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With The Spotlight Dimmed, Hard Work At Chicago Schools Begin

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CHICAGO (CBS) — As the second day of school in Chicago dawned, the television cameras were gone, the parents were back to work or at home–and the real work of blending new groups of students from two schools began.

That’s what CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker found at Harvard Elementary School, 7525 S Harvard Ave., which is welcoming students from the now-closed Yale Elementary.

Administrators brought the trophy case over from Yale–along with the 76 students who now call Harvard their home.

Principal Aisha McCarthy has the tough job of blending the two schools.

She started months ago by selecting a student from each school to act as ambassadors.

“That helped a lot when you’re entering a new school, getting to know them before you start school, that’s a big help,” said one former Yale student

The Harvard students are going out of their way to make the new kids feel welcome.

“I try to talk to every Yale student and get to know them,” said a Harvard student.

There were lots of opportunities for the students to get to know each other: school plays, summer camps and a big back to school party.

To help ease the transition, McCarthy plans to start a garden like the one at Yale.

McCarthy plans to break ground for Harvard’s new garden next week. However, she says all the students will continue to work the garden at Yale, located about five blocks north. So, for now, they will have two.

She’s already hired a security guard and two teachers from Yale.

So far, it’s been a smooth transition, but in case there are issues, McCarthy says the staff is ready.

“Our faculty was trained in how to work with students, how to implement peace circles and look for signs of bullying,” McCarthy said.

Teachers are stressing school spirit–they even have a t-shirt the combines both schools’ mascots, symbolizing the coming together if two schools into one.

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