3 Students in five northeast Florida counties headed BACK TO SCHOOL this morning. From kindergarteners to high school seniors...it's the start of a new year. Duval County was one of the districts where the bells were ringing. It was still dark when some students at Terry Parker High School in Arlington arrived on campus. But the sun was up by the time the first bells rang at 7:15. Elementary schools were among the next to start. At Arlington Elementary... kids of all ages arrived for the new year... some of them escorted by their parents. Middle schools in Jacksonville start at 9:30 this year... and this was the scene at Mandarin Middle. Some students were dropped off or took the bus... while others rode their bike for the first day. Students also headed back to school in St. Johns County. It's a district that's been trying to deal with a lot of GROWTH in recent years. Channel 4's Erica Rakow shows us how their year is starting off. 3 3 3 3 3 0-56-1021-2645-50103-108118- 123139-144159-204PKG: ERICA LOOKLIVE INTRO: 8:59:08 Lots and lots of back to school smiles the first day of school here in st johns county. There is a lot that goes into making sure that this day goes as smooth as possible with 33,000 students in the county heading back to school all at once. Here at hickory creek elementary school the principal says what makes that happen is a partnership between teachers parents and students.DR. PAUL GORICKI/PRINCIPAL AT HICKORY CREEK ELEMENTARY 7:58:15 what we say about kids at hickory creek is first we love them then we teach them we know that we all do our best work when we feel cared about THAT'S THE MOTTO DR.GORICKI IS STICKING TO AS HE STARTS HIS NINTH YEAR AT THE VERY SCHOOL HE OPENED.. IT WAS OFF TO A GOOD START AT HICKORY CREEK ELEMENTARY THIS MORNING.. SAFETY PATROLS LEARNED TO RAISE OUR STATE AND COUNTRY FLAGS..PARENTS AND GRANDPARENT S DROPPING THEIR LITTLE ONES OFF IN GOOD SPIRITS.MIKE GLASS/FATHER OF 7TH GRADER 7:17:49 I just swing in, drop him off today I'm doing a little bit more I'm taking his guitar, his trumpet couple of his things its like hes going on vacation he's got so much stuff NEXT DOOR IS SWITZERLAND POINT MIDDLE.. WHERE THERE'S A HUGE EMPHASIS ON MAKING THE SIXTH GRADERS FEEL COMFORTABLE AS THEY TRANSITION FROM AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ROUTINE.TAMI PATRICK/MOM OF 6TH GRADER 7:16:24 she's extremely nervous and actually I just parked so I can go in and she's like oh come in with me so yeah she was pretty nervous A SIXTH GRADE CAMP DURING THE SUMMER AND HELP FROM THE MORE EXPERIENCED MIDDLE SCHOOLERS HELP MAKE THIS DAY GO A BIT SMOOTHER.JAKE GLASS/7TH GRADER 7:18:26 it's not as bad as they make it look in the movies and the books it's not like a warfield where like everyones just its not total mayhem PRINCIPAL LISA KUNZE THOUGH SAYS THERE IS A BIT OF MAYHEM.. THIS YEAR THEY HAVE 100 MORE STUDENTS THAN LAST YEAR.. AND ABOUT 50 MORE THEN BUDGETED FOR. THAT'S THE SCENARIO PRETTY MUCH DISTRICT WIDE AS IT'S BEEN THE LARGEST GROWING DISTRICT IN THE STATE FOR FIVE YEARS.DR. JOE JOYNER/SUPERINTENDENT OF ST. JOHNS COUNTY SCHOOLS 24:38 we are looking at long range plans because with this level of growth, we're growing at a rate of about a school a year we're essentially out of capital dollars to pay for continued schools and so we've got to look at a long term solution and what we're doing is meeting with the board. ERICA LOOKLIVE TAG: 8:59:33 Dr. Joyner says they're working with state legislators to try to secure that long term funding to help them alleviate some of the overcrowding and expansion and growth that's going on in st. johns county. Right now there's 2 brand new k-8 schools under construction on the north end of the county. Reporting from st johns county, Erica Rakow, channel 4 TLS.