Frequently Asked Questions
Contact our Admissions Director Shane Zack by calling 651-621-8937 or by email. We welcome the chance to chat by phone or email about your child and what you are looking for in a school.
You will want to schedule a visit to tour the school.
If you think that FSM would be a good fit for your child, complete our application form and return it with the $60 application fee (payment can also be made online for online applications) and release of information form. Go to forms.
Open Houses: Come to an evening Admissions Open House at Friends School of Minnesota. Open houses are held each fall and winter.
Open houses include a school tour by current students or parents, a presentation about FSM’s curriculum and programs and a chance to visit classrooms and visit with teachers and staff. Children’s activities are available so you can bring the whole family. Get on our admissions mailing list to receive information about these events by contacting Shane at 651-621-8937 or by email.
School Day Tours: School day visits include a tour, classroom observations and a chance to meet school staff. These tours are 9:30-11:30 on many Monday and Thursday mornings October through April (adults only). Please contact us for an appointment at 651-621-8937 or email. Summer tours may be arranged for families applying to fall openings or for prospective families visiting from out of town. tour dates
Applicant Visits: If you apply and a mutual good fit seems likely, your child will come for an applicant visit or "shadow day" during the school day. During the visit, prospective students get to see what FSM is like and interact with staff and peers. We administer academic assessments and get to know your child.
- All kindergarten applicants visit in small groups of other applicants for two hours during a school day. What Do They Do During Their Kindergarten Visit? (blog post)
- First grade applicants visit for a morning in a classroom of their peers.
- Second-Seventh grade applicants visit for a full school day in a classroom of their peers.
Applications received by February 1st should receive notification of our admissions decisions by early April. After February 1st, we continue to accept applications on a rolling basis to fill openings and for our wait pools.
In order to ensure small class sizes, we use wait pools. Even if there are no current openings, we encourage families to go through the application process to enter the wait pool so that they are ready when openings occur.
We call it a wait pool rather than a wait list because we don’t rank the applicants in the wait pool. If we offer a child a place in the wait pool, we believe that he or she will thrive at FSM and hope there is an opening soon.
When a space becomes available, we look to the wait pool for the best fit for the current classroom community, striving for balance and diversity of many variables including gender, personality, interests, academic level, learning style, and socio-economic background.
Yes, we give sibling preference once one child is enrolled. When you apply for a sibling and FSM is a good mutual fit, he/she is given preference when an opening occurs.
After receiving notification of acceptance, you have two weeks to make a non-refundable deposit of one tenth of the following year’s tuition. This deposit guarantees your child’s entrance to Friends School.
The two processes are separate. All applications for tuition aid must be accompanied by an application for admission. For more information about our tuition aid process, see the Tuition Aid page, or feel free to contact Shane at email@example.com or call 651-621-8937.
We will begin to accept applications for the 2017-18 school year November 1, 2016.
Please contact admissions about current openings.
In addition to kindergarten, we accept applications for 1st-7th grades. There can be openings at any time for any number of reasons. When classes are full, we recommend applying to the wait pool. New students enter at all grades and feel at home very quickly.
We may also consider 8th grade applications. Please email our admissions director, Shane Zack.
We believe that children need to have opportunities to be physically active throughout the day. In addition to daily recess and physical education classes three times a week, classroom teachers often provide students with extra opportunities to be active whether through extra recess time, a lesson that invites movement or by just allowing them move around in the classroom as they work.
Look around the classrooms and you may also see large balls or one legged stools to sit on, blocks to build with, or manipulatives to teach a math concept… FSM’s progressive education provides a rich environment for active learners.
The Religious Society of Friends members are commonly known as Friends or Quakers. As one of over 80 Quaker schools in the United States, Friends School of Minnesota is committed to the values of peace simplicity, integrity, community and equality. Learn more about Quaker education at FSM. To learn more about Quaker education in general, visit the
Friends Council on Education.
FSM kids love new students! Your child will be welcomed warmly on their applicant visit day and will probably talk about how nice everyone was to them.
We work hard to help new students transition. We match new families with current ambassador families and invite new families to summer welcome events. The first six weeks of every school year focuses on community building in the classroom. Remember, with mixed-age classrooms, half of the class is brand new to the classroom too. Most new students will feel at home within a few weeks.
Friends School of Minnesota’s goal of academic excellence is guided by the principles of progressive education. We believe that children learn best as active participants, collaborators, and problem-solvers within a community. Rich projects enable children to acquire the skills and conceptual understandings that lie at the heart of the formal disciplines. Learn more about progressive education at FSM on our website.
Read our many FSM blog posts about progressive education
Our school day follows Saint Paul Public Schools schedule of 9:15-a.m.-3:45 p.m.
We are a kindergartent through grade 8 school of approximately 168 students.
Our lower school is K-4 and our middle school is 5-8.
