LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)—Hamilton Early Learning Center is traditionally pre-K through second grade, but will add third grade for the 2013-2014 year and hopes to add 4th grade the year after and 5th grade the year after that.
"It's really, really hard on parents when they have one kid at one school and another kid at another," said principal Steve Michaels.
Hamilton is also switching to a year-round schedule, so students will be in class for 45 days and off for 15.
"With the fall test scores, we're really seeing kids slip," Michaels said. "With some students it can even be half a year."
Katherine Erickson, a 1st Grade teacher, agrees that students regress during summer.
"There's always that learning curve of reviewing, reviewing, reviewing, to start that brain again and start learning again. And by the time we get that going, we've had a month of school," Erickson said.
Students will spend the same number of days in the classroom as a traditional school year, and during the 15 days off extra math and reading classes will be offered for those who are behind, along with enrichment activities for students on track.
"The whole point of this is to improve student achievement," Michaels said. "So by having these intercessions between quarters, we're able it give timely help to kids. We're not waiting till the end of the year to address a reading problem we knew about 1st quarter."
And, with few exceptions, Michaels says Hamilton families and staff are on board.
"I really was excited, it's what I've always wanted," Erickson said. "We're already starting our planning, starting to talk about what activates can we incorporate. We have a whole new season to work around."
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