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Dawson students start back to school
1st day of school 1
Blakeleigh Griffith, 5, arrived at Robinson Elementary for her first day of kindergarten accompanied by her little sister, Remi, 3. - photo by Allie Dean

It was a day of firsts for 5-year-old Blakeleigh Griffith.

Her first day of kindergarten started bright and early Aug. 3 when she walked into Robinson Elementary accompanied by her mother and two younger sisters.

“I’m nervous and excited,” said Angela Griffith, Blakeleigh’s mom “It seems like a big school for such a little kid.”

The long halls of the school were buzzing with activity, and teachers and staff stood at every corner directing students to their new classrooms. In the lunchroom, cafeteria staff prepared breakfast for students who came running into the school from buses and the parent drop-off line.

Some looked solemn as they tried to find their way around, but most rushed eagerly to their homerooms, greeting friends and old teachers on the way.

New principal Page Arnette led a prayer circle of teachers and administrators before the school opened its doors that morning. Her wish? That her staff fully realize the importance of their guidance of the students, as they often spend more time at school than home.

In all, it was a successful first day, according to Superintendent Damon Gibbs.

“Our day one attendance is up 4.5 percent from last year,” he said in an email Thursday afternoon thanking school system employees for all they do to meet the needs of the children of Dawson County.

Gibbs said the board has allocated three teacher growth positions in the past two weeks and are looking at numbers daily to assess needs.

The school system welcomed 538 staff members back to school, with two new principals, Robinson’s Page Arnette and Kilough Elementary’s Teresa Conowal, and 31 new teachers who came together to make the first day a success, Gibbs said.

“The first two days of school went very smoothly,” Gibbs said. “Our teachers and support staff have done a wonderful job preparing for the 2017-18 school year.  Also, I want to thank all of our parents that navigate our car rider lines.  Their patience in the first few days is greatly appreciated.”