Weather-related closings

Shelby County students get warm welcome on first day of school

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County students got a hero's welcome on their first day back to school Monday morning.

At Cherokee Elementary, teachers and administrators cheered on kids and the parents bringing them in to class.

"It's motivating to me. I like it," said Elijah Mason, whose daughter is one of the tens of thousands of students already enrolled. "When I grew up, we didn't have this."

In fact, Shelby County school officials say they already have 84 percent of the expected student total attending on the first day. It's an encouraging statistic, since parents can face prosecution if their kids don`t show up to school.

"Our registration team, big kudos to them, because they've been out in the community every single day," said Natalia Powers, communications director with Shelby County Schools.

SCS volunteer Joyce Lindsey said the district started early with registration, "which I thought was wonderful."

Parents say they're also cheering on some of the changes SCS officials made over the summer.

"Over the past years they've been stepping it up," Mason said. "I've been hearing about issues here and there but they`re getting it together."

Shelby County Schools officials said, thanks to the county commission and school board, they're investing $66 million this school year to improve facilities.

That includes new HVAC systems in 13 schools to help regulate temperatures in winter and summer. They're also hiring extra officers and guidance counselors.

"The recent events happening around the country, with safety and security we want to ensure families know they can send kids to school and they`re going to be safe," Powers said.

For moms and dads, it's all welcome news to kick off the first day.