HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- Thousands of kids are heading back to school, but in Hartford, school officials are turning the first day into a celebration.
For many, the first day means new shoes, a new back pack or even a new hair style. For the veterans, returning means reuniting with teachers, but for the rookies, the first day can mean jitters or even a few tears, even for parents.
"It's a new experience for both us," said parent Jasmine Alicea. "We are both excited."
The Hartford school system welcomed back 22,000 students on Tuesday, and as required, most wore uniforms.
The school district opened a new parent center to offer support, services and resources to help parents through the school year.
Also new this year is a revised teacher evaluation system where student achievement accounts for 45 percent of the evaluation score.
"We are excited because this is really about giving quality feedback to teachers to improve their work, to ensure all students are successful academically," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christina Kishimoto.
There are over 350 students at the Dr. Ramon E. Betances School, but no complaints about class size because they've been able to keep at 19 students per class, no matter the grade.
"We are able because of the design of our school, because we have associate teachers, we have three associate teachers in our school, so we are able to use the associate teaches to reduce the number of students in the classroom," explained Immacula Didier, the school's principal.
The first day of school is a proud moment for parents, but the lesson in letting go isn't just for the children.
"She is expecting to learn how to read, and learn a little bit of math, and play time, and everything," Alicea said. "She's expecting to have fun."
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