Conway schools reported a smooth first day of classes on Wednesday.

Dr. Greg Murry, superintendent of Conway Public Schools, said Wednesday morning, "Things are going really well. We’re trying to make our way to all 15 schools and touch base with our teachers and administrators. There’s been a few tears, but that’s mostly from kindergarten moms dropping their babies off. I haven’t heard any bad reports about anything so far."

He said teachers and students were enjoying the school improvements made possible by the government stimulus funds.

"They’re very excited about it," he said. "I walked into a classroom at Florence Mattison, and the kids said thank you."

He noted the maintenance department worked hard all summer on the projects.

Assistant superintendent Carroll Bishop said, "Everybody’s been very complimentary of our new colors that we’ve painted, the lights and ceiling tiles, new lockers, new pavement where there were some holes. We got everything done on time. Carl Stuart got their brand new roof. Carl Stuart almost has a brand new school with all the work we’ve done there."

He said, "Bus routes went extremely well. We put in a new software, VersaTrans, that helps with all our routing and helps the schools call up a bus route by using an address."

He said personnel can use the software to tell students what bus they ride and what time it will pick them up.

"It helped out a lot. Everything seemed to go well," he added.

Murry said at the end of the day that 8,718 students attended the first day, out of 9,396 registered for school. Some students and their families are likely taking the rest of the week for vacation, as the first day of school was mid-week, he said. Enrollment normally builds for the first two weeks of school and then levels out, Murry noted.

"‘The smoothest day we’ve ever had,’ is what so many principals told me as we were going around. Teachers were very excited. We’re off to a really good start, and it’s certainly a tribute to our teachers, administrators, custodial staff, bus drivers, secretaries, everyone."

Conway Christian School

Shawna Oliver of the community relations office at Conway Christian School said, "Everything is going great. We have 589 students as of this morning. That is an increase of 40 or 45. 

"We have a new principal at the elementary campus. Donald Holt comes to us with several years of experience. School is off to a running start."

She said new this year is a program allowing fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students to rotate to seven different classes with each teacher having a different specialty area. 

"We’re looking forward to parents coming together Friday morning to have prayer on campus and kick the year off right. And football season and volleyball in a few weeks," Oliver added.

St. Joseph School

Joe Mallett, principal at St. Joseph High School, which started Monday, said, "We’ve had a good first, into our third day. At the primary campus our phones were down for the first day and a half. It was a little bit of an issue, but all went well. Kids are back and seem to be back into the flow."

Each senior class creates a banner representative of themselves and their hopes and dreams, and the class of 2010 presented their banner at mass Wednesday and explained the symbolism to the younger students, Mallet said.

"After they graduate it’s placed in the parish hall. The kids really put a lot into it. It’s a proud moment and a good symbol to begin the year for them.

"It’s been going real smooth. There’s always little things, but it’s been a good start to the school year," he said.

The registrar’s office at St. Joseph said the school’s K-12 enrollment was 511 on Wednesday.

(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at rachel.dickerson@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)