WILMINGTON — Arrival and dismissal times at Wilmington City Schools (WCS) were going much smoother by the third day of school Friday, said WCS Business Director Curt Bone.
A new bus transportation model to accommodate a switch to grade-level centers at WCS’ three elementary buildings had worried some people that problems could arise once the school year began for real.
And though the first day in particular involved delays, things got progressively better, Bone said Friday morning after the last bus for drop-off at Holmes Elementary School had come and gone.
The departure of that last bus on Friday took place about 20 minutes sooner than it had on Wednesday, the first day of school.
But, then, the transportation situation during the first days of a new school year tends to be more hectic and behind schedule even when nothing major like grade-level centers are being launched, said Bone.
“It was not a whole lot different than other years,” he said Friday.
An extra safeguard employed this year with the change in the elementaries’ student bodies were tags on children’s book bags — the tag’s color designating which elementary building the child will attend; a number indicating his or her school bus number; plus the student’s name.
Grade-level centers group children together by grade level instead of geography.
A large amount of traffic at afternoon pickup time at the elementaries on day one led to the school district posting a One-Call Message on Thursday to add a few procedures to yield a quicker process, Bone said.
The One-Call Message thanks parents for their patience as staff makes internal adjustments to speed up the placard pick-up process.
Bone said the Wilmington Police Department helped direct traffic during the busy times.
With adjusted bus routes, district officials anticipated there would be some bugs, said Bone.
The use of routing software made creating a new bus transportation model easier, he said.
The first couple of days of the school year brought a variety of Facebook comments from Wilmington residents who shared their experiences — from good to not-so-much — plus some who simply tried to put the first few days in perspective:
Katrina Butcher: “It’s day 1. Give it a week or two. Everything will fall into place.”
Becky Bosier: “I didn’t have any issues. It will take a week or two but I’m sure it will all work out.”
Kristi Fickert: “… In life (and especially on the first day of school), things get crazy. Be flexible, be helpful and be the person who smiles and says, ‘It’s OK, I understand, and we will figure it out …’ ”
Lowella Lola Storck: “These are times to teach children patience, not anger. Things do not always go as planned or your way. It will all work out.”
The News Journal’s Tom Barr contributed to this story.