High-fives, busing issues greet students on first day of school

The Dayton and Trotwood school districts, along with a handful of charter schools, welcomed students back to class Monday, with a mix of emotion and regular first-day struggles.

In Dayton Public Schools, several schools held surprise “clap-ins” to greet students as they got off the bus for the first day. School staff and Men of Color groups from the city of Dayton high-fived and cheered students as they walked in the door, encouraging them to do their best in school.

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“Encouraging students to do their best and creating a positive school climate is important to student achievement,” Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said, calling the first day of school a success.

This is the biggest back-to-school week in the area. Oakwood, Jefferson Twp. and some grades of Lebanon schools start today, followed by a slew of schools starting Wednesday, including Centerville, Beavercreek, Kettering, Huber Heights, Northmont and Springboro.

Dayton had some first-day glitches, including an early-morning power outage affecting Charity Adams Earley Girls Academy in Harrison Twp., but school officials said it was resolved around 8:30 a.m.

The most prominent first-day struggle was busing, as is often the case. Lolli acknowledged delays with multiple bus routes.

“Delays were due to a variety of factors, including roadblocks, incorrect addresses, accommodating last-minute transportation requests and other expected first day of school delays,” she said.

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Busing and enrollment have been complicated issues for local school districts in the wake of the Memorial Day tornadoes. Many families were displaced by the storms, and schools have been trying this summer to track down students to see if their addresses changed.

Trotwood-Madison schools had more than 300 students displaced this summer, and school officials said in July they were still doing outreach work.

Asked about enrollment numbers Monday, acting Superintendent Marlon Howard said he wanted to wait until the district had a few days of school under its belt “to ensure we get good count numbers for more than one day.”

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Both Dayton and Trotwood are still adjusting on the fly to families that registered their students for school in the last few days. Dayton’s back-to-school event Sunday at Ponitz Career Tech Center had a student registration line that stretched outside the building for hours.

Those late additions force schools to adjust bus service as well as class sizes with little notice.

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