EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The first of two waves of students returned to the classroom, kicking off the 2022-23 school year for the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation. From bus drivers, to faculty and staff, and the students, it was a group effort on display in starting the new year for EVSC.

“So much work has gone into navigate the challenges,” explains EVSC Chief Communications Officer Jason Woebkenberg. “Whether you’re talking about making sure you have employees in the right place, making sure students and staff are safe. All of these things are taken into consideration, and it takes a lot of work from a lot of tremendous people.”

Woebkenberg joined EVSC superintendent Dr. David Smith in welcoming students to their first day of school at Highland Elementary. Serving students for over 40 years, Dr. Smith says, still, nothing compares to the excitement of the first day of school.

“We get to go to school every single day and make each child’s life better,” says Dr. Smith. “There is nothing, nothing in this world better than that.”

The new school year also proves to be as much of an adjustment for parents as it is for students.

“Hectic,” says Amanda Basham, who was dropping off her daughter for her first day. “Getting the kids back into a routine and trying to get them up, get them ready. It gets hectic.”

Parent Kirstin Daffney adds, “We usually to to the gas station, get a snack, then come back and sit here and talk in line, and try to make it the best we can.”

Miles, a third grader at Highland Elementary, says he was sad to see Summer end, but was also excited for the new school year. He says he loves the challenge the new school year presents.

“I like math because it’s just so complicated. It’s just, It’s just my favorite.”

Miles adds, “I’m probably looking forward to doing some graphs, because I love doing graphs.”

The school year for EVSC began similarly to recent years with a staggered start. Students with last names beginning with letters A through J began Monday and Tuesday, followed by letters K through Z Wednesday and Thursday. This would then lead into the return of full classrooms with all students Friday. It was a Covid-era procedure that may be here for the long haul.

“I don’t know if there are any positives of the pandemic,” says Dr. Smith, “but this was a protocol we put in place because of the pandemic. And parents, teachers and staff loved it so much that we’ve continued it, and I think we’re going to continue to do it for the foreseeable future.”