New School Year About To Begin

Created: 07/28/2014 7:39 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- Don’t let the calendar fool you – school bells will be ringing again, sooner than you think.

"We had six weeks off now for summer, and it's just enough time to get refreshed," said second grade teacher Nancy Braaten at Sumner elementary school in Austin.

On Tuesday, Sumner elementary and a couple of classrooms at Woodson kindergarten center in Austin begin the fourth year of a year-round schedule of 45 days on and 15 days off. It's a departure from the traditional calendar that included a three-month summer break.

"I think with anything if you take an extended amount of time away from it, at first it's hard to get back into the rhythm and routine" said kindergarten teacher Allison Gunderson, whose class will be one of those starting the new school year on Tuesday.

“We have noticed a difference with the students, and even some students gaining over the summer because they're still reading and they're still active at home," said Braaten.

Those gains prompted the Minnesota Department of Education to name Sumner one of a handful of “Celebration Schools” in the state.

"Our test scores showed massive improvement compared to other schools around the state," Braaten explained.

Part of that improvement is because the 15 days breaks include two-week intervention schedules.

"It's for those students who are having a more difficult time with it in the classroom, so they get that additional support," Braaten told us.

And on the eve of the fourth year of 45-15, we asked Braaten what grade she’d give her school’s calendar:

"An ‘A’ -- above and beyond," she answered enthusiastically.

Photo: ABC 6 News