By Sherri EllingtonNew teachers came in for orientation Monday and returning teachers come back today and tomorrow as the 2013-14 school year gears up. ‘Our system leaders greeted 11 new employees, not including the two people we hired some time during the previous few months, school nutrition director Sharon Manley and finance director Kristen Albritton,’ said superintendent Dr. Bill Truby. ‘We had a time of fellowship and breakfast then I and other department leaders shared what our expectations and hopes are for our district.’After a brief board of education meeting about the orientation meeting, the newcomers had lunch with their principals. Monday afternoon there were meetings with some representatives from various companies that help employees. Then they were free to go to their buildings.’Tuesday we convened at 9:30 a.m.at the Fine Arts Center with everyone,’ Dr. Truby said.A class of 2017 open house and picnic for freshmen and their parents will be held on Wednesday, July 31, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open house for all schools will be Thursday, Aug. 1, from 2-6 p.m. while the first day of school is Monday, Aug. 5.’We expect over 2,600 students from pre-K through 12th grade,’ said Truby ‘We continue our ‘˜Quest to be the Best’ here in Lamar County. We have lots to be proud of and more to accomplish. I’m anticipating a great year for all of the Trojans.’The first holiday of the school year will be Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2. Fall break will run the week of Oct. 7-11 with Thanksgiving break the week of Nov. 25-29. Friday, Dec. 20, students will have an early release day as the Christmas and semester break runs from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3, 2014. Monday, Jan. 6, will see students gain an extra day off as faculty comes in for professional learning.Jan. 20 the school system will be closed for MLK Day. Winter break will run from Feb. 17-21 with two more professional learning days tossed in on March 14 and 17, giving students a four-day weekend. Spring break will be the week of April 21-25.Testing is set for the weeks of Sept. 10-14, Oct. 3-4 and 17, Dec.17-20 and Feb. 27-28 for a variety of high school tests. Jan. 23 and 24 is set for eighth grade testing. Most of March, April and May is set aside for testing in all grades.Other red-letter days on the calendar will be homecoming Friday, Oct. 5 and graduation on Saturday, May 25. The last day of school will be May 23, also a half-day, for students while teachers will have post-planning after Memorial Day, May 27-29.In all, there will be a total of 185 days for teachers and 175 for students.