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Bulloch County Schools back in session
New school year begins smoothly
New Sallie Zetterower Elementary School Principal Julie Mizell, right, joins David Brown's fifth-grade class as the students get to know one another on the first day of school Thursday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Break out the book bags, the No. 2 pencils and the new threads.

In Bulloch County Thursday, students in kindergarten through high school began classes for the 2013-14 academic year.

At schools everywhere, parents packed parking lots and walked in their youngsters, while teachers and administrators worked to maintain order on the hectic day.

According to Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson, everyone was settled in and back to routines by lunchtime, and the annual event went off without a hitch.

"Everything seems to have gone well today," Wilson said Thursday afternoon. "It looks like everybody is having a great day back. Transportation was running smoothly this morning."

As for students being dropped off, Wilson said parents should be patient during the first few days of the school year as bus drivers get to know their routes. Also, heavy rains during the last several weeks have limited access to some dirt roads.

At Sallie Zetterower Elementary School, first-year principal Julie Mizell said the year could not have gotten off to a better start.

"This morning has run like clockwork," Mizell said, just as the first wave of students dug into the year's inaugural school lunch. "All of the kids have been excited and I haven't had anyone crying; so it has been a good morning."

Students spent the better part of their day on formalities.

In classrooms throughout the school, youngsters were briefed on rules and procedures.

Students in Avery Parker's fifth-grade class flipped through packets that included lunch calendars and student handbooks while Parker went over rules for bathroom and hallway etiquette.

In the cafeteria, kindergartners learned the process for getting to —  in a very straight line —  and through the school lunch line.

"Things are going great. The kids are learning the rules and routines, and basic classroom procedures," kindergarten teacher Ansley Mays said. "The biggest thing is getting them to know our schedule and rules, like sharing and treating each other well."

About how well the school's newest kids have taken to class, Mays quipped: "They are adjusting better than some of their parents this morning! They are doing great."

In many classes, introductions were in order.

Fifth-grade teacher Kenny Anderson designed an activity to familiarize students with one another. It required them to choose favorite numbers and share reasons for their selection —  be it their mom's favorite number, or the number on their football jersey —  with the class.

"We are on well on our way," said Mizell, who also noted that she is looking forward to many more great days during her first year on the job.

"I am very excited about being at Sallie Z. I feel that my role here is to support my teachers and make sure they give the solid foundation to children that they will need throughout their educational careers," she said.

In total, 9,515 students attended district schools Thursday, said Hayley Greene, the system's public relations and marketing specialist.

Attendance on the final day of school in May was recorded at 9,891 —  that school year began with 9,603 attendees.
Greene said attendance numbers tick up as the year progresses, and the district expects to surpass 10,000 students in 2013-14.

Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.


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