(08/26/13) - Students at a Flint charter school have a fresh start this year.
The school leader at Northridge Academy in Flint says just last year, the K-8 school was on the verge of closing.
Ferris State University, which charters it, was not impressed with how students were performing. That's all changed - and everyone is looking forward to an even better year, this year.
There are smiles everywhere inside Northridge Academy in Flint. Every student enrolled was offered a back to school haircut - for free.
"A lot of times, students are not able to afford haircuts and hairdos before school starts. And it helps to boost self-esteem," said Latricia Brown-Coates, school leader.
But that confidence boost is about more than just time in the barber's chair.
"First had to come from teachers, they set the tone. So they had to be excited about what they were doing and when you're excited about what you're doing, it spills over," Brown-Coates said.
In Brown-Coates' first year as school leader, she made big changes. From leadership to structure to curriculum, she says it all came together.
"At the bottom 5 percent, and this year we're at the top 5 percent," she said.
This year, they're expecting more good things.
For the first time ever, the school is offering busing. They think that's helped boost enrollment from just under 250 students last year to, "About 315, and growing," Brown-Coates said.
One new student is Taquarius Robins. The school he went to last year closed, so his mom brought him here.
"I'm just getting him into a school that's close to where I live at," said Jermica Hollins.
Taquarius loves his haircut, so does his mom.
"It looks wonderful, I like it," she said.
When school starts the day after Labor Day, everyone will look good - and feel good, too.
"I see smiles coming and going," Brown-Coates said.
Students were also given free school supplies, Tuesday.
ABC12 Main Station