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'We're just ready for kids': 11 districts start 2022-23 school year

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OWASSO — Standing outside Ator Elementary School almost 30 minutes before the doors opened Thursday morning, kindergartner Avery Manning was eager to get inside.

Along with getting to see her new teacher and classmates, Avery was excited to show just how well she can share with others.

“My sister said I’m going to have fun,” she said. “And I’m going to get to eat lunch here and breakfast here. And I have doughnuts for my friends for snack time.”

Thursday was the first day of classes for 11 school districts around the metro area — Owasso, Bartlesville, Caney Valley, Collinsville, Glenpool, Kellyville, Keystone, Lone Star, Skiatook, Sperry and Verdigris.

Other area districts and charter schools already in session include Anderson, Catoosa, College Bound Academy, Dove Science Academy, Dove School of Discovery, KIPP Tulsa, Liberty, Prue and Tulsa Honor Academy.

Eric Romine is in his second year as principal at Ator Elementary School. In between welcome-back hugs from students, he said he and his colleagues were ready and eager to get students back on campus.

“It feels a little more back to normal,” Romine said. “We’re just ready for kids. We’re not having to prepare for all the ‘what-ifs’ as much. We always do that, but it just feels a little more back to normal” after the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kindergartner Chisum Holson was also among the early arrivals who were eagerly waiting for the Ator doors to open Thursday morning.

Although it was a “little weird” to practice eating his lunch within the time allowed at school, he said he was excited to get to see his teacher.

His mother, Kaylyn Holson, was a little more nervous, though.

“This is his first time being away all day,” she said. “It’s just a lot to take in that he’s this old and that he’s old enough to be going into kindergarten.”


Video: Parents are feeling less anxious about the school year starting, survey finds

Parents and teachers are feeling a little less anxious about the new school year. Buzz60’s Keri Lumm shares the results of a new study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Office Depot.

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My primary beat is public education. I am a third-generation graduate of Oklahoma State University, a board member for Oklahoma SPJ and an active member of the Native American Journalists Association.

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