From the first set of sixth graders at Hidden Oaks Elementary to brand-new buses and improvement projects funded by the new penny sales tax, the 2017-2018 school year started Monday with many new things to celebrate throughout the School District of Palm Beach County.
More than 190,000 students returned to the classroom on Monday to start the 2017-2018 school year, with a smooth start for the District’s Transportation Services department. There was one mechanical issue out of 800 buses, and more than 90 percent of the District’s buses running on time.
“I want to thank all the folks behind the scenes who did a great job for the kids,” said Dr. Robert Avossa, Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent. “It speaks to the extensive work that was done this summer to prepare for today.”
Dr. Avossa visited five schools on Monday – Carver Middle, Glades Central High, Grassy Waters Elementary, Lake Shore Middle, and Washington Elementary. Dr. David Christiansen, Deputy Superintendent/Chief of Schools, visited Del Prado Elementary, Hidden Oaks, and Jeaga Middle.
“This is our lucky year 13 at Hidden Oaks,” said Principal Sari Myers, who opened Hidden Oaks 13 years ago and is guiding the school into the District’s second school serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. “The new K-8 is my dream, something I’ve been working toward,” Myers said.
Carver Middle and Del Prado Elementary are two of 16 schools that benefited from improvement projects this summer, paid for with proceeds from the penny sales tax. Summer projects included new roofs, weather-proofing and paving, as well as 78 new buses that hit the road for the first day of school. The sales tax is expected to generate approximately $2.7 billion over the next 10 years.
At New Horizons Elementary in Wellington, it was the first day for new Assistant Principal Orlando J. Mastrapa, who joined the school in July.
“First days of school are always memorable,” Mr. Mastrapa said. “Witnessing the smiles on our families’ faces as the school doors open and we greet them for the start of a new and exciting year is remarkable.”