Here’s what the first day of school looked like in Shawnee Mission

Student raises hand

Shawnee Mission students went back to school starting Thursday, Aug. 12. Some students, like the second grader above, waited patiently to ask questions about the classroom rules. All students in the district will be back in in-person classes by Friday. Photo credits in this story to Juliana Garcia.

Shawnee Mission students began returning to school Thursday, once again in the shadow cast by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This school year, unlike the last one, is in-person for all Shawnee Mission students, but all individuals inside school buildings — including staff and visitors — are required to wear masks.

Still, most the district’s students remain unvaccinated, including all students younger than 12, who remain ineligible to get COVID-19 shots.

Despite those concerns, there was still a general sense of first-day excitement mixed with a bit of nerves on Thursday. That, at least, felt normal.

Here’s how the first day looked at Rushton Elementary School, where Shawnee Mission Post reporter Juliana Garcia hung out for the morning:

Student going through school supplies
Many students’ first day started with a school supply inventory.
Student goes through school supplies
Teachers asked students to find various supplies — glue sticks, pencils, folders — and organize them. Above, a student is about to write their name on several folders.
Students stock cubbies
After a school supply haul, students were asked to put their items into their designated cubbies.
Kindergartener colors
Some students started their day with coloring, like the kindergarten student above. Kindergarten students don’t officially start until Aug. 16, though Rushton did host a kindergarten camp on Aug. 12.
Students line up
Older students line-up and walk to visit specials — music, art, physical education and library — teachers.
Student raises hand
Students met in Rushton’s gymnasium to meet the specials teachers. Some like the student above were eager to share summer vacation stories, like who flew on a plane or went on a boat.
Student smiles for photo
A first grader smiles for a first day of school photo taken by a teacher for the classroom photo gallery.
Student rolls play dough
Students were asked to pay attention as their new teachers went over the classroom rules. Above, a second grader rolls play dough while listening to the new rules.
Rushton student smiles
All in all, Rushton Elementary students enjoyed their first day of school — as evidenced by some students’ smiles.

Rushton wasn’t the only school starting Thursday.

Students in all elementary schools, plus 7th and 9th graders began classes Thursday.  On Friday, 8th graders and the rest of high schoolers are set to come for the first time.

On Thursday, Shawnee Mission North Principal David Ewers officially stepped into the principal role.

Shawnee Mission South freshman showed their enthusiasm for the new school year.

Pawnee Elementary students and families capture special moments before the beginning of a new year.

New Superintendent Michelle Hubbard visited Prairie and Brookridge Elementaries on Thursday — and rode one bus to school.

Lenexa Hills students were all smiles for the first day of school.

And Trailwood Elementary students joined in on the first day of school hype, too.

Belinder Elementary students arrived to a warm welcome from Shawnee Mission East cheerleaders.