Pinellas County students head out for the first day of the 2013-2014 school year
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Early Monday morning, 513 school busses rolled out from at least 4 bus depots across Pinellas County. They were on their way to help transport some of the 102,000 students that are headed back to the classrooms there. Along with them, 7,000 teachers also made their way back to work. The big day has been months in the planning according to superintendent Dr. Michael Grego, and it's a day that doesn't end when the busses roll out. "My entire staff, the district staff will have every school visited today. There will not be a single school that at least wouldn't be dropped in on," he said. At around 8 a.m., parents and busses were rolling up to Sanderlin K-8 in St. Petersburg. The school for the third year in a row is adding another middle school grade, this time it's 8th grade. The plan is for the International Baccalaureate program to become comprehensive across all of its grades eventually. It's principal, Dr. Denise Miller stands outside giving students she recognizes hugs as they walk in. "Last year we had that. Last year we added the 6th grade, and 7th grade last year, so I kidded them that now you're the oldest group, sometimes the 3rd or 4th year," she says of the familiar faces. Some students were unfamiliar where to go with the extra grade added in, and staff helped some students out. Sabrina is a new 6th grader and felt quite lost looking at her list of classes. "I'm afraid I'll forget where everything is," she says. It's a snapshot of the activity that took place across the district. Nearly 500 bus routes were run this morning to get the students back to school. Superintendent Dr. Grego says his staff will meet at the end of the day in a briefing that will review the first day. And so far, by noon time, it has been smooth sailing.