Back to school: It's the last day of summer for some Minnesota students

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The first day of school for many Minnesota students is Monday, a week before the rest of the state.

Minnesota state law mandates that schools start after Labor Day – the first Monday in September – unless a district gets a waiver from the Department of Education for summer construction or flexible learning provisions.

This year, nearly 50 of Minnesota's 339 school districts have received a waiver, KARE 11 says.

The start of the academic year has been an issue in the Minnesota Legislature for years. The state's educators wish the Legislature and state's tourism industry would stop dictating the school calendars, saying giving districts flexibility in scheduling would allow them to improve academic performance and test scores, a 2013 fact sheet on the issue says.

Proponents of the Labor Day law, like the tourism industry and the Minnesota State Fair, support it because it makes the summer vacation season longer. Resort owners in northern Minnesota and the State Fair's general manager are among those who say business would take a hit if more schools started before the holiday weekend.

Erin Kottke, whose son is a first grader in Minneapolis Public Schools, will go back to school Monday. Minneapolis is one of many districts to receive a construction waiver to start school before Labor Day.

She told KARE 11 she'd like summer to last a little longer, saying "I think you can't get enough, after such a long winter it's nice to keep going." She also mentioned last year, when intense heat closed schools on the second and third day of the academic year.

Prepping for back to school

It can be hard for some students to get out of summer mode and back into student life, so local parenting experts and school officials say it's important to start working on structure and earlier bed times before the school year begins.

Local parenting and child development expert Denise Daniels told WCCO that it's also smart to have your students practice studying by reading 10 minutes per day so they get used to doing homework again.

Daniels also says it's a good idea to make the first day of school a "celebratory event" by creating a fun tradition, like getting ice cream or having pizza.

Stan Alleyne with Minneapolis Public Schools told KSTP they're doing something fun on the first day. The school district wants students and teachers to wear college gear on Monday to "symbolize the vision of making sure every student is thinking and preparing for college."

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