So far, so good for back-to-school.
More than 600,000 students returned to class Monday in Broward and Miami-Dade. Motorists saw more traffic and dealt with a few crashes and delays on the roadways.
But, overall, parents and students reported a fairly smooth transition.
The boys are a little nervous, said Marc Volel, arriving at Devon Aire K-8 Center in southwest Dade with his two sons at 7:50 a.m., well ahead of the bell. But, overall its like riding a bike. Once you get back to it, its like you never left.
For Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie, its his first school-start as the chief of the nations sixth-largest school district.
It really is energizing, Runcie said. Its inspiring to see all the children back, just the look on their faces, the smiles.
Both Runcie and Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho started their days at bus depots bright and early at 5:30 and 6 a.m., respectively.
There were a few transportation hiccups on the first day in Broward. School bus passes that are sent to children which indicate their bus stop and pickup time were mailed two days late, according to Runcie. The superintendent blamed the delay on upgrades to the districts internal bus routing system. Instead of being sent out last Monday, the passes were mailed on Wednesday. Runcie called it a minor glitch that didnt affect most families.
A vast majority of parents in the district received the information in the mail, Runcie said, adding that the district also made automated phone calls to families that relayed school bus information. Additionally, school bus routes were posted online, and Broward school bus depots held their usual open houses over the weekend to answer questions.
Across South Florida, principals, teachers, parents and students embraced the back-to-school excitement and rituals.
I love it, I love having the students back. For me, this is why were here, said Elaine Saef, principal at Panther Run Elementary in Broward. Before the first bell, she ran around answering questions for parents and directing students to their class rooms.
Parent Monica Perez, who works in sales, arrived early at 7 a.m. Her children, Adriana and Ryan Juan, spent the summer taking karate classes and visited Universal Studios. Monday the school ritual returned. We took out the uniforms, iron the uniforms. We had to get the nails done, the hair done, its like a wedding, she said.
Second-grader Brianna Vanantwerp brought a bouquet of flowers for her teacher, Mrs. Trager. Others were new and nervous for their first day. When Marie Alvarez dropped her son Aidan off for his first day of kindergarten, he started to cry. She felt like crying, too.
I feel so sad. We drove everyday in front of the school to prepare, telling him its big boy school. We had a special breakfast this morning with chocolate chips with pancakes, Alvarez said.
At Hollywoods Orange Brook Elementary School, the Heat took center stage in more ways than one.
Two Miami Heat players, Norris Cole and Dexter Pittman, were on hand as part of a school supplies giveaway sponsored by Office Depot. But the event led to hundreds of parents and students having to wait in line in the actual heat as in, South Floridas sticky August sun.