FAIRFIELD, Ala. (WIAT)– On Wednesday, Fairfield City School leaders welcomed students back school.

Superintendent Regina Thompson said all resources are in and teachers have been hard at work over the last week, dedicating their time to trainings and placing final touches on their classrooms.

Thompson said one of their main missions this year was to make sure teachers are trained on “character education,” not only focusing on academic achievement, but on the children as a whole and their individual needs.

Teachers will also work hard to make sure their students are meeting legislature guidelines for the Literacy Act.

At Glen Oaks Intermediate school, Principal Dashannikia Holston said they’ll be working to level up their third grade scholars in order to meet academic needs for state assessments in the spring.

Reading interventionist, Merill Wilson plays a large role in increasing those reading and even math scores.

“I think a lot of what I do in small groups is build confidence,” said Wilson. “So, I think that their ability to take that and apply it in other areas of school makes a big difference because where you might be afraid to talk in a class of 25, you might be willing to try something in a small group where you know that no one’s going to judge you or make fun of you for messing up. So, I think that it builds confidence overall and your ability to read is going to impact your subjects across the board.”

Just four days ago Fairfield city schools posted multiple openings they had on Facebook, but since then they’ve been hard at work to hire the right people for those jobs.

They’re now going into this school year almost fully staffed. Thompson said they now only need one math teacher, one special education teacher and one bus driver. She noted it’s really important to have main teachers in place from day one because teacher-student connections build trust and an eagerness to learn.

Their authentic family atmosphere is what Thompson said is a huge recruiting tool for them

“Our school district is the beacon of the city and one thing about it, we care about our employees,” Thompson said. “We really do. We give to them. You see what’s happening at institute. It’s big for them every year because we’re excited to have them and so what we always tell them is make them feel at home. Make them feel a part of the family as they’re coming in. Show them their classroom right away. Let them know they are already here. It’s not something they have to wait two weeks to do, but they are already apart of us when they walk through the doors.”

Thompson highlighted many new things coming to Fairfield City Schools this year which are all working to benefit student needs in a variety of ways.

This year they have a new financial literacy program, two new district coordinators, and a full-time district social worker.

Electric school buses are also coming this winter. Many of these additions were made possible through grants.

At Glen Oaks Intermediate school, Principal Holston said they’re really excited for new initiatives like yoga and the big brothers-big sisters mentor program.

“A lot of time our students need an advocate, and so having those mentors in our school, It’s just someone for our students to lean on. That person that they know they can go to that’s going to support them in different activities, different events- just show up for them. With our yoga we’ve been talking about our social-emotional needs of our students, and so that yoga is just going to be that time that we address some of those needs.”

Fairfield City Schools employees said they hope to empower their students to learn, grow, and make a difference in the world.