CHICAGO -- It's official: summer vacation is over for CPS students, and hundreds of thousands of kids will head back to class tomorrow.
As they do, there's some good news to report: nearly 78 percent of CPS students who started 9th grade in 2012 graduated within 5 years. The biggest gains? African-American young men.
More good news: that all-important first day of school haircut was being provided - free of charge - at six barbershops and salons as part of a 15th annual event organized by Grand Boulevard Prevention Services and The Sisterhood. By the end of the day Monday, between 500 and 600 kids will get not only new hairdos, but also backpacks filled with school supplies.
"It means the world to me, it is such a tremendous blessing, especially for a mom like me, I`m a single mom of six who`s struggling, literally struggling just to provide," said mom Janelle Teague as her daughter Aniya got ready for her first day of 6th grade at D`Jons of Chicago Barber Salon.
Teague says she heard about the event on the radio and came all the way from the West Side to 35th and State to make sure her kids had fresh cuts and styles for the start of school.
"It helps your self esteem, and it also keeps your mind off the other things because you know you look good so now you can just go in and focus on getting your education," Teague said.
There's good news on the school calendar as well. CPS officials promise this school year will be uninterrupted, free from the past two years of financial concerns over pension and budget shortfalls.