GREENWOOD COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Students across Greenwood County started their first day of school on Thursday, after about a six-week summer break.

“It’s so good to see everybody back,” said Hodges Elementary school counselor Beth Justesen.

For young students, like the new K4 class at Hodges Elementary, it’s also a brand new journey.

“They’ve all made friends, this is their very first day of school ever, so it’s a really great experience,” said K4 teacher Linsey Anderson.

Anderson said her students will start with the basics and learn more throughout the year.

“Our goals, our first is how to be a good friend, and how to treat others, how to be kind. Then we move on to letters and sounds and writing our name for K4,” said Anderson.

For the second school year, District 50 will use a modified school calendar.

“What we learned, I think, is that those breaks that we have for intersession really came at needed times,” said Justesen.

With this schedule, students and staff have a 2-week intersession break about every nine weeks. It also provides extra learning days for students who need more help.

“I think we are seeing academic growth, which is key, that’s what we’re looking at,” said Justesen.

School leaders said district surveys show parents and staff support this schedule. The district’s first intersession break starts on September 26.

“For the most part, our faculty, our staff and parents have enjoyed that. And then coming back, it’s not always easy coming back a little early. But I would say by next week, we’ll be back in the swing of things,” said Justesen.

Thursday was also the first day for students in Greenwood School Districts 51 and 52. As the school year ramps up, local law enforcement leaders are also encouraging drivers to be mindful of school zones and school buses.