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Bending to Parents, Mayor Rahm Emanuel Sets Chicago Grade School Day Length to 7 Hours

Students at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood will start a 7 1/2 hour day next fall.

(Chicago) – April 10, 2012. After getting an ear-full from parents, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard today announced that Chicago elementary schools will shrink their original expanded school day to a 7-hour day next year and high schools will adopt a 7 1/2-hour day.

Emanuel wants to move Chicago from the shortest school day and year of any major city to a calendar aligned with national averages.

“By adopting a longer day and a longer year, we are working to shape the future of our children for the better and give them an education that matches up with their potential,” said Emanuel

Beginning next fall, all elementary students will move to a 7 hour school day, and high school students will have a 7 1/2-hour school day, with a 75 minute early release one day a week.

Earlier this year, CPS presented the SY 2012-2013 calendar, which includes 10 additional days of instruction, moving CPS from the shortest school year in the country to a 180 day year that is on par with the national average. With the Full School Day, a student entering kindergarten next year will receive nearly 2.5 additional years of instructional time by the time they graduate high school.

Emanuel and Brizard made the announcement at Disney II Magnet Elementary School, one of the schools that implemented the Full School Day last fall. Since launching the Full Day last September, students at Disney II have received an additional 185 hours of instructional time, with that time primarily focused on reading, math and science.

Elementary Full School Day:

  • Students will receive 52 additional minutes of instructional time each day.
  • Students will receive 6 hours of instruction and 45 minutes for recess and lunch.
  • Students will be in school for 7 hours each day, an increase of 75 minutes.
  • Teachers will be in school for 7 hours and 40 minutes, an increase of 85 minutes.

High School Full School Day:

  • Students will receive 46 additional instructional minutes four days a week.
  • Students will receive 6 hours and 8 minutes of instructional time four days a week.
  • Students will be in school for 7 1/2 hours a day, an increase of 36 minutes four days a week.
  • One day per week the day will end 75 minutes early.
  • Teachers will be in school for 7 hours and 40 minutes, an increase of 39 minutes.

The Full School Day will provide significant benefits to all students across the district, including:

  • Elementary students will receive an additional 207 hours of instruction each year, and high school students will receive an additional 116 hours of instruction. Principals will no longer have to choose between reading, math or science because of limited time in the day.
  • Additional time will create opportunity to add more intervention to ensure students who are falling behind in math and reading can get up to speed with their peers.
  • Elementary students will have time for lunch and recess every day to relax, re-boot and return to the classroom ready to learn.

The Full School Day was structured with an eye toward providing teachers with adequate professional development and prep time to support their practice.  Benefits of the Full Day include:

  • Elementary teachers will have almost two additional hours of prep time each week.
  • Elementary teachers will have self-directed prep time in the mornings, as well as additional prep time throughout the day to meet with parents informally, prepare for their lessons and supervise students who arrive at school early.
  • Both elementary and high school teachers will receive an average of 75 minutes for professional development each week.

Emanuel is on the right track with both the parents and the school day length.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.


One Response to “Bending to Parents, Mayor Rahm Emanuel Sets Chicago Grade School Day Length to 7 Hours”

  1. Seeing how I was not “invited”, I along with other parents were sequestered in an art room, so as to avoid any uncomfort for Emanuel. Once again, funding has not been addressed for such a lengthening. Did you ask ? It seems the straw that broke the camels back was Sun-Times Roz Rossi who actually did some reporting on the issue. You know, fact checking, due diligence, getting comments from the source of the study CPS has been manipulating. I saddened and disheartened by the unprofessionalism of the journalists representing the major news outlets in Chicago. Also, in the 7.5 schedule, only 37 minutes would have been instructional. So they have eliminated a half hour from their proposal and have added 15 minutes of instruction ? Probably more lies parents will debunk.

    Posted by James Paris | April 10, 2012, 2:07 PM

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