MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) - A pep rally and parade was held Wednesday evening to boost school spirit for and encourage enrollment in the new Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System.
The district is still trying to get students to register before the start of the school year, which is scheduled to start Sept. 4.
Last year, about 1,400 students were registered in the old public district. About 900 students have already registered for the new charter district, 300 of whom are kindergarten and first grade students.
The district is expecting a few hundred more unregistered students on the first day and week of school. Superintendent Alena Zachery Ross told 24 Hour News 8 the district will not turn any students away that first day of school.
Zachery Ross said the district will have staff, volunteers, community members on hand to help students who aren't registered and will complete the process in non-traditional areas like media centers rather than the central office.
Zachery Ross's said the district anticipates by the end of the first week of school, the district will have about 1,200 students.
She stressed that even though the school buildings are the same, the district is, and will be, different. She told 24 Hour News 8 only about 10 teachers from the old district remain. Initially Mosaica Education, Inc. -- the Atlanta-based charter school firm that's running the new charter academy -- told 24 Hour News 8 they planned to hire about 100 teachers total.
"Most of us have not come from the previous district. We have been warmly embraced by all of those persons," said Zachery Ross. "We're getting information about what worked and what didn't work. We are taking that, along with our Mosaica model, and ensuring that this school year has the fresh beginning, has the same expectations that all the other Mosaica schools have -- along with the state and this community. They want that Tiger Pride back. They're expecting high academic expectations, high behavioral expectations."
Zachery Ross says the district is ready for a new school year, but some parents have expressed trepidation and say they still don't know a lot of details.
One parent, who did not want to share her name, told 24 Hour News 8 she has two students in the district for a second year. She said she's frustrated that she doesn't know what teachers her children will have and the school year starts in less than a week. She said at this point last year, she knew all of that information.
The district will enforce uniforms this year in the two elementary schools and the middle school. Those uniforms are described as black or khaki pants and navy or light blue shirts.
It's just one of many changes planned by Mosaica.
The district was converted to a charter format after asking for an emergency financial manager because it faced $12 million in debt.
Police are looking for the suspect in an armed robbery that occurred at a gas station in Plainwell Thursday night.
The rink will be open that day from 3-9 p.m.
Bethany Murk, 48, was arrested Thursday following a drug bust in Van Buren County.