Ready or not - it's back to school for thousands of students. Students went back to school in the District, Montgomery, Charles, Anne Arundel and Howard counties in Maryland. That's in addition to schools in Page and Frederick counties in Virginia. Students in other parts of northern Virginia don't return until the day after labor day.
DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson says students are walking into a re-energized system.
“They'll have rigorous academics, great technology, blended learning, $5 million dollars in curricular resources for a great experience,” she says.
Newness is the order of the day. A gleaming new Dunbar High School opened in the district Monday. In Montgomery County faculty and students are enjoying a brand new Weller Road Elementary.
“It has energized the staff the students and the community. It is a fabulous opportunity,” says principal Michaele Simmons.
The building is loaded with technology, from the living green roof down to the classrooms.
At Richard Montgomery High, students strolling out of busses admitted they could uses a pep rally after hearing an alarm clock for the first time in a while.
“It’s not pleasant,” says Suki Dorfman. “It didn't feel good at all it was like against my nature.”
She too will see new technology when her eyes fully open. Superintendent Joshua Starr says the system has invested high tech whiteboards for classrooms and wireless internet access will be in every school later this fall.
But even with all the technology, his advice to students is simple.
“Work hard. Have fun,” Starr says.
In Montgomery County, schools are integrating new academic technology is the focus for this year.
School officials have replaced nearly 10,000 computers across the county and installed interactive white boards in 2,000 classrooms. The county also installed wireless networks in more than 100 schools and officials said every school in Montgomery County will have wireless internet by the end of September.
Technology will also play a increased role in keeping students safe this school year. Many schools have integrated keycard security systems that students will need to swipe in order to enter buildings.
Overcrowding and low math scores remain a concern for county officials. The county did not open any new schools this year but did renovate four, including Gaithersburg High School.