Throughout the summer, CPS has made numerous upgrades to facilities, technology and programming. Air conditioning was installed in 57 schools, with another 29 slated to be complete by the end of October. This in addition to the many schools that received fresh paint, improved landscaping, and vital repairs to their infrastructure.
More CPS students than ever will now walk to school via Safe Passage routes, and thanks to the expansion of high-quality academic programs, hundreds more will now have access to rigorous STEM, IB and Early College programs that will prepare them for success in college, career and life.
On Saturday, August 9, nearly 1,000 CPS supporters participated in the 85th-annual Bud Billiken Parade – the official kick-off to Chicago’s Back-to-School season. Alongside two floats and half a dozen marching bands, the CPS contingent handed out thousands of t-shirts, fans and fliers, each adorned with the date for the first day of school – Tuesday, September 2. The group included members of the District’s Student Advisory Council, the CPS Proud Parents Group, and several valedictorians from the Class of 2014.
The first few days of school are an exciting but hectic time. For that reason, CPS’ Network and Central Office employees will be dispatched to schools during the first week to help teachers and principals get the school year off to a strong start.
For those not directly connected with CPS, there are plenty of opportunities to help, including the upcoming Back-to-School Supply Drive sponsored by NBC. Many CPS students will come to school on the first day without adequate supplies, which puts them behind their peers from the very start. The donation of school supplies can help close this gap, thus CPS supporters are urged to bring donations to the NBC Tower – 454 N. Columbus Drive – on Friday, August 22 from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Volunteers are also needed for the city’s Pitch in Chicago Day of Service to be held on Saturday, August 23. Part of One Good Deed Chicago, this event will empower neighborhood residents to get the areas around their schools ready for the first day of school. The Department of Streets and Sanitation will provide all cleaning materials. More information is available by calling 311.
Getting the Word Out
With the help of several celebrities, CPS is blanketing the airwaves with information about Back-to-School. For the next ten days, radio and television stations will run frequent Public Service Announcements urging students to be in class on the first day of school – Tuesday, September 2 – and every day that follows.
The District’s Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team has also played a major role in getting the word out. They have attended 60 festivals and community events throughout the summer, providing families with crucial school information and handing out free school supplies to students. They have also gone door-to-door in many neighborhoods, distributing yard signs, church fans and door hangers printed with the first day of school and conducting targeted outreach in those areas of the city with historically low attendance rates.
CPS also maintains a comprehensive Back-to-School website at www.cps.edu/b2s. This site includes everything families need to know as they prepare for the first day of school, including bell times, health forms, and transportation information. Parents are also urged to call the Back-to-School Hotline – (773) 553-3223 – with any questions.