WESTFIELD, NJ — Almost 6,300 students enrolled in the Westfield Public School system returned to class Thursday, Sept. 8. Joining them for the first time were more than 30 new teachers and support staff, according to the district.

In a video, Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan offered a back-to-school message to parents with updates such as upgrades made to the schools, new courses and the district’s latest accolades.

“Our mission is to partner with families and community to educate all students to reach their highest potential as productive, well-balanced and responsible citizens who respect individual differences and diversity
in an ever-changing world,” Dolan said.

Sign Up for E-News

To watch the video, click here.

At Tamaques Elementary School in Westfield's south side, the atmosphere was festive as teachers greeted the students with signs bearing their names and parents snapped pictures.

Thursday was also the start of David Duelks’s first full year as principal of Tamaques Elementary School. At the end of the school day as students left in 90 degree heat, he stood outside asking them, “Did you have a good first day?”  With each reply of good or great he enthusiastically told them, “That makes me very happy.”

“I missed all the smiling faces and couldn't be happier to have them back,” Duelks said. “It was a wonderful first day and it couldn't be better.”

Katie Makely, a fourth-grade student at Wilson Elementary school said that her first day was “really fun.”

“I made a new friend and we got to make cool collages,” she said. “I think it's going to be a great year."

EDITOR’S NOTE: Share your first-day photos! Email photos to jlieberman@tapinto.net and we’ll include them in this story.

A frequent contributor to TAP into Westfield, Mike Cohen is the founder/director of Throwback Sports (a sports program for children of all abilities) and the sports editor of Education Update. He can be reached at throwbacksports@verizon.net