Sumner Kids back in School

Posted at: 07/30/2013 6:30 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- There are few milestones more important than this.

And on Tuesday, about four dozen Austin youngsters got a head start on Kindergarten.

"We're able to offer families the choice between the 45/15 calendar or the traditional calendar," said Woodson Kindergarten Center principal Jessica Cabeen.

It was an option parents were offered when Sumner elementary school in Austin went to a year-round 45 on/15 off schedule two years ago.

"Students who may be nervous seem to be a little bit more relaxed when we get into this building and it's not completely filled to capacity," principal Jessica Cabeen explained.

And that makes it easier to focus on academics -- and social skills.

"If you can start the year  out talking about how to be respectful of other children, how do we function in the school setting, the academic comes a lot easier," said Woodson 45-15 teacher Josh McRae.

One big difference between the 45-15 and traditional calendars is the three week breaks the 45-15 kids get during the school year.

"Academically we're looked at the data pre and post, and we haven't seen any regression to note between those breaks," principal Jessica Cabeen told us.

“As a teacher you have to plan with that bigger break coming up, how do we get back on track," teacher Josh McRae added.

“What we do note is parents, students seem a little more energized, ready to come back," Jessica Cabeen said.

On Tuesday, about four dozen students went back. five weeks from now:

"We'll have 15 to 16 classrooms start on that traditional format," said principal Jessica Cabeen.

“The curriculum we're working on they're kind of catching up, and you see that gap diminish as the year goes on and you all kind of catch up, and it's cool to see two different paths to the same destination," added 45-15 teacher Josh McRae.

Most of the kids whose families opt for the 45-15 schedule at Woodson go to Sumner school and continue the year-round schedule in first grade.