FAQ

When you are deciding on a school for your children the process can be overwhelming and it might seem like you have endless questions. Below you will find a list of our most common questions and their answers.

If you have any questions that aren’t answered below, please feel free to contact Shane in admissions at 651-621-8937 or by email.

Admissions FAQ

Is FSMN still accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year?

Yes! At the moment we have openings in our 2021-22 kindergarten, second, sixth and seventh grades. When classes are full, we recommend applying to the wait pool. New students enter at all grades and feel at home very quickly.

You can apply online or ask our admissions director Shane Zack for a paper copy of the application. Additionally, we welcome the chance to chat with you! Contact Shane by calling 651-621-8937 or by email to discuss your child and what you are looking for in a school.

Is FSMN accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year?

We will begin to accept applications for the 2022-2023 school year November 1, 2021.

Please contact admissions about current 2021-22 openings.

How do I apply?

You can apply online or ask our admissions director Shane Zack for a paper copy of the application. Additionally, we welcome the chance to chat with you! Contact Shane by calling 651-621-8937 or by email to discuss your child and what you are looking for in a school.

Do you accept students for all grades?

In addition to kindergarten, we accept applications for Grades 1-7. For any number of reasons, we may have openings throughout the year. At the moment we have openings in our 2021-22 kindergarten, second, sixth and seventh grades. 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 eighth-grade applications. Please email our admissions director, Shane Zack

How can we visit the school?

Open Houses: Come to an evening Admissions Open House at Friends School of Minnesota. We host open houses each fall and winter.

Open houses include a school tour by current students, a chance to visit classrooms and chat with teachers and staff as well as information about the unique nature of our program. This is a child friendly event, so feel free to bring the whole family. To get on our admissions mailing list and receive information about these events, contact 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. We host tours on select Monday and Thursday mornings, October through April from 9a.m.-11a.m. (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.

Applicant Visits: If we determine there could be a mutual fit between FSMN and your child, we will invite your child to an applicant visit or “shadow day” during the school day. During the visit, prospective students will see what FSMN 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 the school day.

First-grade applicants visit for a morning in a classroom of their peers.
Applicants in Grades 2-7 visit for a full school day in a classroom of their peers.

When are admissions decisions reached?

Applications received by March 1st should receive notification of our admissions decisions by early April. After March 1st, we continue to accept applications on a rolling basis to fill openings and for our wait pools.

How do you use admissions wait pools?

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 they are ready when openings occur.

We call it a wait pool rather than a waitlist 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 FSMN and hope there is an opening soon.

When an opening becomes available, we make admissions offers from the wait pool with the goal of creating balanced and diverse classrooms.

Do you have sibling preference?

Yes, we give sibling preference once one child is enrolled. When you apply for a sibling and FSMN is a good mutual fit, they are given preference when an opening occurs.

If my child is accepted, how do I guarantee their entrance to Friends School of Minnesota?

After receiving notification of acceptance, you have two weeks to make a non-refundable deposit of 10% of the following year’s tuition. This deposit guarantees your child’s entrance to Friends School of Minnesota.

Does applying for tuition aid affect the admissions process?

The two processes are separate. An application for admission must accompany all applications for tuition aid. For more information about our tuition aid process, see the tuition aid page, or feel free to email Shane or call 651-621-8937.

General FAQ

What is a Friends school?

Members of The Religious Society of Friends are commonly known as Friends or Quakers. As one of more than 75 Quaker schools in the United States, Friends School of Minnesota is committed to the values of peace, simplicity, integrity, community, equality/equity and stewardship. Learn more about Quaker education at FSMN.

To learn more about Quaker education in general, visit the Friends Council on Education.

What is progressive education?

At the Friends School of Minnesota, the principles of progressive education guide our goal of academic excellence. We believe that children learn best as active participants, collaborators, and problem-solvers within a community. Meaningful projects enable children to acquire the skills and conceptual understandings that lie at the heart of the formal disciplines. We prepare students to be active, engaged participants in democratic society. Learn more about progressive education at FSMN.

Read our blog posts about progressive education.

What grades do you have at Friends School of Minnesota?

We are a kindergarten through 8th grade school. Our lower school is k–4, and our middle school is 5–8.

Do you have a preschool program?

We do not offer preschool. FSMN’s kindergarten come to us from the wide variety of preschools. Our students have come from more than 50 wonderful preschool programs in neighborhoods all over the Twin Cities and beyond.

Do you have plans for a Friends School of Minnesota high school?

We have no plans to add a high school at this time. Each year, our graduates choose to enroll in high schools all over Minneapolis and St. Paul.

When they leave FSMN, our graduates have a strong sense of themselves as learners and are successful in all types of school settings. This is evidenced by the wide variety of high schools they choose to attend.

