School year begins for Longfellow Elementary

(ABC 6 News) – Backpacks on and lunchboxes in hand as kids walk to class this morning for the first day of school at Longfellow Elementary School in Rochester, MN.

Longfellow is the only school in the Rochester Public Schools District with a 45/15 schedule, where students attend school year-round with classes in 45-day blocks, with three-week breaks in between, and six-week summer vacation.

Students and staff are kicking off the school year in a brand new building that allows many opportunities for learning and student collaboration.

“Our cooperative learning spaces for our students to learn and collaborate within is really exciting,” Principal Amy Adams said. “There’s a space in each pod for each grade level. The natural light throughout the building is incredible. The playground is a huge hit– we have two gaga pits so the students are really excited about that. I’m also excited about the learning opportunities with this new space, we do have solar panels here at Longfellow, and our fourth graders will have the opportunity to collect data, study, and learn about that process and also report it back to the state. So we’re super excited about that and new learning adventures and ways to collaborate and have fun together.”

Principal Adams also spoke of the benefits of the 45/15 learning style, saying, the balance allows students to stay engaged and retain information without forgetting anything learned over breaks.

“We absolutely love the 45-15 schedule. the ability for her to have some downtime after nine weeks of studying hard, the retention, with only six weeks of summer the retention rate is very good with the knowledge she’s gained and the skills she gained,” said parent Amy Renner.

For the rest of the RPS schools, classes don’t start until September.