Anyone worried the Polk School District wasn’t going to start back on time can be glad that classes got back into session without a hitch.

“Despite the horrible rains, our schools were safe, inviting and clean for all this morning,” Superintendent Laurie Atkins said Friday during the first day back for classes for PSD. “We were excited to see such high attendance with kids ready to take part in the wide variety of learning experiences available.”

The opening of the school year saw many new changes within the dis-trict, from continuing construction projects at both Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools, updates to security with the Polk School District Police Department and additional physical barriers to easy entry into schools and classrooms, and much more.

Officials were slightly concerned about rising waters earlier in the week interrupting the school district’s start, but on Thursday the rain finally stopped and the end of the week turned sunny and bright for youth to enjoy getting back on the playground for recess.

As the school year started, so did several programs within the district. First and foremost, students get to welcome new Agriculture educator Polly Baron in the Rockmart area as the Young Farmer program kicks off for the Polk School District. (See more about the new Agriculture Educa-tion teacher on Page A9.)

Baron comes from Rome City Schools in a program funded by a state grant only one other district received additional money to hire an educator for in the budget.

Along with that, Polk School District is also working on ensuring stu-dents finish their career in school with a diploma with the new Graduate Polk program. (See Page A2 for more.) It officially launched with the start of the new school year, and educators on the high school level got a chance to learn more about their involvement during a presentation that included state officials as teachers started back in-service days on July 30.

Atkins also praised the Accelerated Reader program as the school year gets back underway as well, calling it a valuable resource for local youth to keep up with their literacy.

Polk School District also starts off the year with something else that kids will be happy with for the 2018-19 calendar year. They have a whole new lunch menu.

Dr. Linda Holland, the district’s Director of School Nutrition, reported that staff gathered on Aug. 1 to hold their annual training day kick-off for the school year at Rockmart Middle School.

She added that within the next year and a half, more than 90 percent of the food that will be going on student’s trays will be grown in the state of Georgia. It’s surpassing this year the state requirements of their 50/20 program.

What parents and students will notice most at least at two campuses as football season starts is construction projects. The parking lot boosters are used to filling on Friday nights at Cedartown High School is mostly blocked off for now until new facilities for the band, drama department and art classrooms can be finished.

As a reminder to students and parents, vehicles will not be allowed to park in the south lot due to construction.

Seniors and juniors will be using the campus’ north parking lot instead this year. They’ll be asked to exit campus onto Highway 27.

“Additional police presence will be provided,” Atkins said to ensure that everyone gets out safely.

Underclassmen with vehicles and permission to park on campus will be using the lower parking lot this year.

“Car riders will be picked up in the south parking lot,” Atkins said.

Rockmart High’s new agriculture education facility won’t have an affect on their traffic and parking.

Otherwise, Atkins had one message to all for the first day of school: thanks for a smooth start to the school year.