ASHTABULA — Ashtabula Area City Schools first day was Tuesday after students got an extra day of summer vacation on Monday, thanks to Sunday morning's storm.

The district is the third in the county, along with Grand Valley Local Schools which also saw its first day Tuesday, to start classes as summer draws to a close. 

Ashtabula Superintendent Mark Potts said his district has 3,668 total students enrolled, of which 174 are in preschool and 1,861 are in grades K-6 for a total of 2,035 on the Ashtabula Lakeside Elementary Campus on Wade Avenue. There are 567 at Lakeside Junior High (grades 7-8), and Lakeside High School boasts 1,066, which includes 87 students attending at A-Tech.

"These numbers tend to be fluid in the beginning of the year but they would indicate that we are at least holding steady with our enrollment numbers," Potts said. "When the dust settles, I can provide a more accurate picture of how we are trending compared to last year."

The first day went well in all buildings.

"After a false start yesterday, we are off and running," he said. "Everything went as smoothly as we could hope. Lots of positive energy and smiling faces." 

Treasurer Mark Astorino said all of the issues associated with Monday's power outage were rectified.

"We are continuing to work with our transportation team to ensure all students are on the proper buses and assigned a bus stop," he said.

Building principals at each of the buildings in the Grand Valley Local School District, which has nearly 1,100 students, also said the first day went well. Any hiccoughs or jitters encountered along the way were managed well by teachers, staff and parents, they said.

Douglas Hitchcock, principal of Grand Valley High School, where there are 398 students, said the first day was a "smooth start" and "business as usual."

"The kids are all in their classes and there were very few schedule changes to make," he said. "The guidance counselor does a lot of up front work to make sure the kids are in the right classes before the school year starts."

Roberta Cozad, principal of Grand Valley Middle School, said there were "some typical first day glitches," such as trouble of some younger students with getting into lockers, but nothing that couldn't be overcome.

"There were lots of really happy faces coming into the building today which makes me very happy," she said. "I especially love when the children tell me they are happy to be back."

Ellen Winer, principal of Grand Valley Elementary School, said there were kids who got lost in the building or who didn't know who their teachers were and there were worried parents. This isn't uncommon at the elementary level, Winer said, and her staff did a tremendous job of addressing any issue that arose.

"There were all kinds of situations and there were staff members around to help, greet and love," Winer said. 

Next week kindergarteners will see their first day at Grand Valley Elementary School. Although Winer said she expects many of the those new students to have that "deer in headlights" look, the building has kind and caring staff and teachers to ease the worries of child and parent alike.

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