Students' backpacks were a little lighter as they returned to Metro schools for the first day of school Wednesday.
The district decided not to purchase new social studies textbooks, instead choosing online learning materials.
"With a textbook, you are really confined to a few pages," said Robert Blankenship, principal at Rose Park Magnet Middle. "With the resources we have new and available to use, the world is really at their fingertips."
A school spokesperson said the move to digital learning is not a cost-cutting measure, but a way to keep the most accurate and up-to-date information in the classroom since social studies information changes more frequently than textbooks can be printed.
Previous social studies books will still be in the classrooms for teachers to reference.
"They'll be used as foundational books," Blankenship said.
There were other new changes on the first day of school. For the first time, all students ate breakfast and lunch free of charge.
"We are one of the first school systems in the country to do this," Blankenship said. "We are very excited about that."
There were no complaints from the students, or the people who serve them.
"I just want them to eat and be happy and healthy," said Mary Gooch, cafeteria assistant.
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