DALLAS COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - As students and teachers returned to the classroom for a new school year in Dallas County, officials revealed all of the new things in store for the district.
Superintendent Hattie Shelton says there's more technology, as well as a revamped vision and strategic plan for the school system, which has 11 schools, a career tech, and 3,100 students.
Shelton toured various schools throughout the day on Monday, the official first day of school in Dallas County. She started off at Salem Elementary School in Orrville.
"The children were excited. The parents were excited. And the teachers were all smiles, so I was happy to be there first thing this morning," she said.
She then made her way to Bruce K. Craig Elementary School where she spoke with administrators, teachers, and students and revealed some exciting news for the entire school system.
"Our schools are bringing in more technology. We've gone to the Chromebooks. They seem to be working well in our district so we're spreading them across the district," Shelton said. "Last year, we started with our sixth, seventh and eighth grade so this year we're going to do fourth and fifth grade. Every science class at every elementary school will have new Chromebooks coming in."
Two computer programming classes are going to start at Keith High School and Southside High School this year.
"We're piloting a program and I think that's going to be a great advantage for our children," Shelton explained. "It will be the first time that's been in our district for a while. We're participating in a grant with Tuskegee University."
Dallas County Schools have also changed their vision this year, the superintendent stated, in order for students to be ready to make their dreams for their future a reality, whether they're planning to go into a career technical field or head to college.
"Our vision is that our graduates are prepared to successfully meet their goals. We're talking to our children about goal setting and following your path and progress monitoring to see where they are and how far and how well are they doing in their efforts to meet a certain path," Shelton said.
The school district has also started its new strategic plan, which will be finalized in September.
"One of the things we're looking at is how to keep our parents and our community engaged in our school district. Our goal is to create stronger children, thereby creating stronger families and a stronger community. We know that if good education is going on, the economy rises and grows so that's our goal, to be a part of that," Shelton added.
Ebony Cox, the principal of B.K. Craig Elementary School, said she's excited about the school year that's ahead. She greeted parents and students outside Monday morning as they arrived for the first day of school.
"We also met the bus drivers. We have everyone little goodies as they came into the cafeteria. It was an opportunity for a little meet-and-greet with families," she said.
She went around to every classroom to visit with teachers and students and noted some changes this school year.
"Teachers painted their doors and added some different things. We have a superhero theme this year. Our students are academic scholars so they're our superheroes in academics here," she stated. "I'm looking forward to seeing my students excel academically and see how they transition from one grade to the next, as well as all of the field trips I have planned for them this year."
Aug. 7 was also the first day of school for Selma City Schools.
Attorney General Steve Marshall took to social media to remind the state about back-to-school safety, tweeting: "Schools are opening across Alabama this week. Please keep a lookout for school buses and children on our roads. Let's all drive safely!"