Report: No significant result from early school start

Test scores did not change significantly last year in 25 southwest Minnesota school districts that had special permission to begin the school year before Labor Day, according to a report.

Leaders of those districts, however, believe the early start will eventually boost achievement. The report also includes results of a survey that found more students, teachers, and community members agree.

Mountain Lake superintendent Bill Strom said report shows mixed results academically. Some districts showed improved reading and math scores this year, but the 25 districts as a whole fell short of several goals.

Mountain Lake superintendent Bill Strom said there was no significant change overall during the first year of the early start.

"Yes, the scores are mixed, but we're committed to the original hypothesis," Strom said "We're taking what I call a vigilant wait-and-see approach before we draw hard conclusions, positive or negative."

There was also concern the early start might discourage students in the 25 districts from participating in the State Fair, but the report actually found a greater number of 4-H exhibitors.

Participating districts take the same days off, which allows leaders to combine teacher professional development efforts, Strom said.

The districts are in the second of three years they are allowed to commence the school year early. The report is required for the districts which won approval from the state to do so.

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