For thousands of parents, Monday morning brought a considerable shift in the schedules of their everyday, summertime lives.
For waves of K-12 students across the Twin Counties, it was the beginning of an exciting new school year.
The 153 buses Nash-Rocky Mount school officials have referred to as “big, yellow Cadillacs” once again had returned to the roads in full force.
The summertime hiatus most definitely had lapsed, and it was time to return to the classroom as dozens of schools welcomed waves of parents and children for the start of the 2013-14 year.
Walking her daughter through the halls of Edwards Middle School before the first bell, Kimberly Whitaker said she is looking forward to a good experience for her children this year.
“It will be a big change the first couple weeks,” Whitaker said. “It will take a little while, but I’m sure we will get comfortable with it in a couple weeks or so and fit into the routine.”
The Nash-Rocky Mount school district is undergoing tremendous changes this year, including implementing a new student reassignment scenario, upgrading security measures to effectively lock down all schools and bringing in a technological overhaul that will put iPad tablets and MacBook Air laptops into the hands of a majority of students.
School officials said a little more than 2,000 reassigned students are going to new schools this year.
Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson said he was pleased with how the first day of school unfolded.
“While we experienced the normal first-day transitions, our administrators, educators and other staff took deliberate care to ensure that we were ready to start the year off with excellence,” Jackson said in prepared statement. “Our students arrived eager to start a great year, and our staff members welcomed them with enthusiasm and compassion.”
The district’s theme this year is “No Limits … Possibilities 2.0,” and Jackson said the learning he saw visiting classrooms throughout Monday was only a glimpse of great things to come.
“I must also thank our parents and family members for the role they played in making our opening of school a successful one,” Jackson said. “We have a number of new initiatives that we are in the process of implementing – PowerSchool, our new school security access control and the reassignment of over 2000 students. Our families continue to be patient as we work through these processes, and we appreciate their support.”
As a teacher and the chairwoman of Nash Central High School’s science department, Catherine Melle said she and her fellow teachers welcome back students and do their job because they love it.
“We love the students that we educate and lose countless hours of sleep wondering what we can do to help them learn all they can learn,” Melle said in a prepared statement. “As educators, we are indeed underpaid and overworked, but our reward is seeing our students reach their maximum potential.”
Julian Martinez walked his son, Joshua, into Englewood Elementary School and said transitioning from the summertime to the school routine will take some initial getting used to.
“The technology upgrades are going to be good because we are seeing so much more of that nowadays,” Martinez said.
Edgecombe County Public Schools welcomed back about 6,100 students this year, and the first day passed without any problems, school officials said.
“It was a very smooth day,” Public Information Officer Kristian Herring said. “We look forward to that being symbolic of the way the whole year is going to go.”
John Farrelly, the district’s superintendent, said in a prepared statement he is looking forward to an “excellent academic year.”
“We are thrilled to have students in our 14 schools today,” Farrelly said. “Students are returning to stronger instructional programs under the leadership of our school-based administrative teams. I am excited about the learning opportunities and experiences our students will engage in with our exemplary teachers across the district.”