Assignment: Education – Intersession

La Crosse's Year-Round School Takes First Break

These elementary school kids at Hamilton Early Learning Center are wrapping up their first quarter of school.

“I’ve completed all of our district assessments, and all of our report cards and everything up to the end of first quarter,” said Traci Schneider, kindergarten teacher at Hamilton Early Learning Center.

Now, they are enjoying their first two-week intersession of the school year. And Schneider feels great about the progress the students have made since their first day of school in July.

“I have kids that started the year knowing no sounds; knowing very few letters,” said Schneider. “Just doing the district assessments, I have kids that have bumped up from no sounds to 32 sounds. Some that have gone from zero sounds to 24 sounds. So, my kids are ready to start reading when they come back from their break.”

But while they are on break, students who are interested are continuing their education through intervention or enrichment classes.

“I’m going to go here for half of the day and in the afternoon I go back home,” said Jackson Greengrass, Hamilton 3rd grader.

Intersession classes run from 8 until 11 a.m., which gives teachers like Miss Schneider extra time during break to work with students who need intervention.

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“I am going to have about eight to nine kids in my classroom who are kids that are still not at grade-level expectations for the end of the first quarter,” said Schneider, “and some who are but are struggling a bit.”

So these kids get extra practice working on concepts that are giving them trouble.

“When they come back with their peers on October 14th, hopefully they’ll be a little bit more on a level playing field with the rest of the classroom,” said Schneider.

And when intersession ends, it’s off to lunch and after school care at places like the Boys and Girls Club.

“For a lot of parents, I don’t think it’s going to sway their routine which I think they are going to be really grateful for… is that it’s going to maintain their routine.,” said Schneider.

For other parents, they’ll be enjoying the extra time in the day with their children away from school.

“It’s a great half day and the rest of the day is ours to do what ever we want,” said Deborah Nerud, parent of a student at Hamilton Early Learning Center.

“It gives us time to go on vacation. We’ve got a week long vacation planned. And we’re looking forward to it,” said Jennifer Navarro, parent of a student at Hamilton Early Learning Center.

“I think it’s a good idea, because they will get time at home. But actually my kid, he loves to be here and he’s excited about intersession,” said Rosa Alvarado, parent of a student at Hamilton Early Learning Center.

And so are the teachers who are working to fill their students will additional knowledge.

“My kids are going to be reading sooner and they’ll have more practice over those two week breaks that they’re off,” said Schneider. “They’ll just have more practice and more routine built up that they’ll be able to become better readers in the end which is one of the things that we’re looking at as a district. Are we going to make more gains then a regular school-year-calendar-school because of the time that we span out across.”

While the first quarter is officially over, the answer to that question can’t be answered until the students and teachers at this year-round school wrap up the entire school year.

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