View the slideshow from the first day of school.
View video highlights from the first day of school
The 2012-2013 school year began smoothly in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, with more than 140,000 students in kindergarten through high school arriving at 159 schools for the first day of class.
The district also expects an additional 3,100 pre-kindergarten students. Nearly 1,000 buses will travel more than 105,600 miles each school day delivering students, and more than 180,000 meals will be served.
Superintendent Heath E. Morrison visited 10 schools throughout the district on the first day: Ardrey Kell, Hawk Ridge, Smithfield, Sedgefield, Garinger, Chantilly Montessori, Northwest School of the Arts, West Charlotte High, Oakdale Elementary and Bradley Middle.
He began the day by greeting Ardrey Kell students at a bus stop and escorting students who were walking to Hawk Ridge Elementary. He also visited three homeroom classes at Ardrey Kell, where he inquired about students’ plans after graduation from high school.
“You are juniors now,” Dr. Morrison told the students. “You need to begin preparing early, whether that means attending a four-year college, community college or entering straight into the workforce.”
At Smithfield Elementary, his next stop, he visited three classrooms -- two first-grade and one fifth-grade. He read “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and a story about raccoons called “Back to School.”
Dr. Morrison also encouraged the students to express appreciation to their teachers at least once a week. “One of the greatest gifts a teacher gets is when a student says ‘thank you’,” he told media representatives after the visit.
At Sedgefield, the superintendent welcomed sixth-graders and exchanged summer-vacation stories. He also promised his support, telling them “I do everything I can to support your principal and teachers, so they can support you.”
In an eighth-grade Montessori class at Sedgefield, Dr. Morrison helped student Alec Shelton with a “find someone who” exercise. The student was looking for someone who had seen a hurricane – and the superintendent had.
During his visit to Garinger High, Dr. Morrison worked out in the school’s new Fit lab, part of an initiative to promote healthy living. He also talked with several students about what they love about Garinger and what could use improvement in the district.
“We want to be able to give you a quality education,” he told the students. “Once you graduate, we want you to know that your time was well spent here in CMS.”
One student suggested that CMS could be better if it offered more technical classes to prepare students to enter into the workforce. A second student suggested more foreign language courses – aside from the Chinese, French and Spanish classes the school already provides.
The students told him what they planned to do after high school. Many of the students plan to study engineering, sports medicine and pre-med.
At Oakdale Elementary, Dr. Morrison observed kindergarten students navigate computers in the school’s computer lab as fifth-grade students worked through math problems on the interactive white board.
First-year teacher Amber Heath attended the CMS new teacher orientation a few weeks ago and heard Dr. Morrison speak. She was happy to have him observe her classroom on the first day of school.
“I’ve wanted to be a teacher for a long time,” she said. “I overcame a lot of challenges to get here and I’m excited to be part of CMS. It meant a lot to have him in my classroom.”