Houston County students start classes in July - WSMV Channel 4

Houston County students start classes in July

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ERIN, TN (WSMV) -

The countdown is on for students in many Middle Tennessee districts, as the start of school is just a few days away. But students in Houston County are already hitting the books.

At Erin Elementary School, nearly 400 kids filed back into class Monday while millions of other kids across the country are still away at camp or visiting grandma.

"They hit the ground running," said Erin Elementary Principal Cindy Ryan.

Going to school in July is nothing new in Houston County, where the district adopted a so-called "alternative" schedule back in 2006. During the school year, students are in class for nine weeks and then get two weeks off.

It's a move more and more districts, like Metro Nashville, are considering.

"Any time you have a break with the students, they tend to not forget everything they've learned, but they get a little behind again. And so coming back, it shortens that time where they will forget what they've learned," Ryan said.

And most parents we talked with agree.

"I like it because he has time to rest but not enough time to forget what he has learned the previous year," said Erin parent Nicole Rivas-Weaver.

But others like Callie McGruder, who has three kids in the district, says the early start hurts families.

"When I was in school, we had all kinds of summer breaks. They don't give you much time to go on summer vacation," she said.

During the first week of classes, students are learning about each other, the teacher, expectations and procedures. After that, they jump right into state standards. The first set of benchmarks is only nine weeks away.

"With the benchmarks, they use the data to a see where the students are at and what content they have fully mastered," Ryan said.

Thursday is the first day of classes for nine area school districts, including Metro schools.

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