Superintendent Damon Raines and members of the central office visited the schools to see that things were running smoothly and any challenges were being resolved.
"Students seemed to be eager to get back to school after the extended calendar and the extra month off,” Raines said. “The (first) day went extremely well."
The new school year began Sept. 4.
Students at Ridgeland High School received updated schedules upon arriving and met their new principal, Glen Brown, previously principal at Rossville Middle School.
The new schedule increased the amount of learning time students have.
LaFayette High School has a new fine arts department with a new band director, chorus teacher and art teacher.
Raines, who is in his first year as superintendent, stopped at several of the schools around the county. At Naomi Elementary he greeted several parents, volunteers and teachers.
"The administrative teams at each school did an excellent job of carefully planning so that the first day was productive, efficient and back to business,” Raines said. “Effective teamwork was apparent at every school.”
He even gave a few words of encouragement to some bewildered pre-kindergarteners as they ate their first school breakfast.
The school system has incorporated changes to meet new Common Core Georgia Performance Standards.
"There seems to be a laser-focus this year on our graduation rate,” Raines said. “Everyone is aware of the role they play in the lives of students as we build together toward that goal."
The school system’s maintenance and operations staff has also been working on finishing details to the Jim Smith Planetarium and has recently received the certificate of occupancy.
The planetarium is already booking dates for classes with the first group planned for Sept. 17.
Superintendent Raines recently toured the facility and was excited with what he considered to be “limitless possibilities” for utilization within curriculum standards for students of all ages.
To offset the maintenance and transportation costs, students will pay a $4 entry fee. Teachers and parents who accompany the classes are admitted free.
Contractors have removed the portion of the building damaged by storms in June 2011.
The second floor of block work is well under way at Saddle Ridge Elementary and Middle School, according to Chris Jones, director of facilities. It is currently on schedule to open for students next fall.
A planned addition to LaFayette High School will begin later this year. Renovation plans are being finalized with J&J Contractors.
The makeover will provide a new roof for the building, in addition to more classrooms and a field house, among other renovations.
Other summertime projects include a kitchen renovation at Naomi Elementary, the resurfacing of Chattanooga Valley Middle School’s track, and tile flooring installation at four elementary schools.
The school system’s website has been redesigned with improved functionality and a focus on expanded information for parents.