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Chicago Public Schools Names School Crossing Guards of the Year

18 May 2023

District Honors Dedicated Crossing Guards who Protect Students During Morning and Afternoon Commutes

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) celebrated Crossing Guard Appreciation Day Thursday with an award ceremony that recognized all crossing guards, including a few who earned special recognition for their dedication and skills. Observed annually each May in Illinois, Crossing Guard Appreciation Day recognizes the contributions that crossing guards make to keeping students and others safe as they commute to and from school.

“Ensuring our students succeed starts before they ever enter our classroom doors and school crossing guards are an integral part of that strategy,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “I am so grateful for the work our school crossing guards do every day to keep students safe as they cross busy intersections throughout our city. Rain or shine, they are on the front lines making sure our students make it to and from school safe and secure.”

The 2023 Crossing Guard of the Year competition launched in early March as part of School Crossing Guard Appreciation month, which is celebrated annually from March 14 to April 14. Students, staff, school leaders and community residents were invited to nominate their favorite crossing guard(s) by submitting a nomination to the CPS Office of Safety and Security. This year the District selected four crossing guards, one from each region of the city, to be recognized for the Crossing Guard of the Year award. Winners were selected based on a review of nomination materials, professionalism, and their years of service.

This year's School Crossing Guards of the Year are as follows:

  • Brianna Wright, Far South, covers 42nd St. & St. Lawrence for Fuller Elementary School
  • Consuelo Reyes, Central West, stands at 27th St. & Kostner for Zapata Elementary Academy
  • Marquetta Jones, Southwest, helps at 55th St. & Rockwell for Carson Elementary School
  • Gwenette Scott, North, supports Kemper and Geneva Terrace for Lincoln Elementary School

Across the District, crossing guards like Brianna, Consuelo, Marquetta and Gwenette create a safe, secure and fun school environment for CPS students. Not only do crossing guards keep students safe during their commute, but they also develop deep relationships with their community. Crossing guards like Tammy Anderson have found creative ways to keep students safe and engaged during their commute, like dancing at their crosswalk as Tammy does at 53rd and State. During today’s ceremony, the District recognized the work of more than 700 CPS crossing guards for their contributions to student safety and security and honored attendees with a commemorative lapel for their service this year.

“Our crossing guards not only ensure pedestrians and drivers do what they need to do to stay safe, but they also form bonds within the community that increase the vibrancy and security of every neighborhood,” said CPS Chief Safety and Security Officer Jadine Chou. “I am proud to recognize this dedicated group of CPS employees and thank them for their service today and every day.”

Crossing guards help students develop habits that keep them safe as pedestrians or bicyclists, such as looking both ways before crossing roads, navigating intersections, and using crosswalks. According to the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), there are approximately 3,000 pedestrian-involved crashes in the city each year and 16 percent involve children. CPS’ crossing guards work to ensure the safety of families and children by regulating traffic at designated intersections, guiding, and assisting children and other pedestrians when crossing the street, and reporting unsafe conditions or incidents to CPS.

Other safety reminders for motorists in school safety zones include:

  • Check crosswalks when turning.
    • It’s not enough to only look for oncoming traffic – check for pedestrians.
  • Stop for people in crosswalks.
    • State Law: Drivers MUST STOP for people walking at crosswalks not just intersections with traffic lights or stop signs.
  • Be aware of crossing guards and obey their directions.
    • Crossing guards wear brightly-colored and highly reflective clothing while on duty so that they are visible in traffic and during inclement weather.
    • Crossing guards use hand-held stop signs while walking out in the street to alert drivers that children and pedestrians of all ages are crossing.
  • Drive according to conditions.
    • Overall visibility is limited in bad weather conditions. Not only is it more difficult for drivers to see oncoming pedestrians, but it is also more difficult for pedestrians. Allow enough time for pick-up and drop-off. When we’re running late, we’re running a risk. Rushing is dangerous.
  • Never maneuver around stopped traffic in a school zone.
    • Double parking around school zones decreases safety for everyone. Check with schools about pick-up and drop-off policies.
  • Make sure car lights are on and signals are properly used. Use extra caution in these circumstances.
  • Texting and talking on a cell phone while driving slows reaction time.
  • Stay focused when you’re driving. Avoid unnecessary distractions.