Beaufort Today -

Beaufort County students return to school

  • Michelle Flores/Beaufort Today Students wait outside Robert Smalls International Academy for the opening bell on their first day.
  • Michelle Flores/Beaufort Today A Broad River Elementary student walks into school Thursday.
  • Michelle Flores/Beaufort Today Students and parents enter Robert Smalls International Academy on the first day of school.
  • Michelle Flores/Beaufort Today Parents waited in long car lines to drop off their students at Battery Creek High School.
  • Michelle Flores/Beaufort Today Students walk into Robert Smalls International Academy. Schools all over Beaufort County started the academic year Thursday.

Class is back in session for Beaufort County students.

The county’s public schools opened their doors to about 22,000 students to begin the 2017-18 academic year Thursday morning.

District officials said about 3,640 students are attending schools outside their zoned attendance areas in the third year of the district’s expanded choice program. Parents can apply to send their children to any academic program at any school in the district.

Students at five schools were greeted by new principals:

• Chad Cox, former principal at Whale Branch Middle School, is the new principal at Battery Creek High School.

• Bonnie Almond, the district’s former director of innovation, is the new principal at Beaufort High School.

• Michelle Sackman, former assistant principal Whale Branch Elementary School, is the new principal at Mossy Oaks Elementary School.

• Jennifer Morillo, the district’s former director of teaching and learning, is the new principal at Robert Smalls International Academy.

• Freddie Lawton, former assistant principal at Whale Branch Middle School, is the school’s new principal.

District bell schedules are unchanged from last year, with elementary schools starting classes at 7:45 a.m. and middle, high and pre-K to 8 schools starting at 8:45 a.m.

There are no classes scheduled for Monday, as a staff development day coincides with the solar eclipse that will be viewable in Beaufort County that afternoon.

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Go to to see more photos from the Beaufort County School District’s first day of classes.