I welcomed Mayor Emanuel to Field Elementary School yesterday, as he announced a new public-private incentive program to encourage parental involvement in their children’s schools. We were joined by Field School Principal Brian Metcalf (left), Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Walgreen Co. CEO Greg Wasson (not pictured).
The pilot program provides parents with a Walgreen’s “Balance Rewards” card, worth $25 in Walgreen’s in-store purchases, if they pick up their students’ report cards and participate in parent-teacher conferences during Report Card Pick-Up days. The pilot will begin this fall in 70 schools across the city that historically have struggled to engage parents.
The Mayor selected Field School to announce the initiative because of its successful track record at encouraging parental involvement. Nearly 93% of Field parents pick up their child’s report cards on Report Card Pick-Up days.
Principal Metcalf has spearheaded a number of innovative programs to involve parents at the school, including Field’s popular Fathers’ Day Barbecue. He is one of the first principals in the district to receive “Principal Performance Pay” in recognition of the exceptional growth shown by Field’s students in the previous school year.
“The success of a student is supported by three pillars: a principal who is held accountable for that success, a teacher who is committed to that success, and, most importantly, a parent who is involved at home,” Mayor Emanuel said. He pointed to the Report Card Pick-Up Day incentive as a creative way to achieve the goal of parental involvement.
Before the press conference, I greeted several Field Local School Council members and parents who praised the progress Field School has realized under Principal Metcalf’s leadership. They predicted the new incentive offered by Walgreen’s would further increase Field’s already exemplary Report Card Pick-Up percentage.
In addition to receiving their child’s report card on Report Card Pick-Up Day, parents tour their school, visit classrooms and participate in parent-teacher conferences. They learn about their child’s academic performance and, if improvement is needed, what they can do to help their child succeed academically.
CPS has launched a series of initiatives to provide parents with more information about their child’s school, including placing online a “report card” for the school, so that they can track the school’s overall academic performance. The school’s report card is also made available to parents on Report Card Pick-Up Day.
CPS also launched an interactive school locator that allows parents to compare their child’s school performance to the performance of other schools in their area. The locator is available at www.cps.edu/map.
Walgreen’s has pledged to provide ongoing support for the Report Pick-Up Day incentive and CPS will collect, track and analyze the data on the initiative throughout the year to determine its effectiveness in encouraging parental participation.
I will provide you with an update at the end of the academic year.