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Superintendent visits county schools on opening day

“It was a very positive start,” Halifax County School Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon said of Monday’s opening day of school.

A total of 5,487 students attended the county’s seven elementary, two secondary schools and two early learning centers on Monday, she said.

Herndon spent her morning visiting county schools greeting the students and talking with parents.

“It was very invigorating to be out in the schools seeing everyone,” she said.

This year, each school has an appointed mentor, and Herndon said she is the mentor for Cluster Springs Elementary School.

Herndon began the first day of school helping serve students breakfast at Cluster Springs Elementary School.

After leaving Cluster Springs, she visited the two early learning centers where 247 pre-k students attended on opening day, the middle school, transportation department and maintenance department before visiting South Boston Elementary.

In the afternoon she headed to Scottsburg Elementary, Sinai Elementary and Sydnor Jennings Elementary.

“Whatever schools I don’t make it to today, I will catch on Tuesday,” Herndon said Monday afternoon.

While visiting the different schools, the new superintendent said she had principals write down brief descriptions of their opening day experience.

One principal wrote, “Pleased with the opening.” Another said, “Great start. Super first day,” and two others agreed the first day was “awesome.”

Because it was the first day, Herndon said school officials anticipate attendance to be low.

Herndon said Central Office instructional team members will meet each day at 1:30 p.m. at the beginning of the school year to review attendance numbers with Kathy Reagan, who the superintendent described as the Infinite Campus expert.

Infinite Campus is the computer program used to track school attendance.

Only one glitch was reported during opening day, the superintendent said, referring to computer malfunctions at Cluster Springs Elementary early Monday morning.

“The computers were down at 7:30 when I got to the school, but within the hour they were back up, and it was just at Cluster Springs,” she said.

“Knock on wood, that’s the only one I heard of,” Herndon added.

Tweaks in transportation will need to be made as the first week of school continues, she said, noting some students have moved over the summer, and bus drivers continue to work out their routes.

“All in all, we had a very successful first day of school,” she said crediting the principals, teachers, bus drivers and others who worked together in the individual schools.

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