I think that everyone knows that a longer school day is in CPS future, but we need to plan an enriched program. Consider including a second language, voice, instruments, or drama instead of more teaching to the test. Students need to be engaged not just have the day lengthened and their homework load prolonged. My child does homework from 4:00 until 9:00 and a longer day would rob my child of a life outside of school.
Students need more art, music and PE at the elementary level. Currently,in many schools, students get art once per week, music once per week, and PE perhaps twice a week. This is inadequate. Extend lunch periods for students for recess. Hire parents to work the recess time (to allow teachers to have an adequate, professional lunch of 45 minutes)
First, thank you for creating a democratic forum for this discussion.
I am a parent and a professional educator. I am excited and embrace the longer school day. It is good for both of my children, who are CPS students and as an educator, it is the right thing to do.
My greatest concern is that recess and any kind of physical movement during the school day is greatly limited. I cannot support a longer school day if the absence of recess, PE and related opportunities for students to run and play continues to be limited.
The work of nueroscientists like John Medina (his book is Brain Rules) cite significant science that limited or no movement actually stifles learning.
Recess, PE, art, music, drama are not "extras", they are essentials because they prepare our brains for learning in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Build the Longer School Day WISELY.
1. Physical education must be offered daily. Every homeroom should have PE once a day. It would replace the need for recess. Health Education should be mandated as part of the PE teachers' responsibilities.
2. Art/Music/Foreign language should be required for every child K-8 at every school. Art can be for 1 semester, Music can be another semester and foreign language should be all year long.
3. An assistant principal/dean of students should be given to every elementary school.
4. Extended care provisions for before and after
5. Teachers/staff should have a minimum of 70 minutes collaboration time/preparation time per day without students
6. Teachers/staff get 30 minutes uninterrupted to eat lunch.
7. All meetings are held through webinars to save time, gas, parking, etc.
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.
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.
Many thanks to Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Brizard for making education in Chicago a priority.
I would like to see the following:
-more specialized education
- core classes (math, Lang arts/reading, science, social studies) lengthened with emphasis on forward movement instead of homework review
-recess and any necessary breaks reasonably needed.
I would like to add that needs vary school to school and implementation should be individual. With all due respect to teachers, our local and global economy will only allow a finite monetary reward. Please help us create a stimulating and progressive education for our kids.
The "Longer School Day" could be administered in the following way;
Start time 7:00 - 8:30
Programs offered: 45 minutes Performing Arts + 45 min Skills Gap Tutorial
Performing Arts Courses Offered - Musical Theatre, Jazz Dance, Visual Arts, Orchestra or Band
Skill Gap Course - Taught by College Students who major in Education (Reading or Math) as an internship
Weak Readers - Phonics drills and decoding small narratives. How to respond to a writing prompts would also be done in exercises.
Strong Readers - Discussion groups to pull out and discuss key elements of the story. Organizing a response to writing prompts. How to write a response that would receive a top score on a standardized exam by reviewing sample essays and doing practice work.
Students behind in Math - Tutor would be teaching Basic Math (Addition, Subtract, Multiplication, Division, Fractions and introduce percents. How to decode a simple word problem that has multiple steps, review of basic math vocabulary, rules and properties. How to check your work should be covered.
Average Students - Review basic skills to address any skill gaps, focus then on decoding word problems. Algebra basics. Work out problems by hand and only using a calculator to check work. Review of math vocabulary, rules and properties.
Above Average Students - Assess their skills, address any concerns and do higher level math problem solving, discreet and linear math and probabilities. (School counselors could match them up with Saturday programs that will also challenge them as well.)
These tutorial would also have a break time!
Hopes this suggestion is useful.