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K-8 Summer Scholars: Frequently Asked Questions

K-8 Summer Scholars: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: February 23, 2023

See a PDF version of this FAQ.

When will I know if my child is accepted into our chosen Summer Scholars Academy?  Our summer team will send periodic emails to families to let them know their child(ren) is/are confirmed for one of our Summer Scholar academies. This email will simply confirm registration. 

When will we find out more details about our summer scholar program, such as transportation, meals, schedules, etc?  Further information should be sent out the first couple weeks of May (program details). Transportation information should be available during the second week of June (either June 12th or June 19th via robocall/text/email).

What is the difference between Discovery and Learning and the GEMS-GISE-STEM Academy? Discovery and Learning follows a more traditional school day schedule and provides more intensive focus on math and literacy.  Physical education, art, and field trips are also offered. Our GEMS-GISE-STEM Academy focuses on Math and Science through project-based learning, via classroom work and activities.

How does the incoming Kindergartners program differ from that designed for current grades 1-5? The incoming Kindergartners programs- Discovery and Learning and GEMS-GISE-STEM- focus on literacy, math, science and social emotional school readiness skills with engaging classroom work and hands-on activities. The incoming Kindergarten curriculum is the same for all classrooms (Discovery and Learning and GEMS-GISE-STEM).

What does a typical day look like?

Incoming K: A typical day in the incoming kindergarten program includes staff meeting your child at the bus or parent drop off, breakfast, large group read-aloud, community building activity and large motor activity. Followed by active learning (children will talk, read, write and play in centers throughout the classroom), small groups focusing on literacy, math, science, etc. Lunch will be followed by recess and a quiet time. Math and Science activities will finish up their day and staff will bring the children to buses or parent pick up.

Discovery and Learning Academy: Students engage daily in integrated science and literacy lessons, math, art, physical education and participate in onsite and off-site field trips. Typically scheduled in the morning, students participate in math and literacy “workshop” experiences through large group, small group and independent work.  Afternoons could include extended project-based learning time and/or specialists including art or PE.

GEMS-GISE-STEM Academy: GEMS-GISE (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science/Guys in Science and Engineering) STEM Academy helps students uncover the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in a six-week, all-day program. Students participate in project-based and problem-based learning, using a hands-on and minds-on approach that integrates the skills of reading and math. Knowledgeable staff help immerse students in high interest and rigorous STEM experiences designed to provide relevant, real-world connections and career explorations.  Students have the option of participating in GEMS, GISE or combined groups. A typical day this summer will include all the above-mentioned opportunities, student engagement in outdoor learning spaces, active investigative discovery, and a half hour of recess for students daily.  New this year, students in grades 6-8 can choose to attend our our GEMS-GISE-STEM Blast Academy which offers an opportunity to choose between one to four weeks of programming, allowing families to have more flexibility with their summer.  In addition, we continue to offer our traditional 6-week program.

My child doesn't attend a Minneapolis Public School? Is my child allowed to attend? 

Incoming Kindergartners: No, your child must be an incoming kindergartner at a Minneapolis Public School.

1-8: If your child attends a charter school or other district public school, and you reside in Minneapolis, your child may attend our in-person learning academies for grades 1-8. Additional documentation will be required from your child’s teacher. Our summer team will reach out to begin this process. If you live outside of Minneapolis but your child does attend a Minneapolis Public School, your child may attend but you must provide transportation.

My child attends a charter school but doesn't have any academic needs, may he/she still attend?  As mentioned above, we do need feedback from your child’s teacher. If your child does not require academic assistance, there are other areas that will qualify (social/emotional needs), such as practicing perseverance, maintaining positive relationships, etc. 

My child needs to miss some of the summer scholar program due to vacation (or other reason). Is this okay? Because of our project-based learning techniques, i.e. group work, we prefer that a student does not miss any time. We do understand, however, that things may come up (i.e. previously planned events). In this event, however, we do not want a child missing more than one week. Please notify your site when your child is absent.

Do I select an application based on my child's current grade or on their grade in the Fall of 2023. When choosing the appropriate application (especially important for current PreK and 5th graders), choose based on your child’s grade in the Fall of 2023. So, a current Prek will choose the K-5 application. A current 5th grader will choose the 6-8 application. A current 8th grader will choose the Fast Track application.

May I make a request that my child be placed in a class with a friend?  Yes, you may. We will do our best to honor these requests, however, know that it is not a guarantee. Multiple factors may contribute to this decision, such as class size/availability, session time, etc.

Will students be placed in classrooms with other students from their year-long school?

Incoming Kingergartners: Current High Five students will be placed with peers from their classroom.

Discovery and Learning Academy: Students in classrooms will come from all sites assigned to the cluster location. So, classrooms will include peers and new friends to be made.

GEMS-GISE-STEM Academy: Requests for being in a class with students from your home schools can be made by emailing SummerScholars@mpls.k12.mn.us . Students will have some students from their attendance area school in their classes. We will honor placement requests as we are able based on classroom and grade level availability.

Will the summer program be following the Covid19 protocols and guidelines as they do during the school day? Yes, we will be following the same guidelines, which may be found here: https://b2s.mpls.k12.mn.us/COVID-19_Data_Dashboard

How do I make a later request, or changed request, for transportation?  You may email SummerScholars@mpls.k12.mn.us . Please be sure to include your child’s name along with their pickup and drop off address. Please know that the deadline for transportation for Day 1 is May 5th. The transportation deadline for Day 3 of programming (which means you’ll need to drive the first couple of days) is June 12th

Will I be able to use Here Comes the Bus this summer? Yes, you will.  It will require a bit of set up on your part however.  You will need to delete your child's information and then re-add placing an S in front of their student ID (to indicate summer).  Be sure at the conclusion of summer scholars to remove that account and then re-add your child without the S to see school year 2023-2024 info. 

Will a nurse be available at the summer academy sites?  Yes, we will have a nurse on site during our summer academies.

My child has an IEP. What does that mean for the Summer Scholars Academy?  We employ social workers for our summer academies. Our social workers will review your child’s IEP and work with the summer academy location to determine implementation of those needs. In some cases, it may be determined that your child is best suited in one of our ESY summer locations. In the event of this, our team will reach out to you. If your child attends a charter school or non-MPS public district (and you live in Mpls), please email your child’s IEP to: 


Do students in the elementary program get to select their classes? Our in-person GEMS-GISE-STEM Academy and Discovery and Learning for incoming grades K-5 will not. Students will be scheduled for a variety of course offerings. Students in our in-person GEMS-GISE-STEM Academy or GEMS-GISE-STEM Blast Academy for incoming grades 6-8 will rank courses in order of preference during the application process. 

Are meals provided?  Yes, both breakfast and lunch are provided to summer scholars at no cost.

Is there a cost to participate? No, there is no cost to participate in our Summer Scholars Academy.

Who do I contact if student is going to be out?  Please contact your summer location’s office to report absences.