WOODLAWN — Parents, teachers and volunteers reported a smooth morning on the first day of school at Dulles School of Excellence Monday.
Parents of new students from the shuttered Betsy Ross Elementary School milled around trying to get their bearings, but teachers stationed out front were quick to point them to the proper entrance.
Some teachers led students in a chant: “I will make myself, my family and my teachers proud,” the students said in unison, all before filing into the building at 6311 S. Calumet Ave.
But third-grader Janiya Kelly stood back from the crowd with her mother, Latoya, during the chant. Janiya was nervous; she attended Ross last year and she said she didn’t like the kids there.
But her mother was more confident — her other children had good experiences at Dulles.
“My daughter and son used to go here and it was good then,” Kelly said.
She said she was hopeful and would push her daughter to do well at the new school.
“She needs to go to school and get a job because some of the kids here are bad — and their parents are worse,” Kelly said.
About two-dozen parents waited out of the north entrance of the school to register their kids.
Five uniformed police offers were stationed around the school, while plain clothes officers as well as officials with the Chicago Department of Transportation and Chicago Transit Authority were also at the school. All reported things were running smoothly.
At the shuttered Ross building at 6059 S. Wabash Ave., Safe Passage volunteer Joann Davis said no parents showed up expecting it to be open. She said a couple people passing in cars asked if the school was still open, but she said none of them appeared to have school-age kids with them.
Along the Safe Passage route created for students to get to school this year — down Wabash Avenue and along 63rd Street — volunteers reported a smooth first morning.
Despite the relatively uneventful first morning, parents were still hesitant to declare the rest of the year will be problem-free.
“We’ll see. It’s hard to tell, these kids are unpredictable,” said Reggie Cannon, whose son was returning for the seventh grade at Dulles and whose daughter was starting fifth.