CEO Brizard Surprises School with Highest First Week Attendance with Gift Card 

Woodlawn Community Elementary School reported almost 100 percent attendance for first week of school


September 29, 2011


Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Superintendent Jean Claude Brizard today surprised Frank Embil, Principal of Woodlawn Community Elementary School, with a $3,000 gift card to Target for having the highest attendance during the first week of school at 99.18 percent. The gift card can be used to purchase needed school supplies and materials to support staff as they engage students in instruction, preparing them to graduate college and career ready. CPS’s Back to School efforts this year resulted in the highest attendance records in recent years for both early start (Track E) and regular start (Track R) schools.


“This year, we launched an aggressive campaign to get kids back to school which included grassroots and new media tools to inform families and students all over the city about the importance of being in school on the first day and every day. The principal, teachers, and staff here at Woodlawn Community School understand that getting students to class on the first day is critical to their success in the classroom as it sets the tone for the school year and helps build good attendance habits,” said CEO Brizard. “I want to thank Target Corporation for partnering with us on our back to school efforts as well as all of our partners who helped with student attendance this year.”


Woodlawn Community Elementary School, located on the city’s south side, serves 232 students from grades Pre-K through 6th grade. Brizard will accompany the principal and a few teachers on their shopping trip to Target in the near future.


The multi-faceted Back to School campaign has included door-to-door visits by Brizard and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to emphasize the start dates of CPS schools. CEO Brizard also participated in a CPS phone bank to parents.  CPS placed a special emphasis on targeting the city’s areas with the highest truancy rates. These areas were Englewood, Humboldt Park, East Garfield, West Garfield, North Lawndale, Woodlawn, and Austin. 


As part of the Back to School campaign, CPS announced an “attendance challenge” opportunity for the schools in the seven targeted areas as an incentive to encourage first day and every day attendance among students and their parents.


The District previously reported an increase in first-day attendance at Track E schools, which began August 8th, to 88.1%, up from 86.8% in 2010 and the first day attendance numbers for Track R schools, which began on Tuesday, September 6th, was 94.7%, up from 92.9% last year. This represents the highest attendance for Track R schools since CPS began recording attendance figures using a new tracking system several years ago.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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