By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 14, 2017 at 1:03 PM

Sure, it's only Aug. 14, but with a new early start date for high schools, middle schools and some elementaries, too, many Milwaukee Public Schools students are sitting in their classrooms for the first day of school, too.

To kick off this first day of school, Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver was joined by a number of community members at James Madison Academic Campus, 8135 W. Florist Ave., for the traditional ringing of the back to school bell.

The idea of the earlier start date – the remainder of traditional calendar MPS schools open again on Tuesday, Sept. 5 – is that students will have more classroom time under their belts by the time standardized tests will roll around, allowing them extra time to prepare themselves. Hopefully, this will lead to better results on national tests like the ACT and AP exams.

The first semester will also now end in December rather than after holiday break, which never really made much sense.

The second semester will end earlier than in the past, too, but the addition of the new June Term (aka J-Term) offers kids a chance to either make up ground or get ahead. The J-Term plus the annual July summer academy should help prevent summer slide for students who participate.

According to a district press release, the pilot J-Term this summer "had encouraging results with 70% of the participating seniors graduating this summer."

Today was also the first day of school that required all students (except the handful of schools that opted out) to wear uniforms. It'll be interesting to see how that pans out.

While the parent of a Rufus King IB High School student told me she saw "exactly one student" in uniform at morning drop-off today, one principal at a uniform school said although that most students arrived in uniform Monday, "quite a few" families have opted out of uniforms.

I hope the new early start date has the desired effect. Happy first day of school, (some) kids! Let's make it a great year!

Here are some photos taken today:

One of @madisonjmac's littlest neighbors helped us welcome students back today! #mpsdayone

A post shared by Milwaukee MPS (@milwaukeemps) on

We're getting ready to welcome JMAC students back to school for Day One! #mpsdayone

A post shared by Milwaukee MPS (@milwaukeemps) on

Welcome back Knights! #mpsdayone

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Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.