Children at NKC school district begin year-round elementary scho - KCTV5

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Children at NKC school district begin year-round elementary school

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) -

The North Kansas City School District has opened a pair of year-round elementary schools in an experiment that's proving popular with families.

More than 750 children arrived Wednesday at the Winnwood and Crestview schools to start an academic year, which will run through the summer and continue alongside all other schools' regular academic calendar until May 2016.

On Thursday when KCTV5 visited Winnwood Elementary, students and teachers were working together to plant a summer garden.

“It's really a great chance for our kids to see how things grow in the summer time," teacher Charlotte Griffiths said.

While it's the second day of the new school year for the students, it has been in the works for more than two years.

"We've actually put it out there to our parents as something that's good for all children and the rationale behind that is because this is, we are running schools starting yesterday, as what we're calling school as usual,” said Dr. Leah Copland with the elementary school.

Parents were given a choice of whether they wanted to participate in year-round school. Kids KCTV5 talked with were skeptical at first.

"Well at first I thought it wasn't a good idea because some people want to have some time off. But now that I've gotten to school early, I feel like now it's a good idea because you can learn more for when you get to bigger grades,” Paris Holley said.

Students will get several breaks this summer, including some two week vacation breaks, but once summer is over their school calendar will look just like any other school. The difference is that year-round students will log more than 30 days of class time than a traditional student.

"I'm looking forward to learning more, and getting more experience,” Paris said.

The Kansas City Star reports that the children in the year-round schools will get 31 more days of instruction, totaling 208.

The chief financial officer for the district says the extra days of learning come at an estimated cost of $575,000 in salaries and services.

It is more expensive for districts, but educators said they can't wait to see the results of the experiment. They believe the students will get a lot more out of school.

The district picked Winnwood and Crestview partly due to the majority of their students qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunches.

Year-round school is very popular in a lot of different countries.

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