African-themed CPS school has highest first week attendance

Tribune reporter

Students at Woodlawn Community Elementary School begin the day with African drums, a call-and-response ritual and by reciting one of seven virtues that keeps them focused on learning throughout the day.

It’s no wonder then that students at the Woodlawn school had the highest first week attendance in the city. On Thursday, schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard presented the school with a $3,000 gift certificate from Target.

Brizard pointed out that “the powerful” start to the morning appeared to be helping kids come to school. For Principal Kweku Embil the school, which has an Africa-centered program, brings in rituals from his native country of Ghana to get students energized.

“It starts us off as a community before we go into our individual classrooms,” he said.

The school, at 6657 S. Kimbark Ave., had a 99.18 percent attendance in the first week and has continued bringing 98 percent of students into classrooms daily since then, said CPS officials.

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