Solid attendance rate.

Check.

Safe and efficient bus transportation.

Check.

Collaborative student behavior.

Check.

With all of those variables working in its favor, it's no wonder why Palmerton Area School District was able to function as a well-oiled machine on Monday.

Students returned for their first day of classes, with just 15 absent districtwide, according to Superintendent Carol Boyce, who said the district had a net gain of over 40 students more than it had total last year.

Leon George Bus Company, the district's school bus transportation provider, had things well-organized as always, said Boyce, who added that she had not heard of any busing transportation issues whatsoever.

As for the condition of the learning facilities, Boyce said all elementary buildings were "completely ready and sparkling clean." The construction projects at the junior high/senior high school have some very minor items for completion, but both buildings are fully usable, she said.

Meanwhile, Boyce said the public address system in the stadium was being worked on in preparation for the high school football team's season-opening football game.

Perhaps most importantly, Boyce said student behavior was cooperative.

"As I visited every building, I was very pleased to see everyone busy; both students and staff were smiling and seemed to enjoy being back," Boyce said. "There was lots of activity."

Boyce said she saw a number or elementary teachers give guidance on the polite and safe way to travel the hallways, participate politely in class, organize their desks and materials, and other first day topics; students were very attentive to their new principal at the junior high as she explained her expectations; and class meetings were in the process and everyone seemed ready for a good year at the high school.