FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As area school districts finish up a week back in classrooms, we spoke with Superintendents to see how things went.

East Allen County Schools Superintendent Marilyn Hissong talked about the success and challenges the district experienced over the last 8 days. Hissong says all of their special education positions and teacher positions are filled, except for two math teaching positions. She says she was happy to see staff, parents, and students all working together.

“A lot of collaboration, a lot of working together which brings about a synergy that is exciting as we start the year,” Hissong said.

Another success she mentioned was being able to welcome students back in-person without masks. She says it was nice to see smiles again.

“Seeing the little Kindergarteners coming in and they were all waving and they’re smiling and their little front teeth are missing and I’m like you know we haven’t seen that in so long,” Hissong said.

Although the week went by pretty smooth, Superintendent Hissong says they need more Bus Drivers added to their staff. She says this will ensure a smoother first day and week next year.

“We need more bus drivers and I can’t make that plea long enough hard enough” Hissong said, “We just need more bus drivers because if we can’t get them to school, we can’t teach. So we really need them here on time everyday and part of that is the transportation.”

She says the district pays for the necessary training and test needed to become a bus driver. It’s also located in East Allen County, so that the distance is convenient.

Southwest Allen County Schools went back to school last week as well. Superintendent Park Ginder says that they are also in need of qualified bus drivers as well.

“Yes we’re seeing problems getting people, but the people that are doing the job are doing a tremendous job,” Ginder said, “they’re very much a key element to our success on a day to day basis in the classroom.”

Ginder says He was really pleased with how the first week of school went this year. He credits staff, parents, and students for being kind to each other, patient and working together. He also mentioned traffic not being as backed up as usual.

“School is always a teamwork approach and parents are super important in that. They are the most important piece of the process. But the entire team from top to bottom has been outstanding this school year as we’ve launched, ” Ginder said.

Although Ginder said it’s too early to know what they’ll change for next year, he stressed the importance of students getting to school if they’re healthy. He says it’s critical for the students well-being.

“We know that student outcomes are greatly impacted by absence, as few as 10 absences a year and as many as 18 can make a tremendous difference for a student and a detrimental difference in their future,” Ginder said.

To apply and see the requirements to be an East Allen bus driver, click here. To apply and see the requirements to join the Southwest Allen bus driver team, click here.