Where do Friends School graduates attend school?

FSMN graduates attend high schools all over the Twin Cities and beyond. We are currently collecting information about the colleges and graduate schools they go on to attend.

How many classrooms of each grade do you have at FSMN?

There is one class per grade at FSMN with 16-21 students in each grade.

We have mixed-grade classrooms: two 1st/2nd grade classrooms and two 3rd/4th 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, etc).

Each grade level, one through eight, has its own single-grade math class.

Why do you have mixed-grade classrooms?

Following kindergarten, Friends School provides mixed-age classrooms. Mixed-age classes offer students broader social and academic opportunities. Lower school children stay with a teacher for two years. This consistency allows 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 balance classes by personality, interests, academic level, and learning style. Cooperative, community-focused learning flourishes in mixed-age classroom environments.

Is your kindergarten full-day or half-day?

We offer full-day kindergarten only.

Do all kindergartners need to be five-years-old?

All children must be 5 by September 1st to attend kindergarten at FSMN.

Does FSMN offer a second language?

All FSMN students, K–8, take Spanish. Lower school students have a total of an hour and a half of Spanish each week and middle school students have two hours and fifteen minutes of Spanish each week.

How does FSMN teach the arts?

FSMN believes in the importance of all of the arts. Within a school of our size, 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. At FSMN, we integrate the arts into many curriculum areas. We also teach the arts as discrete disciplines.

All FSMN students have classes with visual arts and music specialists two or three times a week. Also, 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.

What specialists do students see?

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 library time each week.

Do you have learning or behavior specialists on staff?

Currently, we have a literacy specialist and a learning specialist. Some students who qualify for services through the public schools receive these services through the public schools in our neighborhood. Other families choose private support services. We will work to facilitate a plan that best serves a child’s learning needs.

Does FSMN have a sports program?

FSMN offers middle school soccer, basketball, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball.

We are part of a Twin Cities sports league of other private and public schools. The league is committed to positive, fun sports experiences. These experiences include mixed-gender teams, equal playing time, and good sportsmanship.

Do you have recess?

Yes, all students have recess every day.

Being active and getting outside (every day unless it is raining or the wind chill 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.

Are children given time to be active at Friends School during the school day?

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. These opportunities include additional recess time, lessons that invite movement, or allowing students to move around in the classroom as they work.

A look around our 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. FSMN’s progressive education provides a rich environment for active learners.

Is it hard to be a new student? Doesn’t everyone already know each other?

FSMN kids love new students! Your child will be welcomed warmly on their applicant visit day and will probably talk about how friendly everyone was to them.

We work hard to help new students transition. 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.

What are the school day hours?

Our school day follows the Saint Paul Public Elementary School schedule of 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

We offer extended day care in the mornings from 7:30-8:15am, and in the afternoons from 3-6pm. Additionally a variety of extracurricular activities for middle school students are offered both mornings and afternoons most days.

Do you offer transportation to and from school?

St. Paul residents who qualify for public school busing to and from school may ride the public school buses (also servicing other schools in the Midway neighborhood).

Many families choose to carpool. Our families come from all over the Twin Cities (about 30% Minneapolis/60% St. Paul/ 10% other), 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.

How much homework do students have?

Homework Policy
We believe that a moderate amount of work at home helps students develop good study habits, which is an essential 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)

Also, we recommend reading for 30 minutes per day (being read aloud to or quiet reading).

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. The signature indicates that the student did indeed use the time allotted for the assignment. This guideline may be modified to meet the needs of individual students and families.

Parental Support
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 this point, parents should check in on homework rather than provide complete assistance. 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. Through universal screening, students may be gain access to early literacy intervention with our literacy specialist.

In consultation with parents, we can provide accommodations such as test-taking assistance, modified requirements for courses, and altered expectations for homework. Students who qualify may have the option of pursuing support services through the Saint Paul Public Schools.

Homework Help
Students in Grades 5-8 work with FSMN teachers in small groups after school to get help with organizing and completing homework. This is a fee based program run through our activities department.

See for yourself

The best way to experience what FSMN has to offer your child is to join us for a tour.

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Our Mission

Our mission is to prepare children to embrace life, learning, and community with hope, skill, understanding and creativity. We are committed to the Quaker values of peace, justice, simplicity and integrity.

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Calendar

  1. Committee on Trustees

    10/25 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
  2. High School Night

    10/26 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  3. Student, Faculty, and Staff COVID Testing

    10/28 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  4. Equity and Justice Committee

    10/28 @ 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm

Contact

651-917-0636
[email protected]
Friends School of Minnesota
1365 Englewood Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55104

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