More than 12,600 Barrow County students started school Monday, settling into a class and getting down to the business of learning, Superintendent Wanda Creel said today.
"The teachers have created warm, inviting environments for the students," Creel wrote in an e-mail to Barrow Patch. "They are busy establishing procedures that will be utilized throughout the year."
School food nutrition teams served up 2,721 breakfast meals and 6,921 lunches Monday, and a number of students took advantage of before- and after-school programs at the elementary schools.
Creel said some of the challenges school system employees faced Monday were related to transportation, but not just buses.
"The first few days of school traditionally have more parents bringing their child(ren) to school which results in more car traffic around the school causing parents to wait a little longer than maybe anticipated," Creel wrote. "Additionally, at a few of our schools the additional traffic caused our buses to not be able to get into their bus loading zones as quickly as planned. We always err on the side of caution with the younger children and held up dismissal longer than we will once we are sure how every child will be transported and where they are to be delivered."
Regarding the transportation issues, Creel said it's difficult to predict how many students will ride the bus the first day and each day after. A few students ended up on the wrong buses.
"Upon meeting one of the buses that returned a student to the school for further instructions, I saw the principal give the child a bottled water and a snack and heard our bus driver tell the student, 'You were a great helper!'" Creel wrote. "Each year, the second day is better as we address and resolve concerns and by the end of the first week most concerns have been smoothed out."
Creel said parents should expect improvements in drop off times over the next week.
"Our transportation department has tackled some huge opportunities this year with merging transportation information with a new student information system, a tremendous influx of over 1,000 student riders less than a week before school started by adding the students that had previously been affected by the Parental Responsibility Zone and newly registered students, and working to create safe routes that reduced the number of students riding on a bus," Creel wrote.
"The beginning of a new school year is always a time of excitement, great anticipation, and renewed expectations for the year ahead," Creel continued. "We appreciate your patience as routines settle in during this first week of school."
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