KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) A new school year started for the last time Monday at the Killeen ISD’s Nolan Middle School, which will be replaced next year by a new school.
The school’s principal was on the front lines for the first day of school, ushering in new students and directing parents where they need to go.
It's also the last year the nearly 60 year old campus will be open and the first time this former assistant principal is calling all the shots.
"It's exciting, lots to learn, lots to do,” says Ashley York.
But opening day challenges never go away, from the expected last minute registrations to late buses to the construction of a brand new elementary in the school's backyard, which required rerouting drop-offs for nearly 800 students.
"You kind of just have to go with it,” says York.
"I think the kids seeing our positive attitude about it helps their day.”
Inside, she takes temporary command of 115th Support Brigade Battalion Fort Hood troops who are there to assist with other “emergencies” like lost students and figuring out how to use locker combinations.
It's a rapid start to a long year ahead.
The principal who arrived at 5:45 a.m. already had 6,661 steps on her pedometer before 9 a.m.
But there is work to be done.
The school's 2018 report card put STAAR performance rates well below the district average.
"We want to increase students’ ability to read at higher comprehension levels,” says York.
While hoping to end on a high note, she knows this year will be a bit bitter sweet. In 2020, she’ll take over the new Nolan Middle School campus under construction miles away in Harker Heights.
"It's a little sad to leave here. These are our babies and it's going to be hard,” she says.
What won't be hard for this first generation college graduation is hoping her students know the future is wide open.
"There are people who push you that see something in you that you don't see in yourself which is what I want our kids to believe in,” says York.
About 45,000 students started classes Monday in the Killeen ISD.