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Mobile Co. first day of school: Major changes, rain, traffic delays

Overall, when the buses unloaded and the day ended, many seemed ready for the next day and the new year. Mobile County Superintendent Martha Peek said this year all schools will be focusing intensely on the importance of reading.

When the school bell rang Wednesday morning, an estimated 59,000 students filled the many classrooms across Mobile County. Parents, teachers, and Mobile County School Superintendent Martha Peek all watched excited, some nervous, about the new year.

“People coming in this morning were very happy and very pleasant,” Peek said.

It was a day of firsts for one of the largest school systems in the state of Alabama. On Azalea Road, at Denton Middle School, the morning started off with lots of optimism and curiosity. The newest magnet school’s curriculum is centered around incorporating new technology into everyday life. Students will learn how to build robots, code computer programs, and more. Nearly 500 students signed up to be a part of Denton’s inaugural class, including Kimberly Robinson’s daughter.

“Being that it’s a new magnet school, a school of technology, I hope that she learns something new,” Robinson said.

At Williamson High School, another day of major firsts for students and teachers. Since the sudden closing of Mae Eanes Middle School, it was the first day that 300 middle school students joined 700 high school students on a combined campus. Early on, things seemed to run smoothly, but when the day ended, there were some major delays. The newly-merged school is also a hub for dozens of buses. Buses for former Mae Eanes Middle School students, Williamson High School students, and transfer students filled the parking lot dropping students off. The congestion and the rain led to some delays, many parents waiting until 4PM for their child’s bus to arrive.

“It’s the first day of school,” she said, “I don’t know if it’s because of the combined schools or why they’re getting here slow…but, I was concerned about my grandchild.”

Overall, when the buses unloaded and the day ended, many seemed ready for the next day and the new year. Mobile County Superintendent Martha Peek said this year all schools will be focusing intensely on the importance of reading.

“Our real intense focus is academic progress in reading. It’s not just reading alone, but reading across all subject areas,” Peek said, “it’s the most exciting time of the year and we are going to expect great things”.

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