INDIANAPOLIS – It’s the first day back for more students across central Indiana.

Indianapolis Public Schools students are headed back for their first day of school on Monday. District leaders said they are excited to see their students back in the classroom.

“There’s nothing quite as exciting as the first day of school where you’re seeing our little ones who are so excited to be back and our older ones seeing their friends and getting reconnected with their teachers,” described IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. “So I’m really excited for us to have that positive energy and just carry it with us through the rest of the school year.”

Johnson said one of the district’s main focus areas this fall is helping students continue to grow after last school year. She said the district saw quite a bit of academic achievement among students.

“This school year we are really focused on keeping our momentum from last year,” she said. “We saw some great academic gains on our ILEARN data. We want to keep that academic progress moving forward. So very focused on our students on our students and the learning they’re getting everyday.”

Part of helping students grow academically includes giving them access to additional resources, which is why IPS is launching a new tutoring program this fall. The district is kicking of its “Tutoring for All” program on Sept. 12.

The tutoring program is free to all IPS students. It is based off of a pilot program that took place last spring. The new program is a partnership with Tutored by Teachers.

“As part of our learning recovery efforts, we are using some of the federal dollars we received to launch what we are calling ‘Tutoring for All,’ ” Johnson said. “That’s an opportunity for any IPS family to access additional tutoring for their student at no additional cost to them. They can sign up on our website for that service, and those students would receive two hours of service each week.”

Students will receive tutoring in the afternoon twice a week. The deadline to register for the program is Aug. 5.

Transportation is another major focus area for the IPS leaders. The district partnered with First Student over the summer to help improve the bus-riding experience. Those efforts includes raising starting wages for drivers, revamping some bus routes, and adding a transportation facility to help boot efficiency.

“I definitely want to remind our community to just be on the lookout and be aware,” Johnson said.

As classes kick off once again, Johnson said it is important that drivers practice extra caution while on the road.

“We’ll have a number of students who will be walking to school, walking to their bus stop, and traveling on those buses,” she said. “So if the community can help us do a great job by keeping them safe by being alert and aware. That’s a really important part of our work; getting our kids to and from school safely.”