ALCOA (WATE) – Alcoa City Schools were back in session Monday. Some of the students walking in were a little groggy, but many were anxiously looking forward to it.
“I’m really excited and really nervous, but I think that I’m going to have fun,” said third grade student Riley Bowles.
It is not even August yet and the Alcoa students were already ending their summer break.
“We get to meet new people and new teachers,” fifth grade student Jake Hodge said, adding that is his favorite part of the first day of school.
All Alcoa schools started with a full day and a full week to get the kids back into their school year habits.
“We have a lot of conversations with them in the morning. We have a community time in the gym each day where our teachers come in and almost like socialize with the kids and get them talking,” said Michelle Knight, principal of Alcoa Intermediate School.
They are starting off the school year with a common reading project, a book called “Wonder.” It teaches kindness, and all across the school you could see examples of that like a kindness Post-It note board with notes of encouragement written all over it.
“Regardless of what you’re nervous about, regardless of what your disability might be, regardless of what your appearance is and what your home struggles are we use that to teach kids empathy and how to think of things from another perspective,” Knight said.
The school is also able to offer free breakfast for all students this year through a grant they received. All that was planned and in place so when the kids arrived Monday morning everything was ready to go as another school year got underway.
Emerald Youth Academy staff line up to high-five returning students
Emerald Youth Academy in Knox County also welcomed back students for their first day of the school year.
Students received a warm welcome as they were dropped off them off. Faculty, staff, school board members and members of the community lined-up to cheer on the 360 students and give them high-fives as they entered the school.
“We want it to be a welcoming environment from the very first time they step on the Emerald Academy property for their first day of the new school year, just to give them that support and that welcoming attitude as soon as they’re here,” said John Crooks with Emerald Academy.
Crooks says Emerald Academy wants its students to be thinking about their college education from an early age so each classroom is named after different universities.