It's the first day of school for Boston Public School students, and for new Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. WGBH Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu spoke with Cassellius about her plans for the year. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Joe Mathieu: I'll start by congratulating you on the start of this new school year. What time did your alarm go off this morning?

Brenda Cassellius: My alarm went off a 3:30 this morning. Then I was headed out to a bus yard to greet our bus drivers and get them sent off with a great day.

Mathieu: Tell me about that — I saw some pictures of you on Twitter at the Readville bus yard. Where have you stopped by so far and how are things looking?

Cassellius: Well, I've been in Readville and the buses are rolling, which is fantastic. Then I went to our Freeport yard and greeted all the bus drivers and bus monitors there. And then just left the Washington Street bus yard, and the buses seemed to be rolling off our yards on time. So that's good.

Mathieu: Well, that is good for the first day. I know these things don't always come easily, as we've seen in the last couple of years. Have you been able to address some of the issues creating more efficient bus routes and getting kids to class on time?

Cassellius: Well, we've been able to address some of the issues. We do anticipate some bumps, so we want to remind parents to go to the hotline and to also check our "where's my school bus" tracker so they can have on-time and online access to that.

Mathieu: For some of the older students, the MBTA is, of course, their option to get to school. Superintendent, we spend a lot of time in the morning talking about delays [and] various challenges with the MBTA system. Of course all that stuff is meaningful for students trying to get to school on time in that form. Are you concerned about the performance of the T?

Cassellius: Well, I've been talking to the at the MBTA, and so we've been planning all along and all summer for it. Fortunately, our students often traveled before the really heavy hours because they're earlier. So our high school students will start earlier and get on the T earlier, and then they often leave later because of extracurricular activities or have late start times. So hopefully we won't see too much congestion on the T, and students will be able to get to school. But we're going to continue to monitor it, and then also there are extra folks there helping our new students with passes — because we expanded the program this year — so that in case students do get confused or there are delays, they're able to know which one to get onto next to get to school.

Mathieu: It brings up the issue of school choice and assignment, which has been controversial over the years. We heard from a parent in Hyde Park complaining that his kids were not given a seat in any of the 14 schools he listed as preferences. I wonder your thought on that. Should students be able to attend a school they can walk to?

Cassellius: Well, you know, that's what we did in Minnesota. So I think that the assignment system is something that I've heard very loud and clear from parents in Boston. I do think that it takes a good look at, so this next three months I'll be talking to parents and community members about several things within our strategic plan. So I'd be open to talking to parents about how we might be able to do it better so that they're able then to get the choices that they want for their children that are going to serve them well. And the number one thing to do there is ensure that we have high-quality schools in every neighborhood.

Mathieu: You've been personally walking door-to-door to encourage kids to show up for class. What are the attendance numbers [and] what are you planning to do to address that?

Cassellius: Well, we know that there is an issue with chronic attendance, especially under high school age students. So knocking on doors and getting out there and just making sure our support staff is really surrounding students and helping them get the support that they need in order to get to school on time every day, because you can't learn if you're not in school. And so it's just an important message for us to send to students. We'll also be enlisting our youth at our Student Advisory Council to help us with that as well. They've just been wonderfully terrific.

Mathieu: Is there such thing as a truant officer anymore? I'm asking you that seriously.

Cassellius: Yeah. We do have officers who help us with students who are chronically absent, but mostly it's about creating environments that children want to come to. High schools where students have the performing arts [and] the visual arts. They have opportunities for athletics, they have opportunities for debate league and other clubs so that they feel connected at school, and they and they have a reason to want to come. And so that, as well as having a strong academic rigorous program, and them being able to view and see their future and know that this is really important for them. That's our job, and that's what we're going to do.

Mathieu: Lastly, how's the tour going? I know you wanted to hit all 125 schools by the end of the year. What's your status?

Cassellius: Well, I've hit about 20. So I'm going to do a good job of hitting several more today and then continue on all through. It should be done by December 5.