It was a busy morning throughout Manatee County. Alarm clocks rang out earlier than usual, children dressed in their favorite outfits, and school buses were back on the road. It’s the first day of school and the start of the 2017-2018 year for 49,500 students and 6,800 employees of the School District of Manatee County!
Before sunrise, School Board members joined Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene and other district staff, to send-off 144 school buses. Each person wore a t-shirt printed with #WeManatee as they waved goodbye to drivers leaving the Matzke Support Center. Their signs read, “Thank you.” Approximately 16,000 students were transported daily last year at 15,000 miles-per-day. That equals 427,287 gallons of fuel consumed by school buses last year.
The district’s seven traditional public high schools are the first to welcome students back for the new year. Classes at most high schools begin at 7:30 a.m. Principal Rosa Faison greeted students this morning as they were dropped off. This is her second year as the leader of Southeast High School; she has worked for the School District since 2009.
Dr. Diana Greene has a busy schedule on the first day of school. Her third stop for the day (during her third year as Superintendent) was Palma Sola Elementary School. That’s where she read “The Sandwich Swap” to Mrs. Burt’s third grade class. “The new year is off to a GREAT start! It’s our students, staff, parents, & community that make this School District so successful,” she wrote in a Tweet [@DrDianaGreene].
Meanwhile at Wakeland Elementary School, the president of the PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) gives an interview to Manatee Schools Television about the upcoming year. It’s the final “first day of school” for Stefano Biancardi. In December, after working more than 35 years in the School District — the MSTV Supervisor, and former teacher, will retire.
The school day is underway at Bayshore Elementary School and students get to know their first grade teacher, Debbie Haggerty. She started the day with roll call – a familiar tradition since she started in her position in 1990. There are 32 traditional public elementary schools in Manatee County and approximately 2,900 teachers, which includes media specialists and guidance counselors.
One of 10 traditional middle schools, Haile Middle, has a brand new principal at the helm. Kate Collis welcomed 447 new sixth graders today during an assembly. Students received handbooks and learned about their class schedules. More than 100 staff members from four administration sites also help out on the first day of school to ensure that students across the school district get the assistance they need to succeed!
#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.