Image by St. Paul Academy and Summit School
Minnesota's private schools will prepare your child for college through their well-rounded curricula
There are 631 private schools throughout the state of Minnesota that enroll nearly 100,000 students. These schools vary in size and student population—some enroll more than 1,000 students. In the Twin Cities metro alone, private schools serve more than 30,000 students at 144 campuses. Private schools exercise the freedom to design their own curriculum independent from government regulations, meaning they are able to customize programming to the needs of their students. On average, Minnesota private schools have an incredibly high acceptance rate—92 percent, which is 7 percent higher than the national average. Additionally, the average student to teacher ratio is a low 12:1, meaning getting extra help and guidance is easy.
The majority of the private schools in our area are affiliated with Catholicism and other Christian denominations. Two popular Catholic private schools are Benilde-St. Margaret’s in Minneapolis, which serves upwards of 1,000 students grades seven through 12, and St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall, the largest private Catholic school in the state and the alma mater of Minnesota Twins catcher and first baseman Joe Mauer. Serving students for nearly a century is Christian-affiliated Minnehaha Academy. Heritage Christian Academy in Maple Grove and Bethany Academy in Bloomington are among many other local schools that offer private, religiously influenced education. Over in Mendota Heights, Convent of the Visitation offers co-ed education through elementary school, and then becomes an all-girls school from middle school through high school to empower young woman through opportunities in their STEM center, ballet studio, theater, art suite, outdoor classroom, athletics and more.
In the capital city, St. Paul Academy and Summit School formed in 1969 when St. Paul Academy for boys and St. Paul Summit for girls merged. Enrolling nearly 1,000 students from kindergarten through grade 12, the school is a non-demonational, coeducational option for families. With average class sizes of 15, the school prides itself on its growing diversity, and offers a challenging academic program that inspires students to achieve excellence at every grade level.
For a nonsectarian private school experience, consider The Blake School. Named by Niche as the No. 1 private high school in Minnesota in 2017, Blake is an independent, coeducational, preK through grade 12 school that has three campuses throughout the Twin Cities: Hopkins (preK through 8), Minneapolis (9 through 12) and Wayzata (preK through 5). The school enrolls 1,375 students from about 55 Twin Cities neighborhoods. And average class sizes are only 16, promoting Blake’s dedication to collaborative learning.
Another leader among private schools in the Twin Cities is Breck School in Golden Valley. A number of students enrolled at Breck come from a variety of faith traditions, though the school is technically affiliated with the Episcopal church. This diversity exposes students to those with different backgrounds, supplementing their academic learning with life lessons. Breck teaches around 1,100 students in preK through grade 12 on one campus, emphasizing an intersection of academics, arts, athletics and spirituality.
There are also many exciting options for students with special interests and talents. The International School of Minnesota in Eden Prairie is a place where students get a chance to broaden their horizons. The school prepares its preK through grade 12 students to become global citizens, equipping them for the highly connected world in which we live. The faculty and student body have international backgrounds, representing more than 40 countries and 30 languages.
Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins and the Saint Paul Conservatory offer curricula focused on a well-rounded education with a focus on the arts. Additionally, Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley teaches a two-year arts program and prepares students for careers in performance and visual arts.
Nonpublic schools also offer students alternatives. The state government and public school system use the term “nonpublic” to refer to all kindergarten through grade 12 schools outside the public school system, including home schools. The Waldorf Schools, located throughout the Twin Cities, promote an integration of arts and education to inspire a love of art, movement, music and learning in their preK through eighth grade students.