School open; Class of 2025 begins its journey
On Monday, the Class of 2017 started high school and the Class of 2025 started kindergarten.
Roughly 41,000 students started school, catching the bus, attending classes, eating lunch in the cafeteria and getting to know their new environment.
Superintendent Mary Ellis said the first day of school is always the best day for her. This year was her 35th first day of school and she said probably the best yet.
"(It was) wonderful. Absolutely wonderful," she said.
She said the buses were by and large on time, though some kids missed theirs, and there were no major safety problems reported, according to a statement from the school system.
"Children came to school and they came ready to learn," Ellis said. "Every teacher I saw had a big smile on his or her face.."
She said it was obvious the teachers were all there for the right reason, to help children.
One glitch was the roll-out of PowerSchool, Ellis said. It is a new program that replaces NC WISE to track student's grades, attendance, discipline and other school-related data.
This is the first time Pearson, the company that developed it, rolled out the softeware on a state level. Ellis said the superintendents petitioned the state superintendent to defer implementation, but it went live today. She said superintendents are skeptical of it and it did not go smoothly today.
By-and-large, the day ran smoothly across the districts. Year-round schools have been in session since July.
Ellis has large hopes for her second school year.
"My hopes for this school year is that every child is safe, because as a mama that's the absolute first thing I want to know...the second thing is that every child will learn," she said.
She said she wants every child to come home a little smarter than they were when they left that morning. She also hopes to teach the children about being good partners.
Safety is first and foremost in many minds, particularly after the incident in Atlanta recently where a man tried to bring a gun into an elementary school. This year there are new school resource officers in every middle school and other safety implementations are in the works.
Ellis said there will be bumps during the school year, but Monday was not one of them.
"Today was a day that typifies what is right in our school system," Ellis said. "Children were eager, teachers were loving and supportive and every classroom had a sense of energy and a sense of expectation, all the parents with whom I spoke were happy that their children were back in school and supportive of the school."
"Today was just a symbol to me of what is right in this world," Ellis said.