For the 2015-16 school year, Saint Paul residents who qualify for public school bussing to and from school may ride the public school busses also servicing LEAP High School (a few blocks from Friends School).
Many families choose to carpool. Our families come from all over the Twin Cities (about 35% Minneapolis/65% St. Paul) so families are creative about transportation. At the beginning of August, the school sends out a list of families sorted by neighborhood, so you can make your arrangements.
We do not offer preschool. Part of FSM’s diversity comes from the wide variety of preschools that feed into FSM each year. Our students have come from over 50 wonderful preschool programs in neighborhoods all over the Twin Cities and beyond. We do include four-year-olds in our summer session multi-arts program, Imagine That.
You might also like to read the post How Much Homework? on our blog.
We believe that a moderate amount of work at home helps students develop good study habits, which is an important factor in academic success. Homework provides a bridge between home and school. It allows parents a chance to know what skills their child is working on and to become more involved and actively supportive of their child’s academic development.
Quantity of Homework Recommended
In general, the amount of homework will fit within these guidelines.
- Kindergarten: 1 - 2 times per week, 5 minutes per day
- Grades 1-2: 2 - 3 times per week, 10-20 minutes per day
- Grades 3-4: 3 - 4 times per week, 20-30 minutes per day
- Grades 5-6: 1 hour per day (Not all subjects every day)
- Grades 7-8: 1.5-2 hours per day (Not all subjects every day)
In addition, thirty minutes per day of quiet reading or being read aloud to is recommended.
Completion of Assignments
Students do not need to spend more than the recommended time on an assignment if student, parent, and teacher agree that the time is being well spent. Under circumstances in which assignments are difficult for students, it may be acceptable to turn in incomplete assignments with a student and/or parent signature indicating that the allotted time was spent. This guideline may be modified to meet the needs of individual students and families.
Your role as a parent should be to help your child understand the assignment and find strategies to do it, not to supply answers. We recommend that parents assist young children with homework. As children get older, they should become more independent in their ability to complete assignments, at which point parents should just check in on homework. If assignments are persistently too difficult, please contact your child’s teacher to discuss the problem.
Additional Academic Support
Friends School offers limited support services for students with mild diagnosed learning differences. In consultation with parents, we can provide accommodations such as test-taking assistance, modified requirements for courses, and altered expectations for homework.
Since no learning specialists are on the school staff, families are encouraged to use resources available in the community. Students who qualify may have the option of pursuing support services through the Saint Paul public schools.
FSM offers the following academic support options outside of the regular school day. All programs have a tuition fee, and scholarship is available for qualifying families. Registration forms for all programs are available at the front office and on our website.
Students in grades three through eight work with FSM teachers in small groups after school to get help organizing and completing homework.
We have no plans to add a high school at this time. Each year, our graduates choose high schools all over Minneapolis and St. Paul. The wide variety of high school programs that they attend speaks to FSM graduates’ individuality and their knowledge of themselves as learners when they leave Friends School of Minnesota.
FSM graduates attend high schools all over the Twin Cities and beyond. We are also collecting information about the colleges and graduate schools they go on to attend.
Friends School of Minnesota alumni attend many different high schools, including:
Agricultural & Food Sciences Academy
Apple Valley High School
Arlington High School
Avalon High School
The Blake School
Central Senior High School
Como Park Senior High School
Creative Arts High School- ALC
DeLaSalle High School
Eastview High School, Apple Valley
El Colegio Charter High School
Edina Senior High School
Great River School
Henry Sibley Senior High School
Highland Park Senior High School
Hopkins Senior High School
Mounds Park Academy
Mounds View Senior High School
North High School
Perpich Center for Arts Education
River's Edge Academy
Roosevelt High School
St. Anthony Village Senior High School
St. Bernards High School
St. Louis Park Senior High School
St. Paul Academy & Summit School
St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists
St. Paul Preparatory School (NACEL International)
St. Thomas Academy
Simley Senior High School, Inver Grove Heights
Scattergood Friends School
South Senior High School
Southwest Senior High School
Stillwater High School
Tartan Senior High School
Twin Cities Academy
Washburn Senior High School
Watershed High School
Wayzata High School
Colleges and Universities
Augsburg College, MN
Bard College, NY
Beloit College, WI
Brown University, RI
Carleton College, MN
Carleton University, Ontario, Canada
Carthage College, WI
Century College, MN
Chicago College of Performing Arts, IL
Creighton University, NE
Coe College, IA
Colgate University, NY
Columbia College, IL
Columbia University, NY
College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, MN
Colorado School of Mines, CO
Colorado State University - Fort Collins, CO
Concordia College, Moorehead, MN
Connecticut College, CT
Cornell College, IA
Cornish College of the Arts, WA
DePaul University, IL
Drake University, IA
Earlham College, IN
Evergreen State College, WA
