Why some schools are starting earlier this year

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ASH GROVE, Mo. Each year it seems like the school year starts earlier and earlier. And over here at Ash Grove, they say that this early start means more benefits for their students.

Dr. Aaron Gerla, superintendent for the Ash Grove School District said, "We had the option of going now or going later in May, and when you look at it, the kids are more eager to be back now and easier to educate now than they are after MAP testing and EOC testing in late may and after graduation for the high school."

And for student athletes like Briley Bagley, her school routine started even earlier thanks to volleyball.

"We had volleyball tryouts for the last 3 days, And the first practice is today," Bagley said.

She's hoping that the earlier start will help spread the word about upcoming games by getting school spirit going early.

"It's crazy how much it helps out the athletes. You don't really know it unless you're on thee court and hear them yelling. It really just gives you a lot of encouragement and it changes how your play," Bagley said.

The early start is not just for the athletes. It will allow for longer breaks around holidays like Thanksgiving, and help the school year wrap up in the middle of May, even if they end up missing a week because of snow days.

"The problem that you run into after MAP testing is done is keeping everybody on track. You want to have those days be productive, and so for us, graduation is usually around the 9 or 10 of May. Having the 16th be our last day, there's not a whole lot of days after that that you have to worry about productive days and being able to fill your time. I'd rather have them start now, and be productive days, then just filling time later on," Dr. Gerla said.

The earlier start to the school year does mean schools like Ash Grove will be wrapping up sooner than other school districts in the Ozarks. But, they're hoping it also means a more effective use of the time that they have in the classroom.