CPS ready for early return to class

August 25, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Monday's start date marks the first time Chicago Public Schools are starting before Labor Day.

Picking up free Chicago Public School backpacks, it's time to say good bye to summer for these CPS students.

"I went to Six Flags, I went to the pool, and I was mostly outside," said 5th grader Anijyah Rodgers.

"I went to a lot of family picnics, I read a little bit," said 6th grader Marion Robinson.

Several kids spent their last few hours of summer at a back to school house and hip hop community event on the Far South Side.

"It was important to send these kids to school, letting them know there is some people that's positive behind you," said Farley Jackmaster Funk, event organizer.

Praying for the thousands of kids affected by the historic schools closings is what many did Sunday at various back to school events.

Mario Robinson and his sister Anijyah Rodgers go to Mollison Elementary School, which is a welcoming school. The siblings say they are excited to meet new students and make new friends.

"I'm going to tell them positive things about the school and I'm going to try to make them feel comfortable, and show them around, tell them the teachers names," Robinson said.

Robinson will be welcoming students like Malachi Wilson. The 5th grader is coming to Mollison from the now closed Overton Elementary School.

"It's going to be fun," he said.

A nervous Wilson tried to put the best spin on the situation as he and others students took advantage of a free haircuts Sunday.

His grandmother is worried about the six or seven extra blocks Wilson will have to walk, even with the yellow vested safe passage workers who have been hired to get students to and from school safely.

"That is quite a walk with for a little person like him to be going to school. It's a lot of gang things around this neighborhood, so we definitely got to be safe with kids going to school," said Tina Reese.

CPS has hired 600 safe passage workers. Police, fire and other city workers will also be on hand to help out safe passage.

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