if we apply after the priority application deadline?
    Saint Paul Public Schools enrolls students throughout the school year. Meeting the priority application deadline is simply the best way to increase your chances of getting into your preferred school. The Student Placement Center is open year-round and works with families to help them choose schools. To schedule an appointment, call the Student Placement Center at 651-632-3760. 

    How old does my child have to be to attend school?
    Children who are five years old on or before September 1, 2020, are eligible to attend kindergarten during the 2020-21 school year. Children must be four years old on or before September 1, 2020, to qualify for the pre-kindergarten program during the 2020-21 school year.

    If I live in Saint Paul, is my child guaranteed a spot at a Saint Paul Public School?
    Yes, space is guaranteed for Saint Paul students in kindergarten through grade 12. The Student Placement Center works with families to find a place for every Saint Paul student. When Pre-K classes are full, a waiting list is created and families are contacted when, and if, a spot becomes available.

    Do I have to verify my address?
    You may be asked to verify your address to help us coordinate enrollment eligibility and bus transportation. Verification materials can include but are not limited to state-issued ID or driver’s license and a utility bill in the parent/guardian’s name at the address listed on the application. 

    If one of my children is in the school’s highest grade this year, is my younger child guaranteed a spot at the school next year?
    No. The older student who is currently enrolled in the school must be attending that school next year for sibling priority to apply to the younger student. 

    If I choose a school outside my Area and do not get in, will I automatically have a spot at my community school?
    No. Students have two choices on the school application. They should list their community school as one of their options if they are also applying to a school outside their Area. 

    If we live close to a school, are we automatically accepted?
    No. Your priority at a particular school is based on whether you reside in that school’s Area (A-F1/F2), and not geographic proximity. 

    If my child attends a regional or district magnet program outside our Area, will space be reserved for him/her at the next program level?
    Yes, space is reserved for him/her and you will not need to apply.


    If my child attends a school outside my Area, can my child get on a bus if I drop them off at the bus stop that serves that school?
    No. If your student is accepted to a school outside your Area, you must provide your own transportation. While it might seem like an easy fix, students cannot ride the bus to schools to which they are not eligible for transportation.

    Can my child attend an International Baccalaureate (IB) school outside our Area? Will we get a bus? Will out-of-Area IB students be accepted?
    Students who are interested in an IB program outside their assigned regional magnet Area may apply, but will only be accepted if space is available. Even if they are accepted, they will not receive bus transportation.

    Do you have to be accepted to an International Baccalaureate (IB)/Advanced Placement (AP) program to get school bus transportation?
    Students who apply to and participate in their regional magnet IB or AP program will receive transportation to that school based on transportation guidelines. If the student discontinues the program, bus transportation to that school will also be discontinued. There is a predetermined enrollment cap for each program.

    After Enrollment/Acceptance

    What happens when my child is accepted to Saint Paul Public Schools?
    Families will receive a letter and/or email notification. A student can only be registered at one school for the coming school year.

    What happens if my student is not accepted into one of the schools we selected?
    Your student’s name is placed on a waiting list according to school choice guidelines. If there is an opening, you will be contacted and allowed to enroll your child in that school. 

    What is a waiting list?
    Waiting lists are created for schools and programs that receive more applications than they have room available. Students will be added to a waiting list for their first choice school if:

    • Space is not available for either their first or second choice school OR
    • The student is accepted to their second choice school

    The lists will expire two weeks after the start of the school year for most schools and programs. Exceptions include Pre-K programs, elementary language immersion programs and Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented.

    Can my child’s name be on more than one waiting list?
    No. Students can only be on one waiting list. The waiting list only applies to your child’s first choice school.


    How can I find out what my child will learn in school?
    Please visit the district’s Office of Teaching and Learning website for information on what is taught at our schools at spps.org/otl.

    Where can I find performance data for each school?
    Saint Paul Public Schools provides easy access to school performance data. Please visit the School Data Center website at spps.org/data. 

    What is the difference between AP and IB?
    Both AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) classes provide students with the opportunity for accelerated coursework. AP classes are college-level courses using a curriculum developed by the College Board, an organization that connects students to college success and opportunities. High school students taking AP classes have the potential to earn college credit through an exam process. IB courses are offered as part of an internationally recognized IB diploma; students taking IB classes have the potential to earn college credit through an exam process. Talk to the school’s academic counselor for more specific information about the programs in a particular school.

    Required Student Immunizations

    Does my child need to be immunized to attend school?
    State law (MS 121A.15) requires that each student in a Minnesota school be protected from childhood diseases by receiving immunizations. Parents may obtain a legal exemption for medical reasons or conscientious beliefs. All students new to Saint Paul Public Schools must bring their immunization records or exemption record to the Student Placement Center when they enroll in school. Immunizations include diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT); polio; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); Hepatitis B and varicella (chicken pox).

    Additional immunizations include: (1) Meningococcal and Tdap vaccines for students in grade 7-12; and (2)Hepatitis A, Pneumococcal, and HIB vaccines for children enrolling in child care or a school-based early childhood programs.

    For students enrolling in Saint Paul Public Schools, the Student Placement Center provides a health screening and review of immunizations. Immunizations are offered to students without health insurance or insurance that is provided through the State of Minnesota. For more information, call the Department of Student Health and Wellness located at the Student Placement Center at 651-632-3763 or visit spps.org/studentwellness.

    Annual notice to students with disabilities

    Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) is committed to providing a free and appropriate public education for every student in the school district. It is the intent of SPPS to ensure that students who have a disability, within the definition of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, are identified, evaluated and provided with reasonable and appropriate accommodations. For more information, please contact Saint Paul Public Schools at 651-767-8382.