Morgan Leso, left, did a little coaxing Wednesday morning to get a smile out of her son, Jack, far right, a second-grader at W.G. Mallett School in Farmington, on the first day of school. Her son, Nolan, a fifth-grader at Cascade Brook School in Farmington, was ready with a smile. Morgan Leso is a counselor at Mallett School. 

FARMINGTON — “Here we go.”

With these words, a W.G. Mallett School staffer walked to the first bus to arrive Wednesday morning for the start of a new year.

The school, one of seven in Regional School Unit 9, was abuzz with activity even before pupils began to arrive. Kindergarten through grade nine classes started Wednesday; grades 10 through 12 will start Thursday.

“We had a great opening day everywhere,” Superintendent Tom Ward said. “We are very pleased with that. The kids are happy, the staff is happy.”

He expects to know the overall student population by the end of the week. Most of the students who were supposed to attend Wednesday did attend, he said.

Students will have their first day off Friday Sept. 1, which creates a long weekend for Labor Day, Sept. 4. The calendar includes 35 late-arrival days when students start classes an hour later than usual on most Wednesdays to allow staff to participate in professional development. The first one is Sept. 6.  

Principal Tracy Williams taped a sign facing outside on a cafeteria window reminding people that dismissal time is 3:12 p.m. this year.

Twelve minutes have been added to each day for all district schools. It equates to an additional week of class time, according to Ward. 

Buses will leave 12 minutes later at the end of the day than they did last year.

Freshmen will be the first class to graduate, in 2021, with a proficiency-based education diploma. They will also graduate under a new honor, distinction and awards system based on the Latin honor system of summa cum laude (highest honor), magna cum laude (great honor) and cum laude (honor).

Top student awards in 2021 will be based on a cumulative grade-point average of a minimum of 3.75 out of a possible 4.0.

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On the first day of classes at G.D. Cushing School in Wilton, firs- grader Jasmine Carlton, left, and kindergartner Zoey Hilton greet one another with a hug.

Pupils arrive Wednesday morning for the first day of classes at G.D. Cushing School in Wilton.

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