FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It’s official – the long summer break is over and it’s time to start the new school year for students in Broward.
The county’s public school district is the sixth largest district in the county and second largest in the state behind Miami-Dade.
More than 270-thousands students headed back to class Monday at more than 200 schools.
Bus driver Gwendolyn Harris said she was ready to go at the crack of dawn.
“I’m very prepared, I know all my stops, I got the same route I had last year,” she said.
Among the students there were the usual Day 1 jitters following a tough wake up call after a very long summer.
“Um it was stressful,” said one student, “I had to find my outfit, it was really hard.”
But there was excitement too for the new year.
“Meeting my teachers, my classmates,” said Brieyel Young.
“I know I’m gonna do good this year, so I’m not nervous,” said another student.
For some parents dropping off there was a different kind of feeling.
“This is his Senior year so it’s kind of emotional, it’s my baby,” said Terry Aydelott.
Superintendent Robert Runcie said he was excited at the prospect of a new school year.
“The class of kindergarten students that are entering school today are the graduating class of 2030. We don’t know what the world is going to look like in 2030 so what we have to do is make sure that we prepare our kids to be critical thinkers, to be able to develop all the skills they will need to succeed in a 21st century global economy. That’s the exciting part of doing this work,” said Runcie.
There are some new things happening this year in the county.
First, middle school students at 24 schools can take a high school level computer science course. Also, new this year – the district is increasing the number of schools participating in the Global Scholars Program from 16 to 19 schools. The program connects students with students from around the world.
This year there will be more schools offer the dual language program. The districts debate program is also expanding to 21 additional elementary schools.
There will be more athletic options for middle school students, the district is now offering golf and cross country.
Finally, the county has expanded the number of digital classrooms to provide a personalized, blending learning environment with a one-to-one student computer raion.
Since there will be a solar eclipse on Monday, classes will go on as scheduled but students who do not attend the first day will be excused.
Angel Gomez, the Principal at Piper High, said they’re not overplaying the whole eclipse.
“I don’t want to remind the kids too much because you know what happens when you tell someone not to look at the sun, they look at the sun,” said Gomez. “I think our numbers are going to be a little bit lower, but we’ll get them tomorrow, tomorrow will be the second, 1st day of school.”
All outdoor activities such as recess, physical education, and band practice will be moved indoors during the hours of the eclipse.