Dawson County school system teachers and administrators were in full preparation mode for starting classes this week.
While many educators are returning to their classrooms for another year, the district also saw nearly 60 new hires due to retirement and personnel changes.
"We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our students," said Dawson County School Superintendent Damon Gibbs. "Our team members have been working diligently in preparation for the 2014-15 school year.
"We look forward to the great ideas and teaching strategies that our new employees bring to their classrooms this year."
On Monday, the district brought together more than 500 of its employees for a meeting at First Baptist Church to go over the upcoming school year.
"It is clear that there is great excitement," Gibbs said. "We have a wonderful group of veteran educators that, along with our new employees, are poised to have the best year ever."
On top of welcoming the new employees and covering the budget, Gibbs also went over a few lesser-known topics.
"The Dawson County school system is the largest private employer in the county," he said. "With nearly 600 employees at any given time, we are more than ready for this year."
According to Gibbs, the school system is also the largest transit system in Dawson, with numerous bus routes that cover the county.
Teachers also prepared in their own way, such as the annual Riverview Elementary Parent Teacher Organization shopping trip. Each year, the PTO gives each teacher a $50 gift card to shop for supplies, tax-free.
"I think it's great they do this," said Rachel Freeman, a teacher new to Dawson. "It gives me an opportunity to get some of the non-traditional items that typically school doesn't provide."
She went on note that "teaching special ed can be hit or miss on support from the families, so a lot of the time it comes out of your own pocket.
"This way, I was able to get what I needed for the start of the year," she said.
School drop-off begins at 7:15 a.m. for middle and high school and 7:30 a.m. for elementary schools.
Students are tardy at 7:50 a.m. for elementary and 7:30 a.m. for middle and high school.