School is in session

BACK TO SCHOOL: Hundreds of students were back to school bright and early on Monday, many excited to see old friends and begin another year. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

BACK TO SCHOOL: Hundreds of students were back to school bright and early on Monday, many excited to see old friends and begin another year. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

School staff, students adjusting to early start date

MECOSTA COUNTY — The school hallways are once again booming with the sounds of students as many districts began the first day of the 2015-16 year on Monday.

After three months of summer vacation, many students excitedly stepped off the bus, anxious to find their lockers, meet friends and settle down in their classes.

The first day of school excitement was just as full of energy as years past, even though students began classes a week earlier than normal.

During the summer, Curtis Finch, superintendent of the Mecosta Osceola Intermediate School District, worked to obtain a waiver from the Michigan Department of Education allowing students to start school before Labor Day.

Many school administrators believe an earlier start date will allow students to finish the school year earlier in June.

“It’s really great to get the students back,” Finch said. “I know the kids are excited and some even asked me why we didn’t start earlier.”

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Students at Big Rapids Middle School stood outside on the first day of school and said the Pledge of Allegiance before heading into class. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Students at Big Rapids Middle School stood outside on the first day of school and said the Pledge of Allegiance before heading to class. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

At Big Rapids Middle School, students and staff celebrated the first day by gathering together in the gym to introduce the new staff before heading outside to watch the replacement of the school’s American flag.

“It was such a great first day,” said BRMS principal Lenore Weaver. “The students, staff and parents made it such a smooth transition.”

First day of school jitters may have impacted many students, but administrators and staff were just as anxious.

“I was so excited for the first day I couldn’t sleep last night,” laughed James Nelson, principal of Morley Stanwood High School.

After trying out locker combinations and meeting new teachers, students at MSHS quickly settled into a routine as they began their studies.

TRUE HAPPINESS: Lenore Weaver, principal of Big Rapids Middle School, receives a hug from eighth grader Torrey Newcombe on the first day of school. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

TRUE HAPPINESS: Lenore Weaver, principal of Big Rapids Middle School, receives a hug from eighth grader Torrey Newcombe on the first day of school. (Pioneer photo/Adam Gac)

“I’m always excited for the first day. It’s always fun,” said Roger Cole, Morley Stanwood Community Schools superintendent.

Cole greeted students as they came off the bus and answered many questions, but what he was most excited for was to learn how many children were in school that day.

“We expected to have 1,169 kids,” he said. “If we have that many, I would be satisfied. It’s always nice to have more, but that wouldn’t be a bad number.”

The MOISD staff were problem solving as students came back to school.

“With the Education Center construction finishing up, we are finding new problems to solve throughout the day,” Finch said.

For example, staff worked together to find new routes around the building that is currently under construction.

Administrators also only had a chance to welcome in half of their students as many Career Center members were not in attendance.

“Some of the schools are not open yet and some are keeping the kids for the first few days,” Finch said. “But the Education Center is full because those students don’t go through a public school district.”

ANOTHER YEAR SMARTER: Students, teachers and parents mingled in the halls of G.T. Norman Elementary as students put away their materials and prepared themselves for the first day of school. (Pioneer photo/Karin Armbruster)

ANOTHER YEAR SMARTER: Students, teachers and parents mingled in the halls of G.T. Norman Elementary as students put away their materials and prepared themselves for the first day of school. (Pioneer photo/Karin Armbruster)

Reed City Area Public Schools administrators and staff also welcomed students for the first day of school, many with smiles from ear to ear.

“I’m really ready to get the ball rolling,” said Tim Webster, RCAPS superintendent.

One of the many things Webster is looking forward to for the 2015-16 school year is watching how the new teachers adjust to the district.

“I hired eight new teachers this year,” he said. “I am looking forward to having fresh ideas in the schools.”

NEW SUPPLIES: Shannon Holbrock, a second-grade student at G.T. Norman Elementary School, carefully unpacks her new school supplies on the first day of school Monday. (Pioneer photo/Karin Armbruster)

NEW SUPPLIES: Shannon Holbrock, a second-grade student at G.T. Norman Elementary School, carefully unpacks her new school supplies on the first day of school Monday. (Pioneer photo/Karin Armbruster)

Staff at Evart Public Schools were excited how well the first day of school went.

“I think it’s one of our smoother first days,” said Howard Hyde, superintendent of EPS. “Parents of elementary school students tend to drop their students off the first day, so the second day the kids are learning how to use the bus and that makes it a little busier.”

With the school year just getting started, Hyde believes an earlier start date will help the transition from summer vacation to early school days.

“It’s nice because the students have two, four-day weeks,” he said.

Chippewa Hills School District starts today, Tuesday, Sept. 1, and Crossroads Charter Academy begins on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

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Posted by Katlyn Vuillemot

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