CHICAGO (WLS) --Monday is the final night of summer break for thousands of Chicago Public School students heading back to class on Tuesday morning.
This is the second year for a single-track schedule where all students begin on the same day.
For the first time in three years there's relatively little drama surrounding this first day. No teacher's strike. No mass school closings. For 400,000 students, it's all about getting back to the books.
Monday night in Englewood kids were enjoying their final hours of summer break and going down their back-to-school checklists.
"I guess it's exciting because it's high school, and I get to meet new people," said student Kyia Shockley.
For Kyia and her siblings this will be their third school in three years.
They used to attend Yale Elementary but when it was closed by CPS, they spent last year at another neighborhood school, Harvard.
This year, their mom has opted for CPS charter schools.
"It's going to be a little bit different," Tanika Jackson said. "I just hope communication is still open, I'm able to go up to the school and talk to the teachers, and they're able to talk to me at all times."
This time last year, there was concern about student safety to and from class with several schools having been closed, but widespread problems never materialized.
This year, the CPS Safe Passage Program is getting an influx of money, $10 million from the state, enabling CPS to hire more monitors around more schools.
Monday night, there was a message to students from the head of CPS.
"Your teachers, your principals, and I have missed you. And we know that you are going to do great things this year," Barbara Byrd-Bennett said.
For many the ritual of back to school means a trip to Cain's Barber College where hundreds of kids getting a free haircut at the college's annual end of summer event.
The Blackstar Project went door-to-door Monday urging parents, especially fathers, to take their kids to school, the message carrying over to the airwaves.
"If you take your children to school, it's not a grandstand. I'm encouraging people to do it. I'm asking people to do it," said Phillip Jackson, Black Star Project.
For the third year in a row, CTA is offering free rides Tuesday for elementary and high school students who use their student Ventra cards. Adults accompanying those kids Tuesday will also ride free.