CPS officials: School's over, but do come back next year

Officials at Chicago Public Schools will hold a series of events tomorrow to help prevent students from missing school.

Among the activities are a symposium on mental health, basketball games, and a step-dancing set. Events are planned in Grand Boulevard, North Kenwood-Oakland, Kenwood, Hyde Park and Woodlawn.

Dubbed "Planting Seeds of Success in Our Communities," the rally is part of a broader effort to curtail truancy at the district.

In 2000, CPS officials launched a campaign to boost attendance and have since offered prizes and other incentives to schools and students with high attendance rates.

Last week, Claremont Academy Elementary School first-grader Jarrell Bonner won a trip for four to Orlando, Fla. Officials say his name was selected from among 784 students who achieved perfect attendance from Feb. 1 to May 26.

According to CPS documents, first-day attendance rose 17 percent from 2000 until 2007. Last year, first-day attendance of 93.7 percent was the highest since officials launched the back-to-school campaign, but it was shy of the 95 percent goal officials set for the district.

Today was the last day of school for most of the 660 schools in the district, which serves about 408,000 students.

Tomorrow's activities begin at 8 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. A CPS flier lists the complete schedule.