By Greg Argos

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s George Washington High School is striving to change the culture in the classrooms and the hallways this year.

In the past, the school has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

READ MORE: Triple Shooting In West Oak Lane Leaves Man Dead, 2 Women Exiting Funeral Services At Church Injured, Philadelphia Police Say

Students at George Washington High School, in Northeast Philadelphia, told Eyewitness News that at first they were a little bit concerned about starting the school year at the school, but with the new year comes a new principal.

She says that she has plans to change this high school’s image. A new school year equals a new outlook at George Washington High School.

“The biggest thing that we’ve done is that the staff has rallied around the fact that we really care about students,” said Principal Susan Thompson. “We care about their success and in that, the teachers, staff, everybody is much more positive this year.”

AAA Urges Drivers To Be Careful Around School Bus Stops

READ MORE: Memorial Day Weekend In Philadelphia Is In Full Swing As Local Residents Attend Fireworks At Penn's Landing

Thompson says the positive outlook is a change from last year when some high profile fights plagued the school and forced the school district to send the principal at the time packing.

Thompson’s goal: “All students to graduate and to be successful in class, safe and learning.” That goal already seems to be working.

“When I first heard I was going to Washington, I was excited for the sports, but also kind of worried for my safety,” said freshman Stephanie Kelly. She added that the school’s image already appears to be changing.

One built on fear and fights, now fosters a more positive learning environment.

“Honestly, I heard so much bad about it, but when you go in, it’s not that bad,” Kelly said. “Honestly, it was a great day. I had a great day. Nobody messed with me. Everybody welcomes you with open arms.”

MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Weather: 90's Arrive For Memorial Day

There is a back to school night set for September 26, just about three weeks from now. There, Thompson plans to lay out her plan for the parents.