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Schools welcome 13,812

Taking attendance: In room 402, kindergartners in Ms. Britt’s class sit as their teacher takes attendance. There are 1,064 expected kindergarteners in Suffolk Public Schools this year.

One young student had to be coaxed off the school bus at Oakland Elementary School on Tuesday, the first day of school.

But once off, he went running toward the school eager to begin his first day.

He was just one of the 13,812 students expected to start school on Tuesday at one of the 23 Suffolk public schools this year, according to schools spokesperson Bethanne Bradshaw.

“The kids are so excited and happy, it’s always great to see,” Oakland Elementary School Principal Christopher Phillips said. “They’re smiling and dressed up and prepared for the first day. Even though they say they don’t want to come back to school, those smiles indicate something different.”

Expected to begin their very first day of school were 1,064 kindergarteners, the future class of 2023.

The class of 2010 is expected to have 832 graduating 12th graders, some of whom began their last first day of school at 6:02 a.m., when the first bus of the day was scheduled to pick up a group of Lakeland High School students.

Waiting to welcome new and old students was a small army of 1,085 Suffolk Public School teachers, 88 of whom are new this year, in the schools. These teachers include guidance counselors, media specialists, specialty program teachers and speech pathologists.

Sharing in the excitement with teachers and students were school administrators.

“It’s an advantage of education that you get to start each year over,” Suffolk Public Schools’ interim superintendent Deran Whitney said in August. “It gives you time to evaluate the last year, take what you learned and try different strategies and techniques. Needless to say, we’re excited at the potential this year holds.”

For students in Suffolk’s private schools, the first-day-of-school excitement has worn off, as those facilities started their school year last month. For them, Tuesday was just the first day back after a holiday.