It's back to school Monday morning for thousands of early start Chicago Public Schools students.
CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard addressed students at William Rainey Harper High School in Englewood before ringing the ceremonial bell to begin the new year.
Last week Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Brizard went door-to-door in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, reminding parents to be ready for the first day of school. CPS also made calls and sent text messages to students' homes as a reminder.
Rainbow PUSH held a rally with the Urban League Monday at Walter H. Dyett High School and Elihu Yale Elementary School. During that rally, they asked parents to sign a pledge to take their child to school, meet their child's teacher and turn off the TV for three hours to study. Students also were asked to sign a pledge to promise to attend school daily and finish homework assignments.
"We are so excited about the start of the school year," said Leonetta Sanders, principal at William Rainey Harper. "Last week we had professional development, and the teachers are just excited about the kids coming back. We welcome them and are ready to start the school year."
Faith leaders from Pastors United for Chicago and parents will gather Monday afternoon, calling on the Chicago Board of Education to lengthen the school day and school year.
The year for all other CPS students begins Sept. 6.