(WXIA) -- Summer's over for thousands of students in eight metro Atlanta school districts.
Students in Atlanta, Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Decatur, Griffin-Spalding, Henry and Paulding districts returned to school Monday.
Atlanta Public Schools opened to some big changes: a new superintendent, 22 new principals and an all out push to end absenteeism in the district, especially on the first day of school.
New APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen was on hand at Bethune Elementary School to promote her Day One Campaign, encouraging all families to ensure their children make it to school on the first day.
She said in previous years Bethune has had an absentee rate of up to 50 percent, noting, "When students aren't here, we can't teach them... it is a very simple formula to have school success... it is to come to school to go to class to do your homework and to participate."
She said one of her goals is making sure improverished children students are free of health problems and are provided free breakfast and lunch. "I think all that is very important especially having a stable principal," said parent Nicole Mitchell, who listened in as Carstarphen spoke with reporters.
Only a few minor glitches were reported in in APS including textbooks that have yet to arrive in some schools and air conditioners in need of repair at a dozen schools including Kimberly Elementary School and Burgess Peterson Elementary.
A district spokesman said portable air conditioning units were used. He said the textbooks are only used as supplemental materials because they often are not in line with Common Core Standards so teachers prefer to use worksheets and internet sites instead.
This year teachers in Henry County and Atlanta received raises. Cobb County has added more than 300 teachers to help reduce class sizes.
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