Looking for insights into Minneapolis middle/high schools

Hello BPN,

We are considering moving from the East Bay to Minneapolis. I've read past threads here on that subject and gleaned some very helpful info. Thanks! Specifically I seek to learn more about public (or charter?) middle and high schools in Minneapolis or St. Paul proper. Anyone have recent experience, insight or schools to recommend? Doing research via GreatSchools, I see very low ratings for most public schools in the city/cities. I would appreciate any and all insight into folks' experience with Minneapolis public schools. Thanks very much.

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My family lived in St. Paul for a year when my kids were freshmen in high school. (K-8 in Berkeley schools and now back at Berkeley High.) They went to St. Paul Central High School and were enrolled in the IB program there. Central was a terrific school in pretty much every respect. The community was tight-knit and caring. The physical plant was good. The teachers my kids had were almost uniformly superb. Central offered advanced classes for freshmen (so there was Biology and also Advanced Bio, World History and Advanced World History, etc.). which was a great experience for my kids. The school is diverse (my kids had sections in World History on Hmong culture and Karen culture, for example, in part because those two communities are a key part of the community.) There's a health clinic/nurse on-site, which offered my kids physicals for sports and flu shots. Central has about 1600 kids, so it's a lot smaller than BHS, but it was big enough to have robust sports teams and really good elective classes. (And if your children like to sing, Minnesota is maybe the choral capital of the US. Central had four separate choirs, including an 80-person beginner soprano/alto choir!)

People also raved about Highland Park High School, though I swear that every adult I met in St. Paul had graduated from Central. (It really felt, well, central to the city.)

The district and city were also excellent in their support for students. For example. SPPS gives every middle and high school students an iPad and keyboard for schoolwork and pays for any AP exam students want to take. A free school bus picked up any kids, including middle and high schoolers, who live more than a mile from their school (this was an amazing perk, especially in the snowy winter months). And while we didn't stay long enough to use it, I knew students who took advantage of a program that encourages them to take classes at the University of Minnesota as juniors and seniors. The local YMCA offers free admission for students in the summer and students get a super-cheap transit pass for all buses and local trains.