Caroline County Public Schools had a successful opening day of the 2019-20 school year Tuesday, Sept. 3.
“Excitement was riding high this morning,” said Superintendent Dr. Patricia Saelens.
Saelens said she joined the staff at several schools as the buses rolled in, bringing students back to school.
“It’s a joy to watch students’ faces light up as they see a familiar face,” Saelens said. “There is no doubt that this morning is the beginning of an amazing year to come.”
Social media posts reflected that excitement, as posts tagged #CarolineBTS19 were shared across Facebook and Twitter, showing students and staff preparing to leave for their first day back.
Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Milton Nagel said all 10 school buildings in the county had a smooth opening.
“Between the routine cleaning and maintenance work that occurs when the students are out of the buildings, and the special projects that were completed this summer, staff really accomplished an amazing amount of work in a short amount of time,” Nagel said.
Some of those special projects completed over the summer included a new track at North Caroline High School, funded by a state bond bill; an expanded parking lot at Lockerman Middle School; and the near-completion of the renovation of the former VFW post building outside Denton into office and storage space for the school system’s support services.
Additionally, front office modifications were made to enhance school safety at Federalsburg and Denton elementary schools; similar modifications are planned at Ridgely Elementary School next summer.
Students came back to more than 60 new teachers and administrators hired for the 2019-20 school year.
Some of those hires filled positions vacated by retirements and resignations, but several new positions were created, including three new additional assistant principal positions at Denton and Greensboro elementary schools and Lockerman Middle School.
In other safety enhancements, each campus has its own assigned school resource officer for the first time, after the Caroline County commissioners put $400,000 in this fiscal year’s budget to hire four more, and the school system hired its first school safety coordinator over the summer, Michael “Rico” Gestole, recently retired from the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, and the county’s first school resource officer, beginning in 2008.
Schools also have a new Alertus emergency mass alert system that uses wall-mounted beacons and connected devices.