The last first day for Hite locally
For many of Prince George's County parents, students and even some teachers, Monday was a day of firsts -- first day of kindergarten, first time on a school bus, first time at a new middle school -- but for Superintendent William Hite, it was his last first day of school in the county.
Hite will leave the county school system, which has about 123,500 students, to become Philadelphia's schools chief at the end of September, and for his last month here, Hite is hoping for "business as usual."
|Back to school|
|Aug. 20: Prince George's County Public Schools|
|Aug. 27: DC Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, Loudoun County Public Schools|
|Sept. 4: Alexandria City Public Schools, Arlington County Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, Prince William County Public Schools|
"I'm hoping to maintain a routine that is very similar to the types of routines that we've done the past six years during school opening," he said while touring Northview Elementary School, where roughly 745 Bowie students were beginning the school year.
Hite walked in and out of classrooms, looking over a fifth-grader's shoulder at a grammar worksheet and whispering with a fourth-grade student during science class.
In ensure a smooth first day back, the school offered half-hour tours to parents a couple of days before classes began, Principal Jason Simmons said. "A lot of parents got over the 'Oh wow,' and for first-time parents, we said you should definitely do a tour."
Granted, there were still some nervous parents who showed up.
"Everyone drops their kids off, or they even -- the kid catches the bus, but the parent meets them to take the pictures of the kids," said Simmons, laughing.
John Cook, whose daughter was beginning kindergarten at Rockledge Elementary School, did exactly that. "I wasn't able to be at her bus stop, so I figured I'd meet her here," he said while waiting in front of the school.
With a large camera strapped around his neck, Mark White was visibly nervous to drop his daughter off for her first day at Yorktown Elementary School.
The school system also opened a new middle school in Greenbelt, where about 1,000 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students began classes.
But for others, Monday was just another routine start to the school year.
"I've done this three times -- we're all pro at this now," said Lee Tillery, whose daughter Ava is starting the second grade at Rockledge.
The more experienced parents were looking to the future and to the selection of the new superintendent.
Nicole Ricketts and Dan Helsel, who have had four kids in Prince George's County Public Schools, hope to see more after-school activities and athletic programs. "We've got very active kids," said Ricketts, while her son bounced around in line to start his first day of kindergarten.