Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) welcomed back students to more than 100 elementary schools on September 5, to begin the traditional start calendar for the 2017-18 school year.

Although students in high schools, middle schools, and a few elementary schools had already started classes on August 14, the official district celebration took place at Walt Whitman Elementary School.

Along with MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver, others who welcomed students included Governor Scott Walker, Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers, State Senator David Craig, Alderman Mark Borkowski, MPS School Board Director Paula Phillips, and other community partners.

Students were greeted by Bango, mascot for the Milwaukee Bucks, and by members of We Six, a jazz ensemble from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. MPS has declared the 2017–18 school year as the Year of the Arts.

MPS students start the new school year after showing improvement last year in reading, an increase in scholarships, and expansion of career training programs. Seven high schools were also ranked among the best in the state and nation.

These images capture the kick off event at Walt Whitman Elementary School, welcoming students back from a long summer break, and the audio segment features remarks from several speakers to usher in the new school year.

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Lee Matz