Hamilton Early Learning Center goes year round

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- While most students are still enjoying their summer vacation, others had their first day of school.

On Thursday, Hamilton Early Learning Center in La Crosse,which serves preschoolers through third graders, began year round school.

They’re the first in the area to do so, and it’s a move some parents said they like.

“I’d rather have them in school where they’re learning more than sitting with a baby sitter all day,” said Erin Bakalars.

“It will keep her busy. She’ll have a lot more activities to do, less couch time,” said Jeremy Husfeldt.

“I think it will be a super positive influence on the children both that are excelling in class and can continue to excel, and those that maybe struggle a little bit,” said Linda Mennicke.

Hamilton’s new format is based on a 45-15 calendar.

During those 15 days off students can participate in optional half day programming where they can get extra help or enrichment opportunities.”

Principal Steve Michaels said Hamilton has been planning the switch to year round school for three years.

He said he thinks students will benefit from having regularly planned breaks, because they’ll be refreshed and ready to learn.

“I think it’s something that is healthy, and I think it’s something, actually we’re going to see some good growth as a result of it,” said Michaels.

School superintendent Randy Nelson said it wouldn’t be impossible for the whole La Crosse School District to go year round.

He doesn’t see it happening in the next few years, but said it’s something to think about.

“Our intention as we went into this was not to determine whether we could do this across the district. First intention is to see whether this can make a good difference for the students who are here at Hamilton Learning Center,” said Nelson.

Nelson said having the whole district switch to year round, could be difficult, because of the activities students in middle school and high school are involved in.

The rest of the La Crosse School District starts the day after Labor Day.

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