Mayor Richard M. Daley today reminded Chicago parents and guardians that classes begin Monday, August 9, for almost 100,000 Chicago Public Schools students who attend year-round (or “Track E”) schools.
“When school begins, it’s vitally important that every student shows up on time and ready to learn,” Daley said at an interfaith rally and “Safe Haven” festival held at Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine Av., in the Englewood neighborhood.
The rally and festival featured participants from the “Safe Haven, Safe Summer” program in which the city, CPS and the faith-based community partnered to provide learning and mentoring activities for about 1,000 students at 40 churches throughout Chicago.
“The first day of school sets the tone for the entire year. It’s important for the students, because they have to be in class every day in order to keep up. And it’s important to our taxpayers, because daily attendance affects state funding, especially in these difficult times when we need all the support from the state that we can get,” Daley said.
195 year-round “Track E” schools open their doors to students August 9. The first day at schools that operate on traditional calendar is Tuesday, September 7.
“Years ago we understood the necessity of turning around a public school
system that had failed students and taxpayers for decades,” the Mayor said.
“Our schools aren't yet where they need to be. But, I'm convinced that if all of us put our children first, then Chicago's schools can become the best in America. And our work starts again on the first day of classes to take our schools to the next level,” he said.
Daley said he has long believed that instruction time in schools needs to be longer and that the traditional summer vacation interrupts a student’s learning for too long.
And he said that summer can also be a dangerous time for young people – a time when they need positive activities to keep them busy, keep them learning and keep them safe.
“The success of “Safe Haven, Safe Summer” is a great example of how our faith-based community has once again accepted its responsibility to help protect our children, and I want to thank the 40 churches that opened their doors to our young people this summer,” Daley said.
At the Ogden Park event, students performed dance, song and poetry centered on the “Safe Haven” program theme of “Stop the Violence. Stop the Silence.” At the end of the rally, all the students took an anti-violence pledge.
“Working together with the city and faith-based leaders, we have set a great foundation for the opening of Track E schools on Monday, with the traditional calendar schools to follow in about four weeks,” said Chicago Board of Education President Mary Richardson-Lowry.
“Today marks a transition from the innovative and effective Summer Safe Haven program to the beginning of the 2010-11 school year for almost 100,000 of our students,” said CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman. “We will continue to roll out our Back to School campaign throughout August and early September to ensure that parents and students are excited about returning to school and ready to learn.”
If families are uncertain about whether their school follows a Track E or traditional calendar, they should contact their local school, check the www.cps.edu
website, call (773) 553-1000 or 311.