Campaign: Longer School Day

Include Recess

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.

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Campaign: Longer School Day

Implement Recess & Increase Physical Education Classes

CPS students do not receive enough time for physical activities. The children do not get enough of a rest period or time to redirect their energy, refresh their minds, be creative or interact with their classmates on a non academic level. Implementing recess and increasing Physical Education classes to at least 3 times a week not only helps childhood obesity, which is of great concern, it gives children a chance to redirect their energy and participate in fun physical activities that they really look forward to. A longer school day is great, but it has to be structured so that CPS children are motivated to achieve more. Students are not going to be motivated by longer instructional time alone.

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Campaign: Longer School Day

Recess, developmentally appropriate day and PE

Last spring I was very encouraged by to hear that many schools were going back to the “open campus” model that in effect lengthened the day to 6.5 hours and allowed more time for lunch and recess. The open campus model also allows the youngest grades to have more recess than the upper grades, a design that is developmentally appropriate in a k-8 school. When I heard of the current proposal to extend the school day by 105 minutes I was shocked. This will create a day that is 7.5 hours long, 13% longer than the national average of 6.64 hrs. Adding 60 minutes to the current CPS day would be more appropriate and inline with national and area averages.

 

A 7.5 hour day is not only very long, the proposal as stated on the CPS website does not include adequate time for recess, especially for the primary grades. As it is stated on the CPS website, students will only receive 45 minutes for lunch and recess. While this might work for middle school aged kids (grades 6-8), youngest kids need much more time for play.

 

In July 2010, the CDC published a report outlining the research on the impact of recess PE on academic outcomes. This report states that the bulk of the research shows that PE and recess have a positive or neutral affect on academic outcomes EVEN if instruction time is taken away and replaced with PE and/or recess.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/health_and_academics/pdf/pa-pe_paper.pdf

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Campaign: FY12 Budget

Less security, more support!

I work in a high school of 1600 students which employs 23 security guards. With the budget proposal as it stands, maybe we will have 24 for 2012.

Our students would be suspended less, drop out less, and learn significantly more about handling conflict with grace by shifting the budget for security to a budget for Restorative Justice. Security guards and disciplinarians don't need to lose their jobs -- just retrain them to implement positive behavior interventions!

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Campaign: Longer School Day

Make Daily P.E. a Reality

I would like to use part of the extra time to give our students P.E. every day, as is required by state law. This would go a long way toward tackling the obesity problem, and also give the children more energy to get through the day.

 

Classroom teachers can teach their own P.E. to the little ones, but older children will need a certified P.E. teacher. Adding one extra P.E. teacher to each school would probably cover the extra classes.

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Campaign: FY12 Budget

Forensic audit

If CPS would put real numbers in the budget, be as transparent as they claim to want to be, get TIF money that is suppose to go to the schools, oh, yeah and receive from the lottery which was suppose to be for schools, stop throwing out good stuff, - O.K. I think that's enough for now - then I think their budget might be in order without having to raise taxes.

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Campaign: FY12 Budget

TIF Reform; Charter Schools- no!; TFA- no!; CTU & parents

1) I will gladly pay more property tax if it's going to Chicago kids. However, CPS has lost millions of dollars to the TIF program. Demand reform & sit in those TIF meetings and refuse the taking of money from our kids.

2) Charter schools do not have cuts in funding?!? That is not right. These schools (which are selectibe in their enrollment & are unregulated) are now taking from neighborhood schools. For shame!

3) TFA- no thanks! I value both new & experiences teachers. I have no patience for in & out college grads who don't have a vested interest in our community.

4) CTU and CPS Parents need to be involved in budget negotiations from day 1.

Thank you for your time.

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Campaign: Longer School Day

Identify the problems correctly before trying to solve

Our students need consistency and our teachers need the resources to use research based best practices for more than a year or two. No reform can be implemented and tested in 18-24 months ... Why not listen to what the teachers know is best for the students - smaller class size, worthwhile PD, and more Social Workers in the school to help those students who have no support at home and are dealing with a multitude of problems that they bring to the classroom everyday. Yes, we need more instructional time in the classroom. I don't know a teacher who doesn't believe this, but first let's make sure that we can make good use of the time we have by solving the problems that take away from instructional time.

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Campaign: FY12 Budget

CPS Put Our Money Where Your Mouth Is!

Great strides were made with the revision of the 2011-2012 SCC, specifically with the expansion on Restorative Justice (RJ) and the focus on the Response to Intervention (RTI) strategy. Also reflected in the new SCC is the expectation that “suspensions should be the last resort” for school administrators, teachers, and staff. Preventative and proactive programs that promise to ensure students’ achievement by changing schools’ climates appear to be CPS’s priority for the upcoming year. Priorities are in order for CPS (or at least it appears that way on paper).

 

It makes sense to demand administrators and teachers create nurturing environments and keep kids there by not suspending them. Suspending kids results in loss of class time, and a decrease in their grades. Suspension is so common that children rarely fear at home suspension, but rather enjoy a vacation from school to be out in the streets, play video games, and be on facebook. Suspensions, punishments, and expulsions do not teach children what they have done wrong, nor does it condition them not to do it again because statistics show that kids continue to get suspended at high rates. Last year 1 out 10 kids got suspended!

 

However, if preventative and proactive programs are a priority for CPS, why isn’t RTI a line item in the budget? Why is CPS cutting $87 million to supplemental programs which include Restorative Justice programs that truly build safe school cultures and avoid suspensions and expulsions, while CPS is spending an extra $7 million in security cameras? If administrators, teachers and staff are expected to produce a different result in the schools, why are they not being given the appropriate tools and resources to do so?

 

CPS has a duty to provide principals, teachers and staff other alternatives to punitive punishments they encourage against. More importantly CPS has a duty to our children to provide them a quality education. The High H.O.P.E.S. (Healing Over Punishment, Expulsion, and Suspensions) Campaign estimates that CPS can get a Restorative Justice program in every CPS school for $42 million, only 1% of the entire CPS budget. Let’s invest in our children and fund and implement RJ and other proven strategies.

 

If we expect different results we need to change the way things have been done in the past. What will set aside this CPS administration from those who came before it other than rhetoric and semantics? CPS’s suspension and drop-out rates are embarrassing. But nothing is seriously being done about it. We continue to invest in CPD and zero tolerance measures that have not worked.

 

Also, rethink the message that is being sent by prioritizing police officers in the schools and replacing old security cameras. The message sent is that we KNOW our kids will do bad things, but not to worry because WHEN they do CPS will catch them, suspend and most likely arrest them. If the budget remains as is, CPS will deny students of a quality education and might just give them the gift of a criminal record. How far in life can we expect our youth to get with this kind of support? Security is important, but CPS should not prioritize reactive strategies above proactive and preventative ones such as RJ and other proven strategies that will change the culture and climate of schools, not weed out the “bad kids”. Last year more kids dropped out than graduated. Our kids, our future, cannot afford for CPS to give up on them.

 

Janet Vargas

Enlace Chicago

Youth Organizer

Member of The High H.O.P.E.S. (Healing Over Punishment, Expulsions and Suspension) Campaign

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Campaign: FY12 Budget

Solving the budget deficit

Instead of laying off so many of our teachers, which are the brick and mortar of the school board, maybe we should focus on eliminating redundant positions at the central office. If someone sat down and performed an analysis for each department (specifically the two department I worked in) they would realized that there are several employees whose jobs are either unnecessary, redundant, or not a function of high productivity and fiscal prosperity.

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Campaign: Longer School Day

Multiple considerations

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.

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Campaign: Longer School Day

Foreign language proficiency

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.

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