HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — Hoover City Schools welcomed students back to the classroom Thursday morning.

Teachers and faculty tell CBS 42 that they are excited to welcome students back to school, and educators are working to ensure that students are safe this school year.

Hoover City Schools, the Hoover Police Department, and the city of Hoover say students’ safety is their top priority.

The police department is placing a school resource officer in every school building.

District leaders tell CBS 42 they also performed threat assessments over the summer at all schools to enhance protection.

Educators are excited to welcome parents back to school as well.

The school principal of Greystone Elementary School, Dr. Stacey Stocks, tells CBS 42 that she is looking forward to welcoming parents back to the building and regaining their trust.

“We’ve all been through such a hard time in COVID, and I think when parents can come in the building and see what we’re doing and how hard our teachers are working for their children and how hard their children are working at school,” Stocks said. “I think that is going to rebuild that trust that we have.”

Dr. Stocks says parents will be allowed to eat lunch with students on campus this year.

Teachers are hoping to return to a pre-pandemic school environment.

Fourth-grade Greystone Elementary teacher Jenny Gilliland is celebrating her 20th year as a teacher at the school.

She says one of the exciting things about teaching for her is learning something new, and she is ready to share all the latest and fun things with her students this year.

“I always have music, and one of the things I’m incorporating this year in our morning centers is we’re doing some agility things with our small motor skills,” Gilliland said. “Just some little skills like picking up ping pong balls with tongs and setting them on top of cones just to get those fine motor skills back, and a lot of things with balance this year.”

Miss Gilliland says these activities will help improve students writing and helps them to remain focused.

Greystone Elementary is also returning to its house system this school year based on the popular book series Harry Potter.

Every student is randomly placed in one of five houses once they enter Greystone, and they receive points and are rewarded through different activities and achievements.

Dr. Stocks says this will help build a community atmosphere within the school.

The houses are dolphins, hawks, lions, turtles, and wolves, representing peace, focus, courage, perseverance, and cooperation.