March 2022: Enrollment Demand Highest in Decades
March 4, 2022
Dear Minuteman Community,
As we continue through the annual admissions season, Minuteman High School and the Minuteman Technical Institute adult learning program continue to experience an interest in high quality career and technical education (CTE). High school applications for the fall of 2022 from families living in Minuteman’s member towns is the highest it has been in about two decades.
I remind readers that just six years ago the district had 16 member towns and now we have nine – and this increase in applicants is coming from these nine supportive communities. To meet this demand, Minuteman must increase the capacity of the campus to serve all students interested in CTE. At this point in time, we have exceeded the design-enrollment capacity of the new building and have had to cap freshmen enrollment. Hopefully, this is a temporary challenge.
The priority application deadline for students living in the nine member towns was February 15. On that date, Minuteman had received a total of 303 applications for 175 ninth-grade slots for the fall of 2022 – solely from member-town residents. An additional 99 students living outside the member towns had also applied. Per the Regional Agreement, Minuteman must admit qualified member-town students prior to considering out-of-district students.
Minuteman will likely have a waiting list for member-town students due to the high number of applications received. While we are grateful that so many families understand the value that Minuteman offers, we share the frustration and disappointment of not being able to provide opportunities for all interested students.
We anticipate that Minuteman will be in high demand for the next several years. As a result, the Minuteman School Committee and I are actively pursuing cost-effective strategies to expand enrollment capacity from the current 628 to 800 students with a goal of no additional borrowing. There are two projects we are currently pursuing: an expansion of the north side of the building that would accommodate an additional 32 students over four years in the Metal Fabrication and Welding major; and a renovation of a former childcare center building on campus to create additional academic space and accommodate an Animal Health and Wellness Center that will serve students in our Animal Science program.
Minuteman is also taking advantage of the Commonwealth’s Skills Capital Grants to increase the number of students we can serve in both the high school and post-secondary/adult programs through Minuteman Technical Institute. We recently received a $150,000 grant to expand robotics and automation programming for students to develop “Industry 4.0” skills in supply chain and logistics management – one of the fastest growing industries globally. Students will sequence and run software and equipment in an automated warehouse that was built as part of our school. Students will gain awareness of and experience in managing the industrial internet of things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and mechatronics in real world circumstances.
While we are moving with an eye to the future, we are also mindful of the learning loss and the call to support students social and emotional needs. We are using federal funds to launch an after-school homework club and have begun planning for summer academic and enrichment programs. We are also excited to open two new lighted athletic fields, and to begin hosting in-person events this spring. Stay tuned for more details soon! Be well.
Edward A. Bouquillon, Ph.D.
Minuteman High School
758 Marrett Road, Lexington MA 02421