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DCFS goes door to door to increase school attendance
The 2004 - 2005 Chicago Public Schools session begins Tuesday, September 7th

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Chicago, IL (August 30, 2004) - The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is set to knock on doors in the Englewood and Austin communities on Tuesday, August 31st to get parents and students fired up for the first day of school.

DCFS, Chicago Public School officials, community and faith leaders, as well as volunteers have joined together in an effort to remind families that school starts the first week in September.

"We want to take every opportunity we can to encourage students to do their very best," said DCFS Director Bryan Samuels. "I think we have a greater impact on students when we catch them just before the first day of school rather than trying to make up missed days in the end."

Community officials and other volunteers will be going door-to-door in 40 Chicago communities between August 16th and September 3rd. Sixteen of the 40 communities were chosen because of their struggling daily attendance rates, with a combined average daily attendance of 91 percent or lower.

"While 90 percent may seem like a high number, what it actually means is that 10 percent of a school's student body is missing every day," said CPS CEO Arne Duncan. "That translates into hundreds of kids across the district who are not in school on a regular basis."

School officials and volunteers will also be set up at the city's 3-1-1 center from August 30th through September 1st to call parents at home as part of a CPS 'It's Time for School' phone bank.

"Starting the school year off on a good start really does have an impact on a student's achievements," continued Director Samuels. "If students feel the excitement that we have for a new year, maybe they will adopt that attitude and enter this year with a totally new outlook on what's ahead of them."

- 30 -

Jill Manuel
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services


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