For the extra ninety minutes students should learn another language fluently. Being bilingual is an asset in the global village. Immersion is a good method.
Longer School Day
I think a longer school day is a no brainer. I think teachers know it, and parents see it. Teachers know that drilling core subjects to a tired, cranky class will get you nowhere fast. This is why enrichment from the Arts and P.E. is not a nice little extra; it is a requirement.
Arts programming in the form of Music stimulates, refreshes, soothes souls AND boosts Math scores. In the form of Drama, it improves reading, comprehension, promotes problem solving, is goal oriented, inclusive, multi-dimensional, interdisciplinary, and multi- cultural. In the form of Visual Art it allows children to communicate and express themselves effectively.
P.E. programs instill a lifetime love of physical activities. Introducing children to team sports and individual fitness techniques improves health over a lifetime.
Children who are lagging behind academically and become disillusioned with school can be lured back in and nurtured on the strength of their love for a particular art or sport. CPS should make student retention and graduation their number 1 goal- there is just no better way to do this. Make school fun for kids!
We need to work with teachers to make this a reality for our kids. We need to ask teachers what they would need and how they would like to spend that time is.
This longer school day cannot come down on the backs of our already undervalued, overworked teachers. The longer day needs to work FOR teachers.
If Teachers had free periods to do prep-work and grading that would cut down on their work hours outside the classroom.
I applaud CPS for opening this forum as a way to solicit feedback and hear everyone's voice.
It is agreed by the teaching community that kids can use a long school day. The current approach is at the expense of the teachers. This is a capital country - if you want someone to work more, you should pay them adaquately for the additional time used. Pay the teachers the percentage they deserve and create a structured schedule and approach for adminstration and staff to follow.
A group of public schools in the cleveland area discovered a way to lengthen the school day, increase student learning, engage communities and not break a union contract: they partnered with quality community orgs with experience in mentorship and tutoring to give students extra learning and skill building time while teachers were able to use the time for professional development. The tutoring gave kids the chance to build on what they learned in class and also create mentoring relationships that would support them in the school year. The community nonprofits were an engagement link to local neighborhoods -- and, again, the integrity of the union contract was preserved. A win/win/win.
In order to make a longer school day work, CPS needs to have staff to surpervise students both at lunch and recess. Additionally, CPS needs to ensure that students have a safe place for recess.
I agree that CPS schools should have a longer day - anywhere from 75 to 90 minutes more makes sense and keeps us in line with most suburban public schools. I also think school should start one week earlier. Most summer camps and programs end three weeks before CPS schools start. I do not think school should end any later than it currently does. As it is, with it ending in the middle of June, most camp programs and summer jobs start the first day of the next week. If CPS goes longer, kids that want to compete with suburban kids for summer jobs or want to attend summer camps that are not strictly for Chicago students will be out of luck. That makes no sense. CPS could also have less days off during the year. Look at November and February, teacher institute days, etc.
Allow each school to determine how to best use the extra time to meet the needs of their student body. There are vast differences between students from one school and another and "on size fits all" makes no sense here or anywhere else in CPS. Some schools need more time for the basics because their students are struggling and could benefit from alternative methods of learning a certain subject or more hands-on experiences to drive the point home. Other schools are doing well in those areas and the kids could benefit from extra PE, music or technology.
No matter what, all closed campus schools need to use that extra time for a longer lunch so students are not gobbling down their food. The current amount of time is crazy. Trust the teachers to make the right decisions about how to use the time.
If the concern about starting school one week early has to do with lack of air conditioning, money should be spent to put in at least some air conditioning at each school (maybe not central, but enough to have some cooling go throughout the buildings). Money for things like this and other improvements to the school and classroom supplies would benefit students and teachers. Since most teachers say they use their own money to buy supplies, offer them supplies for their classrooms rather than more take home pay.
As a School Social Worker I feel that I have not been included in the discussion of a longer school day/year. The longer school day affects ALL clinicians working with the students. I would love to see us included in the discussions as well as the voting. Also, as much as it is important to raise test scores, it is equally important to teach students appropriate coping skills to help them deal with a number of factors that affect student's mental health.
Take the time to involve ALL stakeholders in the development of this program. With strategic planning and inclusion of parents, teachers, STUDENTS, community members, business leaders, community support groups, and educational leaders, the program has the potential to be a great success. What evaluations and benchmarks will be used for formative assessment of program outcomes?
Other reforms, many of which the teacher unions would probably oppose as well, have research behind them. For example: universal pre-school, universal kindergarten, replacing summer vacation with shorter, interspersed breaks, smaller class sizes in the younger grades, etc.
According to research, early morning start times are good for adults; not children. The start time for elementary school should remain 8:30 AM for teachers and 9:00 AM for our at-risk children.
Give the staff and children a noon break; then add the 90 minutes to the end of the day.The children need a 30 minute lunch and a 30 minute recess (daily). The teachers need their 45 minute lunch and their 20 minute break.
The additional time will only make a difference if there is a strong curriculum in place to support student needs in deficit areas. More of the same is not the answer and is not a guarantee to raise student achievement. Careful and strategic program planning along with a curriculum designed to meet individualized needs should be the emphasis of this program. Use current pilot program schools to make program adjustments for full implementation next year.
I disagree with the extended school day. CPS should pay for the ALO (Additional Learning Opportunity) pilot program district wide and give teachers the option to stay longer and earn extra pay.
Furthermore, what about the IEPs of special ed students? Who is going to change the minutes for all of those children on each, individual IEP?