When Central Regional Middle School and High School teachers opened their doors this morning, they weren't just welcoming new classes of seventh-graders and freshmen.
Along with all of those fresh young faces are 78 students from all over Ocean County -- representing nearly every district -- who've come to Central as part of its selection as a choice district.
"That is (the most) the state allows us to accept," Central Regional Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides said. Students who want to come to the district will be selected through a lottery, he said.
The number of choice students allowed to come to Central is based on a school's enrollment, Parlapanides said.
"The state doesn't want you to have to add extra teachers," he said.
The state also has a specific amount budgeted for the program. Central is reimbursed $14,600 per choice student, money that has been used to help fund the new Humanities Academy partnership with Georgian Court, as well as pay for things such as the installation of wifi access throughout the high school. received in the spring of 2011 that was held over also was used, Parlanpanides said.
The wifi access allows teachers and students to harness the technology that's already in a student's hands -- the smart phone -- to access websites relevant to a day's lesson.
"That's how the kids are learning anyway," he said.
Parlapanides told the Central Regional Board of Education in August, however, that students will be reminded often about using that technology wisely.
The money from the choice program also has allowed the district to purchase new math and science textbooks, Parlapanides said.
While today was the first day for most of the district, some of Central's students have been attending school for more than a week, Parlapanides said. The students in the Humanities Academy began attending the program last week, he noted. An orientation at Georgian Court University is on tap on Friday for the seniors in the program.
"I'm excited," Parlapanides said. "We've got a lot of good things going on here at Central."