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Comprehensive District Design - Background Information

Comprehensive District Design - Background Information

Comprehensive District Design Overview

The Comprehensive District Design is Minneapolis Public Schools’ bold vision and plan for how our large, urban school district will deliver on its commitment to ensuring that all students–regardless of their background, zip code, and personal needs–receive a high-quality, well-rounded education that prepares them for future success.

The Board of Education voted in favor of the Comprehensive District Design recommendations in May 2020.

MPS is grateful to students, staff, and families for their input and hard work to help us develop an ambitious design to provide a well-rounded PK-12 education to every student.  

Now the real work begins – implementation over the next two to three years. Our hope is that our community can now reunite in an effort to protect, support, and educate all students to ensure that they all reach their highest potential.

Grade reconfigurations or staff moves will go into effect in the fall of 2021.


The Comprehensive District Design (CDD) is a systematic, long-range plan that Minneapolis Public Schools will use to guide decision-making that affects the academic quality, equity, and sustainability of education for students throughout the district. It sets forth our vision and goals for the future and identifies priorities, policies, and programs for achieving them. The CDD has been shaped by over three years of research, data analysis, and community input and engagement.

The significance and opportunity of the CDD is in providing MPS with a roadmap for being more intentional about the next chapters in our district's history. While all school districts must periodically evaluate and adjust their structural, programmatic, and resource decisions against changing needs and conditions, the CDD is not a routine audit and update of current policies and practices in response to economic and demographic changes. The CDD is a large-scale, systems-level redesign of the district’s structure and every aspect of our work that has bearing on our ability to deliver on MPS’ mission and vision of ensuring that every student receives a well-rounded education and graduates academically, socially, and emotionally prepared for success in college and career.

The Need and Purpose for the Design

​Decades of limited efforts to improve on these outcomes have created similarly limited pockets of success, but they have repeatedly failed to make a dent in decades long achievement, access and opportunity gaps that have remained predictable by race, income, and zip code. When MPS sought public feedback in spring 2019 on a two-year effort to assess funding and programmatic strategies to improve student achievement throughout the district, students, families, and community members responded by challenging us to prioritize better understanding the role of the district’s structural and institutional practices and policies in sustaining the achievement gap and to take the bold actions necessary to correct them. 

After in-depth analysis, research, and listening to our students, families, and community members, it is clear that MPS’ current structure and the way we operate — from academic programming to student placement to how money is spent — disadvantages students of color and low-income students in multiple interdependent ways and deprives a significant portion of the student population of a well-rounded education. Repeated attempts to address disparities through piecemeal funding and programming have failed due to a lack of intentional design to improve academic outcomes. The result is a worsening situation in which the district’s current funding can no longer support our existing programmatic structure. 

The CDD is a collectively-developed response to the necessity and imperative of stopping the usual approach of tinkering around the edges and begin confronting the big issues we face with a comprehensive and pragmatic approach to systematic change that fully considers the needs, experiences, and values of the communities we serve.

Guiding Values & Principles

On October 7, 2019, the Board of Education adopted a resolution establishing guiding values and principles for the CDD.

Development Process

​In December 2017, MPS began a comprehensive assessment of data compiled by the district as well as local, state, and federal entities to determine how best to develop a long-term plan to ensure all MPS graduates have a well-rounded education and are equipped with the academic, social emotional and technical skills to be successful in college and career by making improvements to academic achievement, ensuring sustainability and growing market share, and providing equitable programming and choice. 

After a first round of public and stakeholder-specific meetings to receive feedback, community members and MPS identified the need for additional public engagement, especially with disproportionately impacted and historically underrepresented communities, as well as additional scenario modeling based on recommendations received and additional consideration to which recommendations should be prioritized. What followed was several months of additional study, refinement, stakeholder engagement, more data collection, more refinement, more study, and more engagement. The result was the decision to produce a comprehensive, large-scale systems redesign of the district focused on eliminating structures, policies, and practices that create and reinforce disparities for students of color and low income students in order to meet the goal of ensuring every student in Minneapolis has access to a well-rounded education regardless of their race, zip code, or educational needs.

In January through March 2020, MPS gathered feedback from thousands of families, staff, students, and community members through multiple surveys, listening sessions, Board of Education meetings, student focus groups, and an online feedback form. Based on that feedback district leaders made updates to and decisions about the final CDD proposal.

Goals & Priorities

The CDD sets collaboratively-developed goals and priorities that provide an intent and direction for MPS' planning, policies, and decision-making. These goals and priorities create a shared framework that enables the district to be more proactive, more strategic, and better coordinated both internally and externally, which helps to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of efforts across district functions.


  • A well-rounded, PreK-12 education for every student in every part of the city.
  • Every student graduates with the academic, social/emotional, and technical skills to be successful in college and/or career.
  • Equitable access to academically-rigorous and culturally-relevant programming including STEAM, dual-language immersion, and CTE.
  • Safe and welcoming environments for all students and families.


  • Reduction in racially and economically isolated schools.
  • High-quality community schools in every part of the city.
  • Improved access to magnet programs located closer to home.
  • Student placement policies and processes that better serve all families.
  • School climate improvements to support better student retention, family and staff experiences, and student learning.


  • Alignment and prioritization of budgets to accomplish district design goals and values.
  • Stabilized and predicable staffing.
  • Correction of uneven enrollment patterns.
  • Professional development and other supports to improve staff recruitment and retention.
  • Culturally relevant programming and customer service.
  • Academic pathways supported by financially sustainable transportation options.