BELOIT—Wednesday was a big day in Beloit as the School District of Beloit and The Lincoln Academy had their first day of school for the year with pleasant weather and lots of excited children and parents.

At Todd Elementary School in the School District of Beloit at 1621 Oakwood Ave. kids were getting to know each other and their teachers, with lots of new 4K students at Todd for the first time.

“We had enough 4K students for another section, which is a good thing,” said Todd Principal Melody Wirgau.

Wirgau said the first day was off to a great start with students getting to know each other and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports instruction and behavior lessons set for Thursday.

Wirgau was happy to report Todd received the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant funding to offer before and after school programming free to families. The afterschool program will provide yoga, outside activities, science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and mathematics (STREAM) and more.

Dual language enrollment in Spanish and English is continuing in every grade at the school.

Students also will be getting new Chromebook computers to use. Wirgau said teachers could either record lessons or do simulcast instruction if a student had to quarantine and keep up with lessons at home. Students will be practicing taking their new Chromebooks to and from school to be prepared.

Wirgau said Todd staff members were able to make contact with almost all families prior to school starting, with some staff making home visits. The school has an earlier start time at 7:30 a.m. this year which some families were still adjusting to.

The school was officially fully staffed as of Wednesday.

“It’s off to a good start,” Wirgau said. “And it’s a nice day weather wise,” she said.

Masks are being required for all staff and students in the School District of Beloit.

It was a momentous day for The Lincoln Academy, 608 Henry Ave., as the charter school was opening its doors to its first school year. Staff, dressed in uniforms like the students, waved pom poms and danced to some energizing tunes as students entered the new school on a red carpet. Four buses brought in students and lots of cars were in the drive through lane.

The new 4-year-old kindergarten to grade 12 charter school is a public school, and authorized through the UW System. Tuition is free to families, and enrollment is open to any Wisconsin student. As a public school, it will be funded by taxpayer dollars, but may also receive private donations and grant funds.

ABC Supply Company Chairman and Lincoln Academy Secretary Diane Hendricks said “today is wonderful” on Wednesday as the new school opened. She was watching families enter the school and took some time to comfort one little boy who was a bit nervous to leave his family and go to the new school.

Lincoln Academy CEO Kristi Cole said students were going to begin the day with an assembly and then were going to head to class to learn procedures and routines. Reading, math and academics were planned shortly afterward.

“There is learning to do,” Cole said.

Masks are optional at The Lincoln Academy.