CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard Launches Back to School Campaign to Emphasize Importance of the First Day of School 

Mayor Emanuel Supports Efforts to Get Students Back to School on the First Day with a Call to Action for Other City Agencies, Business Community, Community Organizations and Volunteers


July 18, 2012


Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Jean-Claude Brizard today launched the 2012-2013 back to school campaign, First Day, A New Year, at the Chicago Park District’s Humboldt Park Fieldhouse. Throughout the coming weeks, CPS will lead an aggressive campaign to boost awareness of the importance of attendance on the first day of school and every day throughout the year.


The success of Chicago’s students and this back to school initiative relies on the support of the entire city, from parents, principals and teachers to City departments and sister agencies, local businesses, faith leaders and community organizations. To aid in these efforts, Mayor Emanuel called on all City departments and sister agencies to enhance CPS outreach to help make sure students are in school on day one.


“There is nowhere else our students should be than in the classroom on the first day of school and every day throughout the school year,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “And this year, I’m particularly excited for the school year to begin, because it also marks the launch of the new, full day—a day that will help lead our students toward academic success.”


Next school year, the full school day will launch district-wide, giving all students and teachers the time needed to boost academic achievement. The full school day will include the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which will create a more rigorous curriculum that will better prepare students for college and career, as well as a new instructional framework that will better support teachers to improve the quality of instruction delivered to students in the classroom. 


The back to school campaign’s grassroots approach aims to mobilize citywide and community-based partners to get the word out through a two week blitz prior to the two school start days - Early Start Schools (Track E) begin on Monday, August 13 and Regular Start Schools (Track R) begin on Tuesday, September 4.


Some of the back to school campaign activities CPS will lead include:

  • Door-to-door outreach
  • Robo calls to CPS households
  • Targeted literature drops at El stations, bus stations and neighborhood festivals
  • Phone bank calls targeting parents
  • CTA advertising campaign
  • Text messages and e-mail blasts to parents reminding them of back to school start dates


To aid in these outreach efforts, Mayor Emanuel called on City departments and sister agencies to help make sure students are in school on day one. Actions include:

  • Sending home letters with kids attending summer programs hosted by sister agencies reminding families of the back to school start dates
  • Hanging back to school posters at all public facilities, including offices, parks, libraries, etc.
  • Posting back to school date reminders and links to the CPS website on city websites and social media sites
  • Placing back to school date reminders in employee paycheck envelopes
  • Sending back to school e-mail blasts to staff members to remind them of back to school dates
  • Announcing back to school reminders via live and taped messages at all City-sponsored festivals and events


CPS has enjoyed a long relationship with the faith community in promoting back to school. They are being asked to continue their support by:

  • Enlisting Safe Haven Program faith partners to send children in their programs home with a letter to their parents reminding them of back to school start dates
  • Reminding congregations of back to school dates during sermons
  • Printing back to school information in church programs and bulletins
  • Posting the back to school dates and reminders on church marquees
  • Sending e-mail blasts to their congregations and communities with back to school date reminders


Corporate sponsors have also helped in the back to school efforts through generous donations. These sponsors include, Peoples Gas, Museum of Science & Industry, Comcast-NBC5 Chicago, Discover, Wood Family Foundation, Country Financial, U.S. Cellular, Bank of America, State Farm, BMO Harris, Target, and PNC Bank.


Other back to school partners include Groupon, Chicago United Hoops Classic, Kits for Kidz, Clear Channel, Fleishman Hillard, Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Fire, and Chicago Blackhawks.


CPS encourages parents to check with their school and visit www.cps.edu/firstday to be sure they know the correct start date for their child’s school. Parents can view a full list of Track E and Track R schools at the Back to School page or call the back to school hotline at (773) 553-3CPS (3277). They can also contact their school directly to confirm start dates.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 404,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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