Cherokee County School District officials reported a successful first day of school Thursday, with more than 41,000 students enrolled.

In a statement, school district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said that “first-day operations were extremely well-planned, smooth and successful.”

On the first day of the 2019-20 school year, enrollment was 41,214 at at the district’s 40 schools and centers, according to preliminary attendance reports. First day enrollment was 56 students higher than last year.

CCSD anticipates enrollment will continue to rise over the course of the school year to more than 42,400 students. This figure represents a growth of over 200 students, as peak enrollment last school year was 42,163.

Across the district, 4,900 teachers greeted their classes for the first time Thursday, and among them 210 were either first-year teachers or new to CCSD.

The district’s 400 school buses transported children along 2,000 bus routes. Almost three quarters of students ride the bus, according to CCSD.

The new school year is seeing new principals start at seven schools: Ritchie Carnes at Creekland Middle School, Ashley Kennerly at Sixes Elementary School, Jennifer McIntosh at Knox Elementary School, Carrie O’Bryant at Clayton Elementary School, Mike Santoro at Woodstock Middle School, Todd Sharrock at E.T. Booth Middle School and Sue Zinkil at Creekview High School.

This year, district officials have rolled out a new focus on social and emotional learning, or SEL, to support students’ emotional and mental health at all schools and centers. This included hiring two additional counselors and providing training to more than 100 teachers. Over the summer, the school board appointed long-time district leader Debra Murdock to head the initiative as its executive director. CCSD Cares social media accounts have been set up, with the hashtag #CCSDCares.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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