MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) welcomed back its high school, middle school and select elementary school students on Monday, August 14th to kick off the new early start calendar.
As students stepped off the bus at the James Madison Academic Campus, they found their own personal pep squad. There were pom poms and cowbells -- not to mention the welcoming smiles of school and district staff.
"Wasn't it nice seeing those young folks walking up this morning?" said School Board President Mark Sain.
At a press conference, the district celebrated the kickoff of the early start calendar.
"There's nothing like the first day of school," said Superintendent Darienne Driver.
Officials said the early start gives students more time to prepare in class, and then lets students off early enough to have a step up when it comes to the employment scene.
"Our students will end on Memorial Day, and then, during the month of June, they can do credit recovery, accelerated courses. They can participate in internships," said Dr. Driver.
Superintendent Driver said this is the year of the arts. The goal? Art for every child within MPS.
"Yes, this is an equity issue and yes, this is personal. I'm a music kid. I'm a dance kid. I'm an art kid. That's what I'm standing up for here. We want this for all our students," said Dr. Driver.
The district is also introducing students to college and career centers.
"To be able to learn about the college application process, how to apply for scholarships," said Dr. Driver.
MPS officials said increasing attendance is another big goal this year. The district is working with the Milwaukee Bucks and Jabari Parker to encourage students to own their future.