Thursday is the first day of school for the more than 6,000 students who attend Okeechobee County public schools.
It is the first school district in our area to start classes for the new year. The others start next week.
There are several new initiatives for Okeechobee County students this year.
The district is launching a new literacy program called Footsteps2brilliance for students in pre-K through second grade. The program will help prepare them for school and future learning.
Students in grades kindergarten to 12th grade will get new social studies textbooks and kids kindergarten through fifth grade will get new reading materials.
The district says the textbooks will "provide students with current, rigorous and exciting materials to support their goal of achieving excellence."
Also this year, grades second to fifth will receive Chromebooks, giving all students in grades two to 12 one electronic device each.
This is part of the 'Digital Classroom Plan', which funds the “1:1” initiative, one device to one student. It will also fund a Teacher on Special Assignment who will work with the elementary teachers who are implementing 1:1 for the first time.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office warns drivers to be on the lookout for school buses as they get readjusted into the school routine.
The sheriff's office also recommends parents drop off their kids as close to the school as possible, and wait until they are inside the building before leaving.
If students ride their bikes to school, make sure they wear helmets. And for bus riders, have them get to the bus stop early and wait on the sidewalk until the bus comes to a complete stop.