Prekindergartener Talon Orr was having a rough start to his Monday when it was time for him to begin school at Barksdale Elementary School. His teacher Nicole Johnson said he also has a hard time beginning the preview camp earlier this summer since he missed his mom, but then he had a wonderful time. Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
CONYERS -- It still feels like summer outside, and the calendar still says it's summer, but for Rockdale County students, it was time to start back to school on Monday, even though it was the end of July.
Rockdale County students were the first metro Atlanta public school district to begin the school year on Monday.
"(Monday) has been a great start to the new school year. School operations have gone very well," Superintendent Richard Autry on Monday said. "We had an excellent turnout at our open houses last week, which helped parents and students become familiar with their teachers, administrators and facilities. Students arrived (Monday) morning prepared and ready to begin learning."
The superintendent and his cabinet members and some members of the Rockdale County Board of Education spent the first day of school visiting with students and staff.
Teachers and administrators welcomed 14,167 students on Monday, which was on par with the 14,164 that began the school year last year around this time.
"I urge all drivers to be aware of children walking to and from school and bus stops. It can be a quite a change for drivers to have buses stopping along their normal commute to work, which may require slowing down or choosing an alternate route altogether," said Cindy Ball, director of Community Relations at RCPS. "School parking lots may experience increased traffic during the first week as well, so we ask parents to plan a little extra time as we all settle into a daily routine."
Additionally, some schools will serve as election sites today. Ten of Rockdale County's 18 voting precincts are located at public schools, with 29,059 -- or 60 percent -- of the county's active voters in those precincts.
Schools will not close for the election this week, but schools will be closed to students on general election day on Nov. 6.
While most metro Atlanta teachers are back in their classrooms already preparing for the new school year, students return to Decatur City Schools on Wednesday, Buford City and Newton County schools on Friday and Gwinnett County schools on Monday.