Vermont heads back to school this week. Get ready to see kids gathering at the bus stop, their backpacks filled to the brim with new pencils, erasers, and notebooks. Rows of shiny yellow school buses. A layer of summer dust blowing off the school bell with that first morning ring.

The rush and excitement of the first day of school.

Many in our area mark the start of the school year with the arrival of the Champlain Valley Expo, which runs frrom Aug 27-Sept 5 this year. With Hurricane Irene mostly behind us, the Expo still stay open all week. There's still time to savour that last 3,000-calorie taste of summer

Here are back-to-school dates for many local schools:

Champlain Elementary School: September 1

Mallets Bay School: August 31

Essex Elementary School: August 31, Sept 1 (kindergarten)

Milton Town School District: September 1

Orchard and Chamerlain Schools: August 31

Renaissance School: September 6

Shelburne Community School: August 31

Williston School District: August 31

Winooski School Distrcit: September 1

 * * *

2011 - First Days of High School

Burlington High School: Sept 1 (9th graders), Sept 2 (grades 10-12)

Champlain Valley Union HS: August 31 (9th graders), Sept 1 (grades 10-12)

Colchester High School: August 31

Essex High School: August 30 (9th graders), August 31 (grades 10-12)

South Burlington High School: August 31