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First Day of School

Today is the first day of school in St. Joseph County and public school districts across the state.

Locally, students in Colon Community Schools will see fully refurbished elementary and jr./sr. high buildings after a $15 million, district-wide building and technology upgrade was completed over the summer.

In Three Rivers, new principals at Park and Norton elementary schools are in place. Also, the district this year is introducing a 71-minute early dismissal every Monday so teachers may focus on Professional Learning Communities.

Sturgis Public Schools, the largest district in the county, will delay its start by an hour every Thursday for the same purpose. The district this year also has issued iPads to every high school student to help transform their academics, Superintendent Tom Langdon said.

Meanwhile, teacher contracts are settled in only four districts in the county: Sturgis, Three Rivers, Constantine and White Pigeon.

Burr Oak’s Terry Conklin returns as the dean of St. Joseph County’s superintendents, as he is starting his 20th year in that position in Burr Oak.

In addition, Rob Kuhlman is beginning his third year as the only two-district superintendent in Southwest Michigan. He was hired in May 2010 to oversee Mendon and Centreville school districts.