Pinellas County, FL -- More than 100,000 students are back in the classroom.
New plans for the Pinellas County School District are giving students a better focus when it comes to learning.
Pinellas County School Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego greeted bus drivers early Monday morning as they headed out to pick up students for the first day of school.
It's Dr. Grego's first full school year at Pinellas County and he expressed the importance of working with parents to ensure success in the classroom.
"We can do this together, let's work together with your students, stay connected to schools," said Grego.
Some of the new plans for this year include:
- No early release on Wednesdays
- 12 elementary schools will get brand new science labs
- The STEM program is expanding. The Science Technology Engineering and Math club will now offer after school programs to keep students on track.
Clearwater High School rolled out a program called Wall to Wall Academies, which Principal Keith Mastorides explains will help improve the quality of education.
"The idea is simple: when a student graduates from Clearwater High School, not only are they going to graduate with a diploma, but with a certification of some type so they're ready for the workforce," said Mastorides.
The program helps students focus on areas of studies they are interested in. They will have some of the same teachers and classmates for at least two years, creating a more comfortable and close-knit learning environment.
"The teachers get to know them, the students get to know them. It's a small learning community working together," said Mastorides. "Instead of having a school of 2,000 now you have a school of about 150 kids."
The goal is for students to graduate with a certificate that can help them land a job. It's an accomplishment that keeps Principal Mastorides and his Clearwater tornadoes twisting to the top.