CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s the first week of school for many school districts in Central Illinois, including Champaign.

First through sixth graders, along with high school freshmen, started school on Monday, while seventh and eighth graders started Tuesday. It was a fresh start for everybody, with maybe a few pre-year jitters for sixth graders and freshmen going to new schools.

Jim Shallenberger said his grandson went from an upperclassman to starting sixth grade at Franklin STEAM Academy. But students aren’t the only one’s adjusting this year.

Superintendent Shelia Boozer asked parents what changes they would like to see for 2023.

“We want to make sure not only our staff members and our students feel supported, but our community and our families as well,” Boozer said. “So, what can we do better? We’ve heard questions about transportation so we’re answering that call.”

The solution: two brand new apps for families to stay more connected.

“Ride 360 with Traversa for our bus apps, and we have a lot of our families are really downloading that app,” Boozer said. “And we also have, new this year, our Unit 4 mobile app. So, if you want to know what’s happening in the schools, all you have to do is download that app.”

Boozer said the Unit 4 app lets parents select the school their child attends and they can get realtime updates and alerts. Traversa Ride 360 allows parents to see when their child gets on and off the bus, while also updating them on arrival and departure times.

Boozer added that better communication with families benefits the students and vice versa.

“Because when our school system is doing great things, it makes our community thrive,” Boozer said. “So, that’s what we’re looking forward to.”

And although kids are looking forward to seeing all their friends again, the new school year can be bittersweet.

“He’s kind of excited to go back to school,” Shallenberger said. “But I imagine he’ll miss being off.”

Other schools in the area, such as Urbana, Mattoon and Mahomet start Wednesday. Charleston and Unity Schools start Thursday.