A year makes a big difference, said Watertown School Committee Chairman Eileen Hsu Balzer who noted the change in spirits from the beginning of school last year to this year.
Last year at this time, the district was a different place, Hsu Balzer said at Monday's School Committee meeting.
"Last year at this time we had an interim superintendent, an interim assistant superintendent, an interim principal at Lowell School, an interim human resources director and we were in negotiations with all our labor unions," Hsu Balzer said. "This year it is a whole lot easier to get down to what we are supposed to be doing - teaching and learning."
Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald said she also saw the smiles and enthusiasm from the teachers on the opening day of school.
Kimo Carter, principal of Watertown Middle School, said the school year is off to a great start.
"In my time at the Middle School, we haven't had a better first day, a better opening day for staff and for children. They are working hard to make it the best year ever," Carter said. "I can't say enough about the students, who were ready to learn and work together."
Hosmer School principal Ann Hardiman, said she could sense the positive attitude with which people returned to school.
"There was a warm feeling of togetherness," Hardiman said.