By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
Social media news feeds, including the Richmond Register’s Facebook page, were flooded Wednesday with first-day-of-school pictures posted by parents from all over the Madison County School district.
The district’s more than 10,500 students made their way to school as the sun came up, many on the 155 buses running routes that day.
Students were greeted by 834 full-time teachers, as well as para-educators and volunteers in the district’s 17 school buildings.
Every school got a visit Thursday from new Superintendent Elmer Thomas, Chief Academic Officer David Gilliam and Randy Neeley, director of pupil personnel.
“I’ve been to every school in the district before, but never all in the same day,” Thomas said while sitting down for lunch at Kingston Elementary with students from Julia Soucy’s second-grade class.
Meanwhile, 5-year-olds Aubrey Bowles, Lilly Burns and Mason Cornett were hanging out in the school’s office waiting for their first day of kindergarten to start.
Community education director Erin Stewart provided a few tips for parents as the school year begins:
• “Please be patient. There are many, many kids and many, many parents with many, many questions,” she said. “We will get every detail taken care of, but it may take a couple of days.”
• “Buses will likely be a few minutes late for the first week or so of school, especially elementary buses. Until the kids get into the routine of loading buses in the afternoon, it may take longer for buses to pull out of schools.”
• “Please be patient. If no one answers at your child’s school or at the bus garage, it is likely because there is a large volume of calls in the afternoon. Please keep trying.”
• “Please fill out all of the forms completely and return them to your child’s school as quickly as possible. We understand there are a lot of blanks to fill in. However, each of the forms sent home help us keep your child safe and well taken care of each day at school. Missing information can cause delays in checking a student out of school, getting students on the right buses, or even a child receiving care for a cut or scrape. If you need assistance completing forms, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s school or the district office.”
“Please take time to review some helpful Back to School Transitions Tips from the National Association of School Psychologists www.nasponline.org/resources/home_school/b2shandout.aspx. These tips can be very helpful in minimizing the stress students feel as they transition back to school, to a new school, into a new classroom and beyond. These tips can also help minimize the stress parents feel,” Stewart said.