In preparation for the first day of school on Wednesday, Aug. 15, the Bexley City School District has a variety of activities planned to welcome students back, Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller said.

"Each of the schools does something different to welcome the kids back," she said. "The big thing is that we get them here and they feel confident and ready to face the year."

To kick off the new school year, the district will play host to its annual staff convocation Tuesday, Aug. 14, in the Bexley High School Schottenstein Theatre, 326 S. Cassingham Road.

"I try to keep that to no more than an hour" to give teachers time to get their classrooms ready for students, Miller said.

As part of the district's new 2018-21 contract with the Bexley Education Association, teachers will work an extended day to be available for students who may need help outside of regular class hours. New start times for students will also begin with the 2018-19 school year. The elementary school day for grades K-5 will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the secondary school day for grades 6-12 will be held from 8:35 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"These changes in the contract day and student day will benefit students, support our teachers to be available to students outside the instructional day, encourage professional planning and collaboration among teachers, and be more convenient for families," Miller said in a message posted on the district's website, www.bexleyschools.org, when the changes were announced earlier this summer.

As students prepare to go back to school, the district is encouraging parents, students and staff to post on social media about their experiences using hashtag #BexleyBegins.

"We are inviting our staff, our parents to take pictures of our students getting ready to come back to school," Miller said. "We know the majority of our kids are walking and riding their bikes. We are focused on getting them here safely."

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