Looking at the numbers and what they mean for a growing school

Elisabeth Tamte, Feature Editor

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Since its establishment in 1952, Minnetonka High School has steadily grown alongside the increasing population of the Minnetonka-Chanhassen suburban area. However, school growth at Minnetonka has continued well past the point at which the district’s population stabilized. This continued growth can be attributed to the success of open enrollment, which has played an integral part in Minnetonka’s prosperity over the years. At present, more than 3,000 students are open enrolled across the school district. The percentage of open-enrolled students at Minnetonka, although only a fraction of the overwhelming 10,440 of total enrollment, is nonetheless much higher than the average in Minnesota.

Mr. Erickson, the high school principal, has credited the success of open-enrollment to the “good school culture” here at Minnetonka. He notes that the culture is one of “academic excellence” where students work hard to do well. According to Mr. Erickson, this not only attracts students from other districts but plays a key role in why students choose to stay at Minnetonka. The number of students who remain at Minnetonka is high, and can be seen in the large size of the class of 2018, which is about 850 students.

Currently there are 3,017 students enrolled at Minnetonka High School, compared to 2,823 in 2010. As Minnetonka High School’s student population continues to grow, so does the school’s administration and building. Accommodations to the school have come in the form of hiring new teachers, updating the school’s work spaces, and more creative solutions. An example of such solutions would be the implementation of iPads to the high school, which rendered computer labs, for the most part, unnecessary. The labs could then be converted into classrooms.

Because Minnetonka High School is so large, it offers many unique opportunities for its students. The Vantage program at Minnetonka has moved 100 students off campus in the morning and the afternoon, freeing up more space for the rest of the students. A more recent program addition to the high school has been the Science research lab. Besides Minnetonka’s unique programs, students can also choose from a wide selection of AP, IB, Honors, and General courses.

According to Mr. Erickson, the school’s ability to offer so many classes can be attributed to its large size – both students to take these classes, and teachers to teach them.

Ilse Frederickson, a freshman at MHS, agrees that because Minnetonka is so large she has been able to have more opportunities. “The large size of Minnetonka has allowed me to meet more people, and participate in more activities than if I had gone to a smaller school,” she noted.

Ilse is a part of the class of 2021, which is now the largest group of students to pass through Minnetonka, and their incorporation to the school represents the success of school accommodations. However, she points out that if the student population gets much larger, then more adjustments might need to made.

While the future of Minnetonka remains unforeseeable, it is a safe assumption that it will continue to see growth as long as it continues to offer its unique advantages that keep students interested.

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