Assignment: Education – La Crosse’s Year-Round School Pilot Program a Success

Hamilton Elementary 45-15 calendar completes a three-year pilot; principal calls it a success

The year-round school pilot program in the La Crosse School District is coming to an end, and the district is calling the three-year pilot a success.

The 45-15  year-round school calendar at Hamilton Elementary was approved as a pilot project by the La Crosse School Board.

The year-round calendar offers students a six-week summer break with three three-week breaks built into the school year.

The school’s principal says demand is strong with full classrooms and a waiting list of students hoping to attend in the fall. He says the year-round calendar has led to many benefits.

“What we’ve noticed is when kids come to us in July, after having six weeks off as opposed to three months, they pick up where they leave off, generally,” said Steve Michaels, Hamilton/SOTA I Elementary Schools’ principal. “For those kids who have a learning disability, their recovery rate is about two weeks for them to get back where they left off.”

This reduction in summer slide allows teachers to start the school year with new content and minimal review.

Test scores are showing this calendar is helping to close the achievement gap for the large number of students at Hamilton who live in poverty.

“More and more of our kids are at grade level, and that’s a big shift for us,” said Michaels. “So, to have that many of those kids making the same kind of growth and closing that (achievement) gap is a real thing for us.”

The school has also seen fewer office referrals for poor behavior.

The principal believes consistent expectations and having a routine has helped reduce behavior issues.

The 45-15 school calendar at Hamilton Elementary is already set for next year.

You can see what the calendar looks like be going to the “schools” tab on the La Crosse School District’s website,