MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Merced City School District welcomed back nearly 12,000 students in preschool through 8th grade.
There were a lot of smiling faces - and a few nervous ones - at Peterson Elementary on Wednesday morning.
Students greeted their friends and teachers before heading into the classrooms. Action News also stopped by Tenaya Middle School, where the district's new superintendent received a warm welcome.
Diana Jimenez most recently served as superintendent of the Winters Joint Unified School District but also spent three years in Planada during her 34-year career in public education.
On Wednesday, she shared this message with Merced families.
"I want to tell them how proud I am of the staff and the work behind scenes during the summer to get campuses ready for our scholars and just the excitement and my anticipation in getting to know them and learning more of our community and working shoulder to shoulder with our scholars, our families and our community," said Jimenez.
Jimenez said two of the district's top priorities are improving literacy - and providing safe learning environments - at all 18 campuses and other facilities.