Smooth Start to School Year With Proactive Community Outreach Effort
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools today announced that a record 94.8 percent of Chicago students attended school on the first day of class. Two schools – Edison Park Elementary and Edgar Allen Poe Classical School – had perfect attendance.
“I want to congratulate the students, parents, teachers and principals who helped kick off a strong, promising start to the school year,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This will help us keep up the momentum of rising test scores and graduation rates and is a wonderful example for our youngest learners who are just beginning school in our newly expanded pre-k program.”
“Students who are in class on the first day of school will learn more and perform better,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “We’re grateful to the parents, community partners and students who made an effort to get to school ready to learn on the first day.”
“After traveling all over the city on the first day of school, I could see the enthusiasm in our students and their parents for starting this school year right, and I’m encouraged that the first day got off to such a strong start,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Janice K. Jackson. “At CPS, we’re all focused on accelerating our progress, building on the gains we’ve made in the past four years.”
Last year, 93.7 percent of students attended on the first day of school.
This year, CPS embarked on one of its most proactive efforts ever to inform families that school was starting on Sept. 8. The District worked in coordination with Chicago’s professional athletes and teams to raise awareness of the new school year with videos on social media, public service announcements, robo calls, yard signs and tweets. (A list of participating athletes can be found below.) Digital media outreach in both English and Spanish resulted in more than 1 million impressions, and Chicago’s first day of school efforts were so strong that they were trending nationally on Twitter on the first day of school.
CPS normally focuses back-to-school efforts on students who will be attending a new school. This year, the district expanded that universe to include students who missed the first day of school last year and who had more than nine unexcused absences.
Back To School Outreach highlights:
5,000 yard signs this year vs. 3,000 last year.
CPS staff attended 95 community festivals this year vs. 80 last year.
CPS staff and volunteers made 100,000 phone bank calls this year vs. 40,000 last year.
CPS staff, community organizations and volunteers made 15,000 home visits this year vs. 8,000 last year.
CPS distributed 50,000 door hangers this year vs. 25,000 last year.
CPS distributed 40,000 school supply bags distributed vs. 30,000 last year.
Additional highlights of a smooth start to the school year:
Principal vacancies. There were fewer principal vacancies this year than any other time in the past five years, and every school had an acting/interim principal on the first day.
Teacher vacancies. There were fewer vacant teaching positions than any other year within the past five years, with the exception of the year that 50 schools were consolidated.
Non-teacher vacancies. There were fewer non-teacher vacancies than any point in the past five years.
Safe Passage. There were no major incidents along any Safe Passage route.
IT. All student records systems functioned as they were designed, and CPS received no major calls with IT problems.
Athletes from Back To School Campaign:
Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
Trayce Thompson, Chicago White Sox
Carlos Sanchez, Chicago White Sox
Jamal Mayers, Chicago Blackhawks
Cappie Pondexter, Chicago Sky
Elena Delle Donne, Chicago Sky
Harry Shipp, Chicago Fire
Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago Fire
Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls