BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tomorrow is the first day of school in Baltimore City and the fall semester begins on a high note.

Just last week the PARCC assessment tests showed Baltimore city students lead the region in gains in both English and math.

“We are excited about the growth we’re seeing in our student performance,” said City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises.

This will be the second year for Santelesis’ “Blueprint for Success” program.

The city is also celebrating five brand new, state of the art, schools accepting students for the first time. They are part of the $1 billion ’21st Century Building Program’ that has also broken ground on 5 other buildings to be completed later this year.

“Those will be five new schools brought online that replace, frankly, some of our most challenging buildings,” Santelesis said.

The city has seen its share of building challenges.

Last year the nation was outraged by images of freezing students in schools with inadequate heating. However, the state legislature has given the city $15 million to tackle maintenance and Santelesis said they have also hired 15 new maintenance personnel.

With the city school board re-allocating money to the schools in the highest poverty areas of the city, Santelesis said she hopes students get the social and emotional support needed to succeed.

“I would say to families, make sure your young people are in school. Young people, come to school because we are working really hard to make sure that more of our schools are places that young people would want to be,” Santelesis said.

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