Classes begin for students in Shelby County

Buses at Oak Mountain Elementary School prepare to begin their routes for the first day of classes. (Stephen Quinn |

August was just over a week old before summer break ended Tuesday for students in Shelby County. Students across the county headed back to school for the first day of the new school year.

Volunteers including a therapy dog from Hand in Paw were at Oak Mountain Elementary School to welcome kindergartners on their first day of school. It's a day months in the making.

Each incoming kindergartner spent a week at the school during the summer with teachers to prepare for Tuesday. The days were spent walking the halls, learning how to find their classrooms and culminated with their first bus ride to school. "I love that we went to the lunchroom and practiced so I know what to do," said one incoming kindergartner.

Significant time was given to learning how to operate Starfall, an interactive program operated entirely by the students. “If they can leave excited by learning then I feel like I’ve done my job," said teacher Amanda Johnson.

In the end, Prinicipal Debbie Horton says the goal of their curriculum is clear, "If these children love coming to school and they feel safe here then they're going to continue that love of school year after year when it gets really hard in middle and high school."

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