The day thousands of students and parents across Miami-Dade and Broward counties have been waiting for arrived Monday with the first day of school.
Over 350,000 students were expected in classrooms across Miami-Dade for the first day – a day that will also be the start of a school year where no school in the county received an “F” grade from the state of Florida.
The school district is also opening three new schools and unveiling several new programs aimed at giving students a head start in their education.
Things started early for bus drivers, hitting the road shortly after 6 a.m.
"I'm always excited on the first day. Going back, a new school year, you meet different students," said driver Sharon Lewis. "Sometime you meet the same, and it's a really good feeling."
District superintendent Alberto Carvalho went across the county to greet students and teachers for the first day, provding supplies and a healthy breakfast for all - while being met at Jesse McCrary Elementary School in Northwest Miami-Dade with members of the Miami Heat.
"They look at me as a role model so they're going follow their role model," said the team's first round pick, Bam Adebayo. "If I give them a good impression, I feel like they'll live with that for the rest of their life."
In Broward County, school superintendent Robert Runcie also made his way across the county in an effort to get everyone excited and ready for the upcoming year.
“We see continued improvement and academic outcome in the district. The number of “F” schools in our district have fallen from 20 to 2,” Runcie said.
Runcie visited schools at all levels, including Piper High School in Sunrise.
“The kids are already excited because they know they are a part of an academy and it actually makes the school a little smaller for them,” said the school’s principal, Angel Gomez. “We have a school of 2600 and we're now making the school more manageable and giving the students a little more sense of belonging.”
At Broadview Elementary School in North Lauderdale, students were surprised on the first day of school with a treat from the Florida Panthers
Stanley is out here having a little fun, Sean Thornton is here as well as a former player just to reinforce that hard work and determination are really valued to us,” said Sean McCaffrey, the team’s Chief of Staff.
While plenty of students were ready for the day, some of the parents were quite ready to let go.
“We're looking forward to seeing how kindergarten goes - this is our first year, so we're a little nervous,” said mother Sophia Allen. “It's a new experience. He didn't cry, so we did good.”