Providing or accommodating round-trip transportation for more than 8,000 young people, serving breakfast and lunch to many thousands of them, acclimating hundreds to new surroundings, dealing with the glitches like balky air-conditioning or a closed road or traffic jams, introducing young students to new skills and older students to new ideas, and preparing to do it all over again tomorrow – Day 1 of the 2018-2019 school year felt pretty routine for LCPS.
Calling it uneventful would be a mistake, but a first day where nothing much out of the ordinary happens is about as good as it gets. Staff experience, good planning and the cooperation of parents made the complicated seem ordinary Monday.
“Very smooth,” Michelle Hill said in assessing opening day at Southwood Elementary School, where she’s in her fifth year as principal.
“Thursday night during orientation we talked a lot with parents about the procedures of the school,” she said. “This morning the children were anxious to get down the hallway. Teachers were ready for them; they were already in place to welcome them with open arms.
“Going into the classrooms this morning, I saw they had already started working,” she said.
It wouldn’t be the first day of school without a few glitches or some low-grade confusion. At some schools, students and parents had to adjust to new start times, which changed over the summer to adapt to LCPS’s revamped calendar for traditional schools. At Southwood, Hill’s staff anticipated a problem with a bus route – a bridge out and road closed – and solved it Friday.
“The parents have done really well. Everybody’s done well,” she said.
LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams and Associate Superintendent Frances Herring visited the 16 schools that opened Monday.
“We were very impressed,” Williams said. “Our building and grounds looked great and our staff members and students all seemed engaged and very enthusiastic. It was a great start to the 2018-2019 school year.”
There was an air of excitement surrounding Day 1, even for educators who been there many times before.
“I’ve always said the day I don’t get excited about the first day of school is the day I retire,” said Susan Glover, principal at Banks Elementary School, who’s seen more than 40 opening days as a teacher and school administrator.
“I woke up at 3 o’clock this morning,” she said Monday. “I couldn’t wait to get this day started.”