It had been little more than two months since Bulloch County schools were last open, but when classes resumed Wednesday, students and teachers did not miss a beat.
Everyone was back in the saddle and settling into normal routines for area schools’ first day of classes, schools Superintendent Charles Wilson said.
“Students seem happy, parents seem to be happy and everyone is already down to business,” Wilson said midday at Mattie Lively Elementary while students were breaking for lunch. “I have been to four schools this morning, and, from what I’ve seen, things have moved along very quickly and very well. Things are as calm as could be.”
“We’re seeing a lot of smiles. It is wonderful to see people interested in learning and wanting to be back in school,” he said.
Plenty of those smiling faces could be seen at Lively, the district’s newest school building, which opened its doors to students for the first time Wednesday.
Lines of wide-eyed, chatty children wound through halls during the morning hours, as teachers led classes on tours of the new facility.
“The level of excitement this morning was unbelievable. The students came excited, the parents were excited and teachers were thrilled to have students in the new classrooms,” said Jennifer Quick, Lively’s principal. “We are just ready to learn this year. It is awesome.”
Even with the thrill of a new school, it was not long before students were once again hard at work. In the first-grade classrooms of Sheryl Littles and Kate Hankins, children were listening intently to their teachers, taking turns answering questions before lunch.
“I have been in several classrooms this morning, and the teachers have the Smart Boards already running, the children have papers and pencils in hand, and teachers were going over routines,” said Melody Waters, an intervention specialist for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. “It was just a normal day for Mattie Lively.”
Wilson said the calm and structure of Day 1 activities extended to all schools in the district, continuing through the final bell.
“Everything went really well. Everything was a typical first day,” Wilson said later in the day. “Things seem to have gone very smoothly.”
The only noticeable change from last semester: more students.
“Our first day enrollment count last year was 9,220,” he said. “Our count today was 9,603.”
To account for growing enrollment in some schools — which are nearing capacity — Wilson said school officials will look later this year into altering transportation zones, which would send students to less-populated schools such as Sallie Zetterower and Lively elementary schools. If changes are made, they wouldn’t take effect until the 2013-14 school year at the earliest.
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.