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Pine Point wants year-round school

It's a time where most school districts across the state are looking for ways to reduce their budgets without sacrificing academic performance, and Pine Point School is no different.

The K-8 public school located on the White Earth Reservation is now looking at extending its school year into the summer, which would eliminate a long gap that causes lower test scores in the fall.

"One of the benefits of going to an extended year or year-round calendar is you have those longer breaks between quarters," Principal Rochelle Johnson said. "Kids are rested, they're not burned out, they're able to maintain their focus when they come back."

The Pine Point School board gave Johnson and other school officials the OK to apply for the year-round calendar. The Minnesota Department of Education must receive their request by April 15.

The school of 68 students is impacted by the long summer break based on the performance tests NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association). The scores show significant achievement gaps between spring and winter results.

"Most of it is because we don't want to lose information over the summer," Johnson said of the year-round calendar request.

Attendance is also impacted, and by providing more days off during the school year, the students are less likely to miss as many days as they do now.

"This is one of the ways that we could extend the school year without adding to teacher contract days, without having to depend on grants to provide our after school or summer program," Johnson said.

Now that the school board made the motion to move forward with the application, the school must inform parents by holding three public forums on the topic.

The dates have not been set yet, but information will be available during next Wednesday's parent-teacher conferences.

The year-round calendar will not affect the budget, but rather help cut costs on substitute teachers, summer and after school programs.