SACRAMENTO -- Pacific Elementary in Sacramento rolled out the red carpet for students and staff on Thursday for the first day of the year.
Principal Lara Lampkins says the celebration idea cam from one of their own teachers.
"She said, 'Let's make sure that we begin the year nice and energized,'" Lampkins said. "So this is our second year of our welcome line and we also added the photo booth that you see to capture the first day of school."
Some of the staff dressed up for the red carpet, wearing sashes marking their years of service. Lampkins celebrated her 22nd first day of school as an educator.
"My favorite part are hugs, smiles, seeing the students and seeing the parents," she said.
Superintendent Jorge Aguilar joined the receiving line. He says beyond the smiles, hugs and dance moves is a staff focused on a serious goal.
"Making sure that we are providing the right interventions, academic, social, emotional so that our students are on track to graduate and have the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options," he said.
The Sacramento City Unified School District begins the year amid an ongoing budget crisis, prompting cuts backs and layoffs and exacerbating strained relations between the teachers union and school district. But Aguilar says those issues have to take a backseat.
"These are days where we just have to not get distracted by all of that and just make sure that we are meeting the needs of the students. They are our number one priority," Aguilar said.