New beginnings: Hamilton, Northside elementary schools open for first day of year-round school

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — It was the first day for year-round school at Hamilton and Northside elementary schools. At Hamilton, it is a big year of firsts: a new principal, new teachers and a first step back to normal.

A fresh start.

“It’s a time to kind of rebuild things and renew things—just kind of see what’s working, what’s not. What can we fix? What can we enhance?” said first-year teacher Madessa Collins.

Collins is teaching fourth and fifth grade at Hamilton Elementary. Her job as a teacher is new– but she knows the school. She student taught at Hamilton last year.

“I’m a little nervous but I’m super excited to just get started and get in the flow of things,” Collins said.

For the first time since the pandemic began, the school year is off to a normal start. For many elementary school kids, that is something new.

“This will be the first school year that a lot of kids ever had. First normal school year, I should say,” Jenna Fernholz, Hamilton Elementary principal said.

The teachers get something new too: It is Fernholz’s first year as a principal.

“I think we’re excited for a fresh start. For our kids, for our building and for me,” Fernholz said. “It’s different, but it’s exciting.”

Fernholz said the school is already buzzing.

“You could just feel the excitement of kids coming in, they were really looking forward to starting school,” Fernholz said.

Everyone is ready for something familiar.

“I feel like Hamilton really is like a family,” Collins said.

But they are also excited for something new.

Today was the first day back for those year-round schools, but summer isn’t over yet for the rest of the district. The other schools will be back in session on Sept. 1.