WYALUSING - One day down, 179 days to go.

The Wyalusing School District opened its doors on Tuesday to welcome students for the first day of the 2012-2013 school year. However, it was not just the first day of school for the students, but also for new Elementary Principal Mike Wells.

"I've been here for six weeks now," he said. "It's been very exciting so far and sometimes a bit overwhelming, but it's been great.

Helping Wells get acclimated to the responsibilities of principal is Assistant Principal Mark Boos, a position that was created this year.

"He's been a great help to me and the school," Wells said. "He brings great ideas to the table on the services of the school."

Prior to becoming the elementary principal for the Wyalusing School District, Wells worked in the Towanda School District for three years, firstly as assistant elementary principal for two years and the final year as director of special education. Before that, he worked in the Northern Tioga School District for 10 years as a seventh and eighth grade math and science teacher and guidance counselor.

This school year also marks only the second year of usage of the new elementary school facility, which hosted 717 elementary students for the first day, which is roughly the same as last year's attendance.

"So this is not new just for me, but many of the teachers as well as they continue to adjust to the new facility," Wells said. "Our kindergarteners are always a concern on the first day because they need to learn where to go. We have as many people on duty as possible to help them with their whereabouts."

For the upcoming school year, some minor adjustments are being made, but mostly the school looks to continue to grow with the programs that were established with the new building last year.

"Our bus drop off and breakfast routines are some of the minor changes that have been made to gain efficiency," Wells said, "and returning for the second year is our PBIS program."

According the Wells, the PBIS stands for "positive behavioral interventions and support system," and it was created to promote a more positive school climate. In the program is the R.A.M.S. student objectives, which encourages students to "Respect everyone, Aim high, Make good choices and Stay safe."

Kindergarten Teacher Kim Hines praised her students on a successful first day of school.

"It's gone extremely well," she said. "The students have gone to their destinations very quietly and everything's been going very smoothly."

Second Grade Teacher Ginny Amoroso echoed her colleague's words.

"We're off to a great start," she said. "Right now we're just going over our R.A.M.S. rules and so far it's been great."

Wells also noted that PTO meetings would begin on the second Monday of every month starting Sept. 10 and an open house would be held on Oct. 11.

At the high school, 629 students attended the first day of school, and more are expected as the school year continues.

"Our biggest change at the high school this year is our new French I class," Superintendent Chester Mummau said. Mummau also added the junior-year students would be taking their Keystone Exams in the Spring for the first time.

"Overall, it was a smooth day," he said. "We had a couple of late buses due to downed trees from the storm the previous night and we also have some new drivers, but things like that happen on the first day and it'll be even smoother as we get more comfortable."

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 265-1639; email: jwilliams@northeastdriller.com.