Milwaukee Public Schools students on Early Start calendar return to class

NOW: Milwaukee Public Schools students on Early Start calendar return to class

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- Monday was the first day of class for the 42 Milwaukee public schools on the "Early Start" calendar.

Students at Milwaukee High School of the Arts were greeted at the door with music, a red carpet, district leaders and city officials.

"I was not expecting that at all. I think it was an amazing surprise," said Jasmine Lopez, who is starting the 11th grade.

Lopez is one of many students who said they're excited to be back in class with their friends. Teachers are also excited to welcome them back and say they've been preparing for the first day of school since last school year ended.

Sharveta Parker, a special education teacher at MHSA, says days like this remind her of why she became a teacher. "I worked in corporate America before I became a teacher and I believe in the district; I believe in the program. I believe in MPS," said Parker.

District leaders say the biggest challenge going into the new school year has been securing staffing.

Keith Posley, superintendent for Milwaukee Public Schools, says the district will continue to work through those concerns. "There's a shortage, nationwide, of teachers. We face the same thing here in Milwaukee," he said.

On the first day of school, safety is also top of mind. "Nobody wants to see violence erupting in their neighborhood in any fashion," said Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

Posley says the district will continue working with its law enforcement partners to keep students and staff safe.

The district is also working with the health department on preventative measures for COVID-19 and monkeypox.

Face coverings are required for staff and students this week. Students on the traditional start calendar will start school on Sept. 6.

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