ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — For some students in the Albertville City School System (ACSS), Tuesday marked the first day to step on campus for the new school year.

“We’re doing staggered starts. For the first three days, we’re dividing alphabetically different populations to come in at different times. Friday will be our first day of full, 100% students,” ACSS Interim Superintendent Todd Watkins said.

Watkins says the district does this to help students acclimate. The district is also providing free school supplies and meals this year.

“It helps reduce some of that anxiety and the worries of coming to school. We’ve put a lot of effort into our social/emotional support systems for our students and the safety aspects. We’re continuing projects from last year to make the facility as physically safe as possible,” stated Watkins. 

The school system has a number of projects scattered across the district, and Watkins says construction at the high school is almost done.

“We have three major capital projects that started last year,” added Watkins. “The one we’re excited to announce at the end of this month will be the Kinesiology Building. The next building will be our band hall…which will be this November. Our last capital project is our Career Tech facility, set to start with the 2024 school year. Our new academy is going to be a little over 40,000 square ft and it’s going to house new programs and offerings for our careers.”

Recently, the district received a prestigious designation as a WOZ ED Career Pathway District. It’s an education initiative founded by Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak.

“That teaches students K-12 the introductory elements of robotics, STEM programs, computer science, and drones. All of that feeds into what we want students to leave here with, and that’s prepared for the world ahead of them,” Watkins said. 

Albertville is Alabama’s first pathway district, and all six schools have received the pathway designation.

Albertville City School System’s Board of Education is expected to announce their next superintendent Tuesday, August 15th.