The Elementary Education Department supervises 18 elementary schools (kindergarten through grade 5). Five of the 18 elementary schools are magnet schools. Enrollment in the elementary schools ranges from approximately 400 to 900 students, with a total elementary enrollment of more than 11,000 students.
Elementary students attend school 169 days each year and teachers work 185 days. The extra teacher days are spent preparing for the opening and closing of school, before school student assessment days, staff training and parent-teacher conferences. The teacher day is eight hours; the student day is six hours and 20 minutes.
Elementary schools are generally organized by grade level in classrooms with one teacher and one group of students. There are a few cases of team teaching and an occasional classroom of combined grades. There is additional support for students as needed through Gifted and Talented programming, Reading Recovery, English language learners (ELL), Basic Skills or Title I, and special education services.
Each elementary school has a site council consisting of parents and staff. The schools also communicate with parents through newsletters, the school website, teacher notes, parent-teacher conferences, SchoolConnects mass notification system and special events. Schools offer email updates through the district’s Backpack Online list services. Most schools also have Parent-Teacher Organizations or booster clubs.
The district has five elementary magnet schools that offer a specialty theme that is integrated with the district’s core curriculum in the areas of science, math, language arts and social studies. The magnet schools provide school choice to district families and are intended to help achieve racial balance within the school district. Transportation is provided to any district family that is accepted to a magnet school.
The five magnet schools are Cedar Park Elementary Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School, Diamond Path Elementary School of International Studies, Echo Park Elementary School of Leadership, Engineering and Technology, Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science and Oak Ridge Elementary School of Leadership, Environmental and Health Sciences. Students at the magnet schools are exposed to a culture of high expectations through a curriculum that is embedded with the Minnesota Academic Standards. Students are engaged in intensive, focused study that is both rigorous and relevant. The magnet schools offer innovative ways to meet students’ learning goals through a specific theme.