By Dorothy Tucker

CHICAGO (CBS) — Last year thousands students were going to new so called “welcoming” schools after CPS closed 49 schools. CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker returns to school with a Lawndale family whose concern has been replaced by excitement.

There’s a lot more excitement in Megan Freeman’s home this year as she and her husband prepare their children for the first day of school.

Last year she summed up her feelings in one word: dreadful. What she dreaded was sending her children a new “welcoming” school, Weldon Johnson.

“There are gang members on one side. They clash and then my kids are caught in the middle. That was my main concern,” she said.

This year, she says it was great.

“CPS did their job. They had safe passage walkers,” Freeman said. “Chicago Police Department was out there as well.”

Safe passage workers and Chicago Police are back again. Also returning, the nearly 100 students forced to transfer to Johnson when nearby Polk closed.

School leaders credit an easy transition to preparation and lots of activities where new and current students got to know each other.

“We continue to build on good things started this year. We’ve actually got more parents that didn’t opt in last year that are now opting in,” said principal Alice Henry.

In fact, principal Henry says Johnson is also attracting parents from outside the community looking to enroll their students because of Johnson’s excellent arts program.

Dorothy Tucker