Parents of more than 340,000 Chicago Public School (CPS) students returned to the classrooms after an 18-month in-person hiatus. At Powell Elementary School in South Shore, preschoolers, eighth-graders and every age group in between, mingled with school employees and their relatives in anticipation of the new school year. District 299, ended in-person learning in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which happened weeks after a contentious teacher’s strike. CPS has an operating budget of $4 billion and is the third-largest school district in the nation.
(Clockwise: A.) Christopher Adams escorts his three-year-old twins, Seriyah and Serenity, to their first school day. (B.) Elementary school parents were greeted by long lines with other eager parents, educators and school leaders on the first day of school. (C.) Kindergarteners join new classmates for a before-class meal as their teacher, dressed as a bumblebee, offers instructions. (D.) At Hyde Park High School students lined up outside the massive structure in anticipation of the new year. (E.) Freshman student-athletes David join classmates in line to enter Hyde Park High School, as construction trucks cluttered Stony Island near the site of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park (Photo Story by Stephanie Gadlin)