NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Close to 12,000 students headed back to school in southern Indiana Thursday morning.

New Albany-Floyd County Elementary Schools and High Schools started around 7:30, and the two middle schools got classes started around 9 o'clock.

Even though it's only Aug. 1, students settled into their homerooms and new routines.  Scribner Middle School in New Albany -- like other schools -- is implementing a new, balanced calendar year.

The new schedule consists of four nine-week periods separated by two-week breaks in the fall, winter and spring.

Administrators like Scribner Middle School Principal Keith Bush say the plan is to use the breaks to get some students back on track.  "Then we'll also hopefully offer some inter-session time that will provide some services to kids that might need a little extra help," Bush said.

The hope is to also raise test scores. Many parents and educators are supportive of the new calendar.  Bush says, "Research has shown it really helps with retention of information."

Lisa Barnett has a 6th grader attending Scribner. She says, "Scribner is definitely different from when I went to school. Scribner is lot bigger. When I went to school, it was 7th, 8th, and 9th grade versus 5th, 6th,7th, 8th."

Bush encouraged parents to be patient this afternoon as students head home on the buses, since some buses may be running a little behind -- which is to be expected on the first day of school.

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