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First Day Of City Public School Greeted With Changes For Upcoming Year

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The summer has officially come to end for more than a million city public school kids, and new buildings, a new curriculum for students, a new evaluation system for teachers and a soon-to-be new boss for the whole Department of Education are among the many changes awaiting the new school year. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Monday, September 9, 2013 was the first day of school, and the first day of the city's first-ever Arabic dual language program.

It was also the first day at 76 brand new schools, and the first opportunity for scuff marks to be made inside 19 shiny new school buildings.

It was also the last first day for the Bloomberg administration.

My focus over the next three and a half months will be making sure our students are getting high quality education," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

In 2002, Michael Bloomberg spent his first day of school as mayor outside meeting with parents.

In the years since, he's usually spent the morning shaking hands and visiting classrooms.

But this year, his visit was toned down, consisting of just a brief speech to high school students in Washington Heights.

"The only piece of advice I can give you from somebody who's about to be unemployed in another three months is you gotta work hard," Bloomberg said.

The Chancellor went on to visit one school in each borough, showcasing brand new buildings in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island and a new charter school in an older building in the Bronx.

There were stunning views, a new type of room called "gymatoriums" and even some action.

On the roof of the Academy for Careers in Television and Film, students shot a scene as Chancellor Walcott played a starring role.

The well-orchestrated tour fit well with the Department of Education's ongoing effort to paint the mayor's controversial school reform legacy as a resounding success.

Soon there will be a new mayor, for the first time since the state gave City Hall control over the school system.

That's not the only major change schools face this year.

There is also a brand new curriculum, a new teacher evaluation system and mandatory kindergarten for the first time.

"We had 1.5 million textbooks delivered, or even earlier this morning being delivered, to our schools, which is a mammoth undertaking," Walcott said.

This is only one of several mammoth undertakings in a year of major changes for city schools.

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