New Haven’s first day of school

NEW HAVEN -- School districts across the state are making sure your kids feel welcomed as they start their first days of school. In New Haven, students at Cooperative Arts and Humanities were greeted by city and school leaders on Thursday.

“They are excited to come back, I’m excited it’s always a new year, new beginning,” principal Val-Jean Belton said.

The new year is a fresh start for students and those teaching them alike.

“I’m excited. I love all my classes this year and I can’t wait to do my final project and be out of here as well,” senior Gabriela Especito said.

This is Dr. Carol Birks’ first full year as superintendent of New Haven public schools. She and her staff are pushing to curb chronic absenteeism this school year.

“If you have great attendance, the student is more successful in school and in life. We are also of course trying to teach life lessons,” Dr. Birks said.

The district laid off 24 staff members before the start of the school year. Dr. Birks said she is confident students’ education will not suffer because of it.

“We are not going to make any decision that comprises the core. We are making sure we are leveraging all of resources internally as well as externally,” Dr. Birks said.