CPS CEO Surprises Principals with Highest First Week Attendance with $1,500 Target Gift Cards 

Marconi Elementary and Clark Elementary Win “Attendance Challenge” With Almost 100 percent Attendance for First Week of School


November 14, 2012


At today’s Board of Education meeting, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett surprised Principal Carolyn Epps of Marconi Elementary and Principal Natasha Buckner of Clark Elementary each with a $1,500 gift card to Target for winning the District’s “attendance challenge.” During the first week of school, Marconi reported the highest attendance rate for a Track R school at 99.44 percent and Clark reported the highest attendance for a Track E school with 99.28 percent.


“It is my pleasure to present these awards to Principal Epps, Principal Buckner and the students of Marconi and Clark Elementary Schools,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “These awards are in recognition of the great work done with their parents and communities to make sure nearly every child was in class for the first week of school and we congratulate them on their efforts.”


Principal Epps and Principal Buckner were invited to the November Board of Education meeting as special guests to the CEO. Prior to the meeting, they did not know that their schools had won the “attendance challenge.” The gift cards can be used to purchase needed school supplies and materials to support staff as they engage students in instruction and prepare them to graduate college and career ready.


During the District’s back to school campaign, CPS placed a special emphasis on targeting areas with the highest truancy rates by announcing an “attendance challenge.” This challenge presented an incentive for the schools in the seven targeted areas (Englewood, Humboldt Park, East Garfield, West Garfield, North Lawndale, Woodlawn and Austin) to encourage first day and every day attendance among students and their parents.  


Guglielmo Marconi Elementary Community Academy, located in Garfield Park, serves students from grades Pre-K through grade 8 and George Rogers Clark Elementary, located in Austin, serves students from kindergarten through grade 8.

Target is a longtime supporter of Chicago public school education, contributing more than $5 million in 2011 alone. In addition to donating the "attendance challenge" gift cards, Target's support of CPS has included funding the Target School Library Makeovers program and Target Field Trip Grants.


This year, Target has awarded $15,000 reading grants to three Chicago schools that previously received library makeovers including Phillip D. Armour Elementary School (2008), Joseph Brennemann Elementary School (2010) and George Manierre Elementary School (2011).

About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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Page Last Modified on Wednesday, November 14, 2012