"Did you have a good summer? Yes? Okay, who can tell me what you did this summer?"
At Oak Forest Elementary on the city's northwest side, HISD Superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra is happy to welcome a room full of young students, only a handful of the several hundred thousand kids who are back in school now. He says this is his 35th first day of school and it never gets old.
"It's always exciting to look forward to the first day of school. All weekend long, and frankly even late last week, a lot of our staff was working around the clock trying to make sure the schools were ready. Every report I got over the weekend was everything was ready, so I think we're off to a great start."
Oak Forest Principal Kimberly Hobbs says if often the parents of some of the younger students who have a harder time with the first day of school than the students do.
"We let parents know that they're in good hands once they have them in the classroom and have taken over and we're in charge of supervising their children. It's the day we look forward to. It's our responsibility to make sure the nurturing process starts the minute they walk in the door and that's what we're really most proud of."
The district opened eight new school buildings today, including seven new elementary campuses. They're the result of a 2002 bond election.