EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – Monday morning kicked off the first of 180 days of school for students in the Evansville Vanderburgh County School Corporation.

“They’re ready to come back, lots of smiles on our students’ faces,” said EVSC Superintendent Dr. David Smith. “A little bit of anxiety perhaps and apprehension with some of our students, but we have 3,400 employees that are ready to help our students in any way they could possibly need. And we are ready to welcome them back.”

Monday marks the beginning for a number of changes for students, including the beginning of Indiana public schools providing textbooks at no cost to students.

“Whether you have one child or more than one child in school, you’re going to get a lot of information this week on back-to-school, things you need to know,” said EVSC Chief Communications Officer Jason Woebkenberg. “One thing you’re not going to see is a bill coming for textbook rental.”

Meanwhile, the superintendent took his time this morning to welcome students back. Tekoppel Elementary School was one of just the handful of schools that Superintendent Dr. David Smith visited on Monday morning. There, he talked a little bit more about the high ability curriculum the school is implementing this year.

Under the high ability curriculum, teachers have an additional certification. Elementary schools in the district will also have early literacy specialists beginning this year under the plan, which ensures all students have access to a teacher trained in the five scientific principles of reading:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension

“I think we have so many great things in place,” said Dr. Smith, “and also that little thing called COVID is in the rear view mirror. So, we’re going to have a great school year and one that may be somewhat more normal than what we’ve had in the past.