Superintendent Darienne Driver kicked off the new school year along with faculty and staff at James Madison Academic Campus. They lined up and cheered students on as they entered the building.
According to district officials, the new, early start calendar gives students more time for instruction before national AP and ACT testing dates.
The new calendar also slides up the end of first semester into December -- before the holiday break. Traditionally, final exams for first semester have been after the time off around Christmas. The schedule change eliminates the layoff before finals.
Students said it felt nice returning to class.
"It feels like a fresh start, something that's new and exciting to be a part of," said senior Elliyah Lock.
"Being off during the summer is great," said senior Deshauna Hughes, "But you get bored sometimes."
"Plus, with the earlier start, we get done with high school earlier," Hughes said. "We get to graduate in May. So it's pretty good for us."
Classes at MPS elementary schools not on the early start calendar begin September 5.