Nearly 100,000 Kids Head Back to School Monday

Total of 193 CPS schools now in year-round program

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Complete with music and the Jesse White Tumblers, a party in Ogden Park on Friday was a back-to-school rally and a celebration of the Safe Haven Safe Summer program that kept 1,000 kids off the streets and out of harm's way this summer.

    Nearly 100,000 Chicago Public School kids are likely going to try really hard to make this weekend memorable. 

    In what may seem like a summertime slap in the face, students at 63 more schools will join the year-round "Track E" program and head back to class on Monday. 

    For many parents and administrators, however, it's one way to keep children safe.

    "Life is too hard now," said parent Eric Brooks.  "I can vouch for that myself because years ago I was shot 16 times.  And I'm still alive and I'm doing good."

    Brooks took part Friday in a summer celebration in Ogden Park.  Complete with music and the Jesse White Tumblers, the party was a back-to-school rally and a celebration of the Safe Haven Safe Summer program that kept 1,000 kids off the streets and out of harm's way this summer.

    For Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, who worked with Rev. Jesse Jackson and pastors from 40 other churches, it was "Mission Accomplished."

    "We wanted to make sure that the 1,000 children that we had in our hands, that we kept them safe for the duration of the City of Chicago and for the summer," he said.

    Students who go to school year-round don't get any additional instruction time or get short-changed from breaks, they just take those breaks more frequently throughout the year instead one long summer vacation.

    Friday's celebration included a major push to make sure students are in class when the bell rings.

    "I want to remind all the young people who are starting this Monday, they have to show up on Monday.  If you don't, you short-change the Chicago Public Schools, you don't get money from the state [and] you short-change yourself," said Mayor Richard Daley.

    A new Parent's Portal website will keep adults connected to their students progress. 

    "Give us your phone number.  Because if a student doesn't come to school, we will text you in the morning.  We will e-mail you.  We will call you," CPS chief Ron Huberman told the crowd.  

    Most CPS students won't head back to class until September.  Any parent who isn't sure if their child's school is one of the 193 in the year-round program should call the city at 311.