Thousands head back to school

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ATLANTA - Tens of thousands of metro-area students go back to school Monday morning.

Those districts include Clayton, DeKalb, Fayette, Fulton, Hall, Rabun and Spalding counties.

Channel 2 Action News is speaking with school officials about changes to expect this year.


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FULTON COUNTY

Channel 2's Darryn Moore reported live as students returned to Holcomb Bridge Middle School on Monday morning.

All 949 Fulton County school buses received a digital upgrade over  the summer. The buses are now equipped with a new digital video recording system and GPS.

Superintendent Robert Avossa said he hopes the cameras will deter negative behavior.

"When the buses are operating it's part of a system that allows us to monitor behavior issues and concerns that may happen on the bus," Avossa said.

The GPS system will allow the district to save money by finding alternative and shorter routes, according to Avossa.

Avossa said he's also focused on getting the graduation rate up to 90 percent. Last year, the school district's SAT scores jumped from 25th to 2nd in the state. 

DEKALB COUNTY

DeKalb officials said they're making improvements, particularly in the areas of finances and academics.

Channel 2's Erica Byfield reported live from Midvale Elementary School in Tucker.

She spoke with interim superintendent Michael Thurmond about students returning with the district's accreditation on probation.

"As you know, SACS did an update on their analysis and investigation of the district and they basically found that we are making progress in all 11 areas that they had sighted," Thurmond said.

DeKalb was placed on probation last year. The district has until the end of the year to prove that significant changes have been made.

Just two weeks ago a judge upheld a decision by Gov. Nathan Deal to suspend five school board members. The state supreme court still needs to rule if the suspensions fall under the state constitution.

"I'm focused on school house and the school room and not the courthouse so my job is to do the very best that I can, working with our employees to ensure every child enrolled has access to quality education," Thurmond said.

CLAYTON COUNTY

Clayton County schools started the new year with a new police force.

Channel 2's Sophia Choi reported live from James Jackson Elementary School in Jonesboro, one of 33 elementary schools in the district.

Officers sworn in on Sunday night are part of a force formed by school officials just eight weeks ago but they do come with experience.

"We had a lot of people coming into the program who had worked in the schools previously here in Clayton County. They are excited about building those relationships with kids and with faculty," Major Chandi Ashmore said.

Officers still have some logistical problems, like finding enough police cars. The officers replace school resource officers from the county police and sheriff's office.

BACK 2 SCHOOL COVERAGE

Several districts started school last week. They include Atlanta, Cobb, Henry, Lamar, Floyd, Gwinnett, Bartow, Barrow, Buford, Clarke, Douglas, Fannin, Oconee, Heard, Rockdale, Pickens and Cartersville.

Commuters and parents can expect new levels of traffic as classes resume throughout north Georgia this month. Stay on top of any delays with Triple Team Traffic on Channel 2 Action News and on Twitter. Follow @WSBTraffic to get instant updates and you can download the Triple Team Traffic app for you iPhone.

Watch extended back-to-school coverage, starting at 4:30 a.m. on Channel 2 Action News This Morning and continuing from 7 to 8 a.m. on wsbtv.com and our apps.


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