It may have gone too quickly, or maybe not quickly enough, but summer already has ended for some students, while others have a few more days to sleep in late.
Students in Muncy School District were the first in Lycoming County off the bus and into the classroom when they returned Thursday, which Superintendent Dr. Portia Brandt said is for a reason.
"We have found that going a full week is real hard on the kids to try to get them back into that routine," Brandt said. "We found that if we do just a couple of days first, they acclimate better."
PAUL BARRETT/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
New Principal Frank Jankowski welcomes back students Thursday to a new year of lessons at Myers Elementary School. From left are students Adam Rosano, Emma Heiss, Emma Mitchell, Leia Eisenhower and Ava Eisenhower.
This is the second year the district began the school year early.
"We asked the staff as a whole and it just worked out better and made sense," Brandt said.
Today will be the first day of school for Muncy kindergarteners whose last name starts with a letter in the second part of the alphabet. There are 23 children in each class. By splitting them up, she said it works better.
"There are a lot of little people leaving mommy and daddy," Brandt said. "Sometimes there are tears and grabbing of the parents' legs. 'Don't leave me here!' It works out; they acclimate better."
By Monday, all of the kindergarteners will be back, which she said is a good way to ease them in.
Monday also will be the first day back in four area school districts: East Lycoming, Williamsport, Jersey Shore and Montgomery.
At East Lycoming School District, Superintendent Michael D. Pawlik said he is extremely excited about the new digital production studio this year. The studio will allow for students to broadcast happenings in the district, such as concerts, football games and award assemblies.
Last year, the district's graduation was broadcast online, making it available for anyone in the world to watch.
Another new technology being implemented in the district is AppleTV, which is not actually television. It allows teachers to connect an iPad to a projection screen.
OneCall, the emergency alert system for parents, now has been updated to allow for parents to be alerted by multiple email addresses, cellphone numbers and landline numbers.
"We will have all of those options," Pawlik said.
At Williamsport Area School District, a new core reading program for kindergarteners to fifth graders will be used, Superintendent Dr. Kathleen R. Kelley said.
"This summer, we had over 100 teachers coming in for professional development on new programs, such as the reading program," Kelley said.
The programs will help align the district with the new common core standards put out by the state that show the standards needed to be incorporated into a curriculum so students can show proficiency and above when they take their PSSA exams, she said.
"They're called common core because (the state) wants everyone across the state to work toward the new standards," Kelley said.
This year will serve as a transition year for Williamsport.
"We must plan this entire year for transition to what essentially will be seven new schools opening in the 2013-14 school term," Kelley said. "We're moving to a new grade configuration."
It will take a lot of planning for what the curriculum will look like and how the staff will be allocated to the schools.
For Kelley, the day students return is not as important as planning the calendar for 180 school days with built-in inclement weather days.
Helping students succeed by focusing on adjusting freshmen to senior high is something new at Jersey Shore Area School District, said Superintendent Richard J. Emery.
Also new is the realignment of the school boundaries to determine which elementary school in the district students will attend, based on where they live.
At the high school level, students will focus on the common cores state standards to prepare for their senior testing, Emery said.
Going back on Monday is "pretty traditional," he said, and similar to other schools to keep consistent with other graduation dates in the county.
South Williamsport, Loyalsock Township and Montoursville school districts all will return Tuesday.
Like Williamsport and Jersey Shore, South Williamsport Area School District will focus on the state changes and transitioning to the common core when students return to school Tuesday, Superintendent Mark Stamm said.
At Loyalsock Township School District, students go back on Tuesday to plan around the Little League World Series, which will end Sunday with the championship game, Superintendent Robert Grantier said.
With so many people helping out at the Series, "it gives people a little breath before they jump right into school," Grantier said. "We keep that in mind when we're doing our scheduling."
This year, Loyalsock will focus on having students become learners, by providing opportunities such as sending students to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center over the summer.
"We just continue to grow in those areas," Grantier said.
At Montoursville Area School District, there is a mixture of new technology and a new superintendent.
Dr. Timothy Bowers will use his first year at the school to focus on a formal entry plan.
"My biggest goal is interviewing people that work for us, live in the community, students, parents, and internal and external stakeholders on their perspective of the district," Bowers said.
Through those interviews, he wants to develop a goal for the next several years to figure out what needs to be improved and what already is strong.
Along with Bowers, Montoursville Area High School will have a new wireless system to allow students to access the Internet in the building. Phase two of the project will be to offer the same service to the other buildings in the district.
A curriculum that balances the reading approaches with not just old-fashioned textbooks, but also technology, will be introduced this year, Bowers said.
Tuesday's starting date for the district is based upon matching the calendar with the needs of the district, he said.
Superintendent Daphne Ross of Montgomery Area School District could not be reached for comment.