Elizabeth Durham, right, takes a photo of her children, fifth-grader Dominick Durham, middle, and first-grader Haleigh Houchin, left, in Haleigh's classroom at Collins Lane Elementary on Wednesday. The day was the first day of school for Franklin County Schools. (Photo by McKenna Horsley)

Parents on both the East and West sides of Frankfort dropped off their children for the first day of school. 

Franklin County Schools had its first day of classes on Wednesday. More than 7,000 students are enrolled in the school district for the 2019-20 school year. 

At Collins Lane Elementary, some guardians walked their students to their classrooms and snapped a quick photo at their students’ desks. One teacher, math interventionist Adam Durr, gave hugs to some of his former students on the first day and asked if they were ready for the upcoming year. 

“I’m excited. It’s like all of us are positive and ready to gear up for a new year,” Durr said of his own feelings about the first day of classes. 

Durr said that starting the year in the elementary school’s new building is a huge plus. The building opened in the middle of the last school year in January and was a $16 million construction project. The school was originally set to open last August, but construction and wet weather delayed the deadline. The old Collins Lane Elementary building was demolished this past spring. Durr said students are enjoying the new building. 

At Bondurant Middle School, sixth grade students walked through the doors for their first day of middle school. Principal Whitney Allison said that experience can be hard for some students and parents, but the school’s staff is committed to being there to catch the students and give support when they need it. 

“That’s the hardest part about middle school because it’s the bridge between carrying your kid and walking beside them,” Allison said. 

While family members dropped students off at the middle school before their first classes of the day, Allison greeted students, directing them to come in and find a seat next to a “friendly face” that they knew. 

Bondurant is going through some changes this year. One major change is that teachers are adopting a new four-point grading system that is more focused on mastery of skills than turning homework in, Allison said. The scale will take some time to get used to and parents should be cautious when looking at Infinite Campus, or the online communication system the school uses to record student information, and seeing grades, she said. For instance, a grade reflecting a 65% understanding of a concept has a different meaning than a 65% passing grade. 

“We are trying to make sure that Bondurant is in the front and leading the way as a middle school in central Kentucky and that means that we have to try new things,”

Superintendent Mark Kopp visited Elkhorn Elementary School on Wednesday during the school’s drop-off time. He said the school has a great tradition where Principal Matt Osborne gets on every school bus before students exit to welcome them and then teachers will cheer for students as they walk through the schools’ doors. Kopp said it was great to see the smiling faces of both teachers and students after summer break. 

“The first day of school is a lot like Christmas,” Kopp said. 

The district will have some new changes for the school year, Kopp said. As per a mandate in Senate Bill 1, all schools will have various “enhanced safety procedures. FCS received a recommendation from Kentucky Center for School Safety to have a visitation system where all parents entering the school must sign in at the front office and show a photo ID before being buzzed through schools’ security vestibules. 

The school district has also had some positive facility updates over the summer, Kopp said. Both Western Hills and Franklin County High Schools had a new air conditioning system installed over the summer and new flooring was put in at Western Hills and Bondurant, thanks to the hard work of the district’s maintenance and custodial workers. The district is also continuing to give athletic passes for all employees, so they can go to games free of charge.

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