Update 7:45 p.m.: The last student was dropped off from a Jefferson County Public Schools bus at 6:35 p.m., 20 minutes earlier than the first day of school last year, said Ben Jackey, a school district spokesman. Jackey described Wednesday as a “typical first day.”
Earlier: Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Donna Hargens wakes up earlier than usual on the first day of school. Today, she was up at 3 a.m.
“It’s exciting,” she said.
Hargens said the first day of school gives everyone involved with the education process in JCPS—students, families, school staff and administrators—the chance to see all the work that was done over the summer put into action.
And Hargens said all that work is with one goal in mind: learning.
“If the first day of school is about learning, it’s successful,” she said Wednesday morning. “Students need to remember that they’ve only got 175 days and learning is really important.”
For school administrators, getting the more than 102,000 students expected to be enrolled in JCPS to school so they can get started in the educational process is a task not taken lightly.
The logistics of getting every student on the right bus, at the right school, in the right classroom can be troublesome and schools have unique methods for ensuring everything goes smoothly.
Bryce Hibbard, the principal at Southern High School, said the key to a successful first day is being flexible. He said there was a nervous atmosphere in the school leading up to opening day, but he had no problems to report.
“Everything is together, staff is ready, kids are coming. So, yea, it will be a good day,” he said.
Ben Jackey, a district spokesman, said the start of the school year is “never issue free,” but this year had no major problems to report.
Taking into account nearly 70,000 students will ride on the district’s 975 buses, some delays can be expected. And district officials have already warned families to expect afternoon delays, as extra caution will be taken to ensure students are on the correct bus.
Teresa Walker, a JCPS bus driver, said her ride with a group of students to Southern High School went smooth.
“They were real quiet this morning. It’s the first day, so they are going to be nervous or scared or whatever the case is,” she said. ”I want kids to go home the same way they got on.”