It was smooth sailing as the Copperas Cove Independent School District welcomed about 8,200 students back to school Wednesday.

“We had a real smooth first day,” said Earl Parcell, principal of Martin Walker Elementary School. “It was wonderful.”

Fortunately, there wasn’t much of first-day jitters going around.

“A couple kids struggled,” Parcell said about the morning goodbyes, “but we were able to separate kids.

“We didn’t have any cling-ons or parents hanging around,” Parcell added.

One parent who did hang around was volunteer Amanda Saywer, whose daughter Hayley started the second grade.

“Getting (Hayley) here with Ms. Payne again, because she had her in kindergarten, is really exciting,” Sawyer said. “(Payne) creates a great atmosphere for learning and a positive atmosphere.”

Although she’s been working in CCISD for 29 years, with Wednesday marking the start of her 14th year at Walker Elementary, this year will be a new adventure for Judi Payne.

“I’m back in second grade, but everything is new,” she said. “They have new tech, new standards, new expectations so I’m looking forward to seeing where these kids can grow.”

Hayley Saywer is also looking forward to the challenges that come with being a second-grader.

“Everything is a tiny bit harder, even music,” she said. “We start doing stuff from other countries, like dances and songs. It’s not really instruments yet.”

As a “district of innovation,” according to Wendy Sledd, director of communications for the district, the school board determines the start and end date for the district as they deem best for students and their success.

CCISD was the first district in the area to open for the 2018-2019 school year.

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

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