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, CA
George Washington University, DC
Granville Business College, Vancouver, Canada
Gustavus Adolphus College, MN
Hamline University, MN
Hennepin Technical College, MN
Illinois Institute of Technology, IL
Illinois Wesleyan University, IL
Iowa State University, IA
Ithaca College, NY
Lafayette College, PA
Lawrence University, WI
Lewis and Clark College, WA
Luther College, IA
Macalester College, MN
Marquette University, WI
Michigan State University, MI
Minneapolis Community and Technical College, MN
McGill University, Quebec, Canada
Moores School of Music, Houston, TX
New York University, NY
Normandale Community College, MN
Northland College, Ashland, WI
Oberlin College, OH
Occidental College, CA
Ohlone College, CA
Peabody School of Music, John Hopkins Univ, MD
Pomona College, CA
Reed College, OR
Schreyers Honors College - Penn State, PA
Smith College, MA
St. Catherine University, MN
St. Olaf College, MN
St. Paul College, MN
Swarthmore College, PA
Syracuse University, NY
Tufts University, MA
Union College, New York
University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
University of Belgrano, Argentina
University of British Columbia, Canada
University of California, Berkeley, CA
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Chicago, IL
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Denver, CO
University of Iowa, IA
University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN
University of Minnesota, Morris, MN
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN
University of Minnesota Inst. of Technology, MN
University of Missouri
Univeristy of Missouri - Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance
University of New Hampshire, NH
University of Puget Sound, WA
University of Southern California, CA
University of Texas at Austin, TX
University of Toronto, Canada
University of Washington, WA
University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, WI
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
University of Wisconsin, River Falls, WI
Washington University in St. Louis, MO
Wesleyan University, IL
Winona State University, MN
Whitman College, WA
Winona State University, MN
Yale University, CT
There is one class per grade at FSM with 16-21 students in each grade.
As we have mixed-grade classrooms, there are two first-second grade classrooms and two third-fourth grade classrooms (our kindergarten is the only lower school classroom that is not mixed age).
Middle school also mixes grades in various classes (humanities, specialists, electives).
Math is taught school-wide by single grade.
Friends School provides mixed-age classrooms following kindergarten. Mixed-age classes provide students broader social and academic opportunities. Lower school children stay with a teacher for two years allowing teachers to deeply understand each student’s strengths and challenges. In middle school, students have their core subject teachers for up to four years.
We strive to maintain a diversity of students in every classroom and classes are balanced by gender, personality, interests, academic level and learning style. Cooperative, community learning flourishes in mixed-age classroom environments.
FSM blog post: Why Mixed Age Classrooms?
We offer full day kindergarten only.
All children must be five by September 1st to attend kindergarten at FSM.
When will my child go to kindergarten?
School years and birthday ranges
- 2015-16 9-1-09 to 8-31-10
- 2016-17 9-1-10 to 8-31-11
- 2017-18 9-1-11 to 8-31-12
- 2018-19 9-1-12 to 8-31-13
All FSM students K-8 take Spanish with a specialist. Learn more about Spanish at FSM.
FSM believes in the importance of all of the arts and we continually explore creative ways to make the arts vibrant and meaningful to students, and to expose them to as wide a range of arts experiences as possible within a school of our size. At FSM, the arts are integrated into many curriculum areas. We also teach the arts as discreet disciplines.
All FSM students have classes with visual arts and music specialists once or twice a week. In addition, students study visual arts and drama with their classroom/core teachers. Students may also choose to participate in our after school music program or drama clubs.
All students, K-8 have classes with specialist teachers in physical education, music, art and Spanish. These classes meet two or three times a week for 30-45 minutes. Lower school students also have a weekly library class with our librarian/media specialist. Middle school students also have classes with the librarian/media specialist through out the school year.
No, we do not have a learning specialist or a behavior specialist on staff. Some students who qualify for services through the public schools receive these services at St. Paul’s Galtier Elementary which is a few blocks away. Other families choose private support services. We will work to facilitate a plan that best serves a child’s learning needs.
FSM offers middle school sports through our extracurricular program with 5/6 and 7/8 grade teams in soccer, basketball, and volleyball.
We are a part of a Twin Cities sports league of other private and public schools committed to positive, fun sports experiences which includes mixed-gender teams, equal playing time, and good sportsmanship.
Yes, students have recess every day. The lower school has one hour for lunch and recess and middle school has forty minutes for lunch and recess.
Being active and getting outside (every day unless it is raining or the windchill is below zero) is very important for students physically, socially and academically. Even indoor recess gives students a much-needed break and unstructured time to play and interact with their classmates.
We have a playground and also use the spacious city park just south of the school for recess and other outdoor activities.
Read an FSM blog post by our previous head of school, Lili: Recess Every Day