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Back To School For Most Minnesota Students

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Hundreds of thousands of kids are waking up a little earlier this Tuesday, and so are their excited parents. The day after Labor Day means it's time to head back to school for most Minnesota students.

It's also the first day that free, full-day kindergarten will be offered across the state. Gov. Mark Dayton signed an education bill back in May that covers the $134 million costs.

Before this year, about half of all schools offered free full-day classes. Others offered it, but at a cost of $2,000 to $4,000 a year.

Educators hope all-day kindergarten will give more kids a jump-start into their academics.

WCCO's Edward Moody visited Highland Park High School Tuesday morning to see how teachers and students were getting ready for the school year. A big portion of the challenge, teachers said, is getting people used to waking up at the crack of dawn once again.

"In summer, it's really easy to get off-schedule, and sleep in 'til noon," said teacher Andy Timmer. "Getting back into the school mind is really tough for a lot of kids."

Highland Park principal Dr. Winston Tucker said that their school has taken a move toward personalized learning, which includes an iPad initiative. The students will be receiving their iPads in October.

"This is really about getting kids connected to research ... and really allowing teachers to personalize their learning," Tucker said.

Tucker added that the tablet computer "really has become the textbook and the pencil of today."

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