Shelton Public Schools are back in session for a full day on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The buildings have been scrubbed clean, teachers and staff are in the midst of professional development and enrollment numbers are still being crunched. When it comes to the schools\u2019 buildings, no major changes or construction were done this summer. \u201cFrom a facilities standpoint, we are ready to go,\u201d Superintendent Freeman Burr said. Work continues to resolve fire safety issues raised by the state, according to the superintendent. \u201cWe are continuing to work with the state fire marshal\u2019s office to resolve concerns about the high school building,\u201d Burr said. Repairs to high school bathrooms were a priority this summer. \u201cWe did make a concerted effort to make the lavatory facilities as pristine as possible,\u201d Burr said. \u201cThey seem to get abused.\u201d Stalls and fixtures have been replaced and repaired and signs have been put up, encouraging students to keep the facilities clean and follow no-smoking rules. Some of the graduating seniors had sent letters about the conditions of the school bathrooms and Burr hopes the repairs and signs will help students police themselves and each other when it comes to keeping things clean and intact. Maintenance and cleaning of all school buildings was finished by this week. \u201cWe kind of proceeded this summer with a SWAT team approach,\u201d Burr said. \u201cCustodial maintenance teams went into school and did them top to bottom.\u201d No \u2018zero\u2019? Parents of students in kindergarten through grade 6 can expect to see standards-based report cards this year. Teachers will grade students based on standards in each subject and whether a student is meeting it, progressing toward it, not meeting it or exceeding it. Teachers and administrators are looking at grading practices throughout the district, particularly aligning grading criteria by subject. One discussion that has been part of professional development, according to Burr, is \u201cthe case against zero.\u201d The discussion focuses on how it can be difficult for students to recover and get a good grade if they receive a zero on a project or assignment and it could lead to a student disengaging. The district is also moving forward with curriculum development so Shelton schools are aligned with the state\u2019s transition to the Common Core Standards in 2015. Enrollment numbers are still changing and officials numbers won\u2019t be in until Oct. 1. However, the district expects to be down by a total of 100 students districtwide. But one or two additional sections of half-day kindergarten may be needed, based on preliminary numbers. The grade 5 class at Perry Hill School is also looking larger than expected and since teachers at the grade 5-6 school teach in teams, two additional staff members may be needed. Vision and Mission The Shelton Board of Education is starting the new school year with a new list of core beliefs, approved by elected members last Wednesday. The board also updated its mission and vision statements. The new vision statement is: \u201cShelton Public Schools will prepare all students with the necessary skills and knowledge to become responsible and successful citizens of a global society.\u201d The updated mission statement reads: \u201cThe Shelton Public School System provides all students with educational programs and opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge and character in a safe and respectful environment.\u201d The district\u2019s core belief statement is: \u201cThe Shelton Public School System believes that it is our responsibility to: \u2022 Provide effective research-based instruction by highly qualified staff \u2022 Engage students\u2019 families and the community to enhance learning and increase academic achievement \u2022 Provide a challenging and rigorous curriculum that meets individual student needs \u2022 Support and enhance student learning by providing relevant and engaging professional development opportunities.\u201d For more information, including bus routes and back-to-school night schedules for paretns, see SheltonPublicSchools.org.