EVANS, Ga (WJBF)- All of Columbia County students are heading back to the classroom Thursday. While kids have been enjoying their summer vacation, the school district has been preparing for the upcoming year.

School officials are hoping for another successful year. Last year, the county was proud to bring home quite a few local state and national titles in the arts, academics, and athletics- like Harlem High School’s historic state baseball championship win.

This year, the district is going into the second year of what they call their “5-year strategic plan.”

They’re focusing on student engagement both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. They also want the community to be more engaged with the education of Columbia County’s kids.

Superintendent, Dr. Steven Flynt said it’s important to focus on how to get students more involved in their own education.

“Schools have changed over the years and we want to involve students in real world activities. Something that engages them in their learning. So it’s not a sit and get. It’s actually facilitating learning for our students. And our teachers are masterful with this,” he explained.

Dr. Flynt said there are some new things to look forward to, like new additions to several schools, an updated high school curriculum and the opening of the Junior Achievement Discovery Center of the CSRA in January.

The center will allow middle school students in the CSRA to learn more about financial literacy and personal finance education.

While many students aren’t thrilled about going to school, they are all usually excited for the first day.

Dr. Flynt says everyone, including faculty and staff, is ready for the new year.

“I’ve been in the business for over 30 years and the first day of school is always the most exciting day not only for the educators but also for the students. So, we’re really looking forward to the start of this school year,” smiled Dr. Flynt.

Middle schools will start at 7:30 a.m. with high schools starting just 5 minutes later. And elementary schools will begin at 8:40 a.m.