BUFORD - At the start of each school year, there are bound to be a few tear-streaked faces.
But at Buford City Schools, smiles prevailed Thursday as about 2,800 students reported to school. Superintendent Geye Hamby said the year's opening was "extremely smooth."
"I was pleased to see so many smiling faces," Hamby said. "I've been in all the buildings and see great things happening."
Hamby and Assistant Superintendent Allison Miller visited each of the classrooms in the district, greeting many students by name. Several teachers at Buford Elementary School and Buford Academy told Hamby they had the best class in the district, and Hamby told many students they were lucky to have a wonderful teacher this year.
Hamby said he enjoys being in the schools.
"That's where the real education takes place," Hamby said. "(Allison) Miller and I enjoy being a part of that."
On his walks through each of the schools, the district's top administrator was able to see that "very few" students failed to comply with the new standardized dress code.
"Everyone looked so clean and crisp," Hamby said. "Ultimately, I believe student achievement will improve."
The school district and each of its four schools made adequate gains last year in student achievement under federal education guidelines. The No Child Left Behind Act requires that schools and districts continue to make gains in test scores and other indicators such as attendance and graduation rates.
The first day of school provided a smooth transition into the new year, principals said.
"It's been very good, very smooth," Elementary School Principal Melanie Reed said. "Every year you see what needs to be tweaked. We make a list (of improvements to make) after open house and after the first day of school, and we put it aside until the next year."
Reed said she enjoys seeing the smiles on the faces of the kindergartners to second-graders who attend her school.
"Most are very excited about coming back to school," she said. "They still have that passion and love for learning."
Academy Principal Joy Davis also said she enjoys the first-day-of-school smiles.
"There's nothing like starting a day with hugs and smiles," she said. "I just look forward to a good year."