SEBRING — The campuses came alive again Thursday with a flurry of activity on the first day of 2017-18 school year at the School Board of Highlands County’s schools.
At the elementary level, many parents accompany their children to their classroom on the first day.
Parent Melissa Jones said her daughters, fourth-grader Abby and first-grader Morgan, were so excited they hardly got any sleep the night before, but they were ready to go in the morning.
Both her daughters enjoy math and reading, she said.
“Morgan is in HAART (Advanced Academics Rising Together) so she already had her first project this year,” Jones said.
Morgan was bringing her project to school — a poster with photos and information about herself and her family.
Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Programs Anne Lindsay, who was assisting at Woodlawn Elementary School, said indications showed enrollment will be up at many schools.
“It looks like we are bustin’ at the seams,” she exclaimed, as more students arrived at the school.
Some families are just returning from vacation so there will likely be a jump in enrollment Monday and it will settled by the 10th-day enrollment count, Lindsay said.
The district and school-by-school enrollment count was delayed due to a new system, according to the Management Information Systems Department.
Third-grade teacher Dara Judah, who is in her 13th year at Woodlawn, said she was “anxiously waiting for students.”
Along with “fun stuff” to get started, each student’s desk has a letter written by a student in her class at the end of the last school year.
There have been some changes with the new recess requirements. Last year, recess was scheduled on the days students did not have physical education, Judah said. One day each week had a 30-minute recess period and one day had a 15-minute recess.
Now recess will be 20 minutes every day, she said.
“My schedule just worked out perfect — the recess is the last 20 minutes of the day,” Judah said. “So it is kind of our wind-down and get our backpacks and go. It will be a pretty easy transition for me.”
Third-grade teacher Shannon Wolkiewicz, who is in her third year at Woodlawn, said the third-grade will be departmentalized this year so she will only be teaching English Language Arts and social studies to two classes of students. Then students will go to another teacher for math and another teacher for science.
“It is definitely a big change for us in the schedule,” she said.
Music teacher Laura Ritenour summed it up, “Nothing like the first day of school — exciting!”