“I spoke with principals throughout the day, and they reported a very smooth opening around the county,” said Superintendent Steve Barker.

Barker began the day with a word of thanks to the county’s bus drivers, via their radios, as the drivers began their 241 bus routes around the county. He visited several schools, starting with Jefferson parkway elementary, and visited the school system’s busy central registration center on Werz Drive.

Students began arriving at Poplar Road Elementary school early – some as early as 7:00 a.m. – as many parents came to walk their children to their first day of class.

The school also had 517 bookbags on hand to give to students, thanks to Community Christian Church, as well as paper, notebooks, pencils and other school supplies, thanks both the Community Christian and Mount Gilead churches.

Many churches, businesses and civic groups partnered with school to provide supplies and other help to Coweta families, to help them start the new year.

“We had a terrific first day,” said Atkinson Elementary school principal Latrina Gates. It was Gates’ first (official) day as well. She was named principal of the Newnan elementary school this summer, replacing principal Melissa Wimbish, who moved to Evans’ Middle school as principal.

Wimbish replaces outgoing Evans principal Vince Bass, who moved to head up the county school system’s personnel office.

“We had a pretty smooth transition into the new year,” said Gates. “Quite a few parents brought their children in to class for the first day, and we had a lot of excited children and parents taking pictures.

It was good welcome back.” Gates said students and teachers quickly resumed the rhythms of the schools day by early morning.

Gates said that traffic for the first day was heavy, as was the experience around the county, with many parents choosing to drive their children to school on the first day of school. “But that’s a good problem. We have a lot of returning students and parents and everyone pretty well remembered our car procedures.”

Car traffic at county schools is generally expected to improve as many students shift to riding school buses throughout the month of August.

“It was remarkably smooth,” said Northgate High School Principal Therese Reddekopp. “Students came ready for the new year. They were happy to see their friends and just excited to be here. We’re ready for day two.”

Reddekopp said that heavy attendance at Northgate’s Friday orientation may have had something to do with an easy first day. “I think we had nearly 100 percent attendance - a huge crowd – for our 9th Grade Campus orientation in particular,” she said. “Everyone was able to familiarize themselves with the campus. We were able to help students with schedule, and parents were able to sign up for Parent Portal at the orientation. I think that’s part of the reason today went so well.”

Parents of all Coweta County students can sign up for Parent Portal – an online student portal that allows families to view their current class schedules, courses, grades, daily attendance, testing information, student fees and other records, as well as school calendars, special communications and teacher email links.

To sign up for the free system, parents have to visit their child’s school, show identification and sign a Parent Portal use agreement, to receive a unique activation key code.

Poplar Road Elementary School Principal Leslie Goodwin welcomes students and parents back for the first day of school Monday morning.

Poplar Road assistant Principal Katherine Waczkowski with some of the hundreds of book bags and student supplies donated to her school’s students by Community Christian and Mount Gilead churches.