Opening Day!

The first day of the 2019-20 school year is in the books!

Today our educators welcomed a record number of students back to campus in our 69 schools and special programs – also a historic high with our 37th elementary school opening this year.

Our school registrars are still in the process of deleting no shows, but early indications are that our student population is up by several hundred compared with the first day of school last August.

Members of our central office team fanned out across the district to support a smooth opening, and consensus from our principals is that today was one of the best first days ever. Now we just need to repeat that 176 times.

We started taking care of students before 7 a.m. this morning when our 252 big yellow buses hit the roads. We can be proud that for the first time in more than a decade we are fully staffed in our transportation department with 277 bus drivers.

Several community members joined our elementary school students on the buses, encouraging them to read on the way to and from school and helping start their day knowing that everyone in Fayette County is invested in their success.

Our cafeterias served 30,015 meals today, including 7,346 pieces of pizza and 115,116 pieces of popcorn chicken. Our custodians and operations teams cleaned and maintained more than 8 million square feet.

Those statistics paint the picture of the scope of just how large our organization is. But the most important number today was one.

One kindergarten teacher who knelt beside a tearful child and helped him feel loved on the first day of school. One high school counselor who welcomed a new student, set up her class schedule and encouraged her to take challenging classes she’d never considered at her old school. One middle school custodian who reassured a frazzled sixth grader and showed him one more time how to open his locker. One principal who knew the name of every child who walked through the doors of her school. One family resource center coordinator who saw an eighth grader walk in without supplies or a backpack and met his needs without his friends even noticing. One algebra II teacher who could tell with a single glance that a student she’d had two years earlier was hurting and needed a bear hug before homeroom.

The individual connections we make one at a time with the students and families we serve are the ones that matter most.

To kick off the school year with a reminder of the possibility within each student we serve, I hope you’ll take a moment to watch this short video about Leon, who this time last year was an 18-year-old ninth grader with five high school credits.

The men and women who work in our district are the most talented and passionate team I have ever known. You change the world one interaction at a time and it is an honor to serve with you.

Your Partner,

Manny