Elgin's U-46 school district welcomed back about 41,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade Monday morning.
The district serves parts of 11 different communities in Cook, DuPage, and Kane counties.
Rooms are decorated, floors are polished and the excitement at Bartlett Elementary is more contagious than a giggle at a cafeteria lunch table.
"I'm just happy I'm in the sixth grade," said sixth grader Joey Alderson. "It's my last year before middle school."
"It's kind of nice to see my friends and meeting the new teachers," said Quinn Kamarauskas, fifth grader.
A lot of thought and planning goes into what to wear on the first day of school. Fifth grader Maria Joseph gave us a little fashion show.
"When it's school I get to go, I love picking out my own clothes. It's really fun for me," she said. "I have a shirt from Justice, leggings and Sketchers."
"On the infrastructure side, we've purchased 90 new buses, 3,000 new laptops for teachers, and 25 of our buildings have undergone some type of renovation," said Patrick Mogge, School District U-46.
Eighteen new teachers have also been hired to expand arts, P.E. and music in elementary schools, and the opportunity for students to learn two languages starting in kindergarten has been extended.
Bartlett Elementary Principal Karen Luebke says so far the first day back has gone smoothly.
"There's nothing like watching them get off the bus and seeing their excitement in seeing each other. They look good, they smell good, the building just smells like new crayons," she said.