BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. (WSVN) — Summertime is over for Broward County School students as they walk to the halls of their learning facilities once again for the start of the academic school year.

Parents dropped off their children at school early Monday morning as educators welcomed them back, ready to embark on their educational and developmental journey.

“I have been principal for 20 years and every opening of school is just as exciting as the last one,” said Dr. Joshua Kisten, principal at Broadview Elementary School.

“A little bit sad that we can’t have any more summer fun, but excited at the same time because I know they’re going to get a great education,” said Jay, a parent.

Parents hope the new Broward superintendent, Dr. Peter Licata prioritizes their kids.

“To keep our schools safe for one, and the education to keep being higher,” said a mother.

Licata was at the north area bus terminal in Pompano Beach to send off school bus drivers.

“As I’ve said before, it’s just more than just the classroom that makes the difference for kids. As we can see these guys and women [bus drivers] are out here working and they love what they do, and it’s important that we have them here,” said Licata.

Licata said that the hardest vacancies to fill are usually bus driver positions.

“This is the hard part because you can’t just pick up a bus driver and move them somewhere else. He or she has to take over a new route which is very difficult. We don’t want kids waiting outside long, especially if it may rain, but that’s probably the most challenging piece,” he said.

He also said that kids will be catching up with both, academics and social behaviors since the pandemic affected those aspects.

Licata spend the day traveling to several schools. 7News cameras captured him having lunch with students at Pembroke Lakes Elementary.

“The first day is like none other,” said Marsha Wagner, principal of Pembroke Lakes Elementary. “It is full of energy and excitement, both on the students we have and facility and staff, we are so excited to have them back.”

Programs have also been added to several Broward County schools to encourage students to have fun while they learn.

Blanche Ely High School provides students with not only a comprehensive education but also a clear pathway to a career in public service. In partnership with the Pompano Beach Fire Rescue, the school now offers specialized courses in firefighting and paramedic training.

Dr. Emily Rodriguez, a faculty member at Blanche Ely High School, emphasized the significance of these new opportunities.

“A lot of times, students don’t know yet their pathway, and they see a program like this, and all of a sudden, it drives them to something, and they have something to really look forward to.”

Plantation High School has launched a comprehensive Aerospace and Engineering Program that stretches over four years. This initiative empowers students with the skills and knowledge to work with cutting-edge technologies, such as rockets, electronics, 3D printing, and coding.

Teachers hope these opportunities give students a reason to come to school. One student said the engineering program is a way for him to relax and get away from critical studies.

As the first day back to school came to and end, parents were seen picking up their children.

“It was good, it was just getting back in that groove again,” said Sarah Round, a parent. “Got some more time to myself to do house cleaning.”

“Today was an example of why we do it and the purpose of what we do, most importantly, it’s the smile on those faces,” Licata said.

Teacher vaccines are available in Broward County.

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