The CPS school day

September 13, 2009 at 8:56 am 10 comments

If you read the comments in the previous post, you’ll see people discussing the length of the school day in CPS.
The most common length of the CPS school day is just under 6 hours (5 hours, 4 minutes.)  When you have a Kindergartener starting school this may seem punishingly long.
As it turns out, Chicago has a school day that is about an hour shorter than most schools around the country.  I just found this out a few months ago when I was on a message board and moms from all over were posting the hours of their school day.  That’s when I found out that most kids go to school 7 hours a day (which seems SO long to me!)  I also heard recently that Chicago schools run fewer days than many other school districts.
There ARE a few schools scattered around that run almost an hour longer than the rest.  Bell does.  Edison does.
To get this to happen, the teachers have to vote to approve it which must be an uphill battle.  I come on.  Who in their right mind would vote for a longer (and unpaid) school day?!  I wouldn’t.  I suppose you need a really good principal or some strong teachers touting the benefits of such a plan.   The teachers don’t actually use the extra time for teachers, but the kids can have a longer or extra recess (or other non-teaching time.)  So the teachers can use their time for prep/grading, etc that they would supposedly do at home.  The main benefit for the teachers are better-behaved kids (theoretically) because they have more time to unwind during the day.
I know my son feels that there is very limited time to actually talk to his friends during the school day.  Lunch is short, recess flies by in an instant (I suspect it is maybe 10 minutes long,) and they have to be quiet in the hallways.  I can see where allowing some socialization time would reduce the amount of time the kids spend trying to chat.
I think most parents would support the longer day (heck, it gives you more time at Trader Joe’s!) but I have to think it’s near impossible to get it going.  Obviously it happened at some point at a few schools and new hires have to go along with it (which clearly they are.)
I’d like to see a school make a push for it to see what happens.  If you know of any schools where this has come up lately, let me know.

Entry filed under: CPS Policy / Resources, Uncategorized.

First grade off to a good start New web site for Office of Academic Enhancement

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. J  |  September 13, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Good luck. As you tried to say, I mean come on, who in their right mind would vote for a longer day? Unpaid? This is an issue that goes all the way to the contract and funding level. You are going to need more money, plan and simply. Good luck.

  • 2. hopeful  |  September 13, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    I am a teacher and I would vote for a longer day and a longer school year for that matter. I *might* be willing to do a slightly longer day for the same amount of money, especially to include an actual recess, which is desperately needed. That said, when schools have a longer day to have recess, teachers end up supervising the lunchroom or recess, which is added work. If schools could come up with parents, either volunteers or paid, to work the lunchroom or recess and gave teachers that time to plan, I’d do it without asking for more pay. I am going to have to do that same work anyways.

  • 3. CPS Mom  |  September 13, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Beginning in January I have my son go two hours a week to a tutor for ISAT test prep and his school offers a one hour a week test prep for three days a week. I have noticed during those two short months he seems to complete his homework with little assistance from me. I think that 5 hours a week of time spent in school would be better. CPS should add one hour to the school day but pay the teachers their hourly rate. Class sizes are too large but at least a longer school day could make up for it. Even if twenty minutes of that hour were spent on recess that would still be 40 additional minutes of instruction.

  • 4. brenda  |  September 14, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I have a kid at Edison and I love the schedule. I don’t necessarily care about the length of the day (seems just about right, they get lots of “specials” and recess) but 8 am is much easier to work around if you work full-time.

  • 5. Y  |  September 14, 2009 at 10:23 am

    From my discussions with teachers in programs with longer days, they find that their students respond better with an actual recess in the morning, instead of just a post-lunch recess. It seems like schools use a mix of aides, specials, parents, and willing teachers to supervise recess in order to make it work. I would be supportive of a longer day in order to accommodate recess at my DD’s school.

  • 6. chicago parent  |  September 15, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Dear obssessed,
    I think that you should do a separate piece on the fact that most schools limit their students 15 minutes of recess per day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Recess is extremely important to get kids to clear their heads by allowing them to run around and also is THE place that they make friends. There are numerous studies that show that kids with recess learn better and are happier.

    I think that 15 minutes of recess is CRIMINAL. I myself did not realize the importance of recess to my guy until we switched schools & became much, much happier.

    I think that parents may not be pushing for more recess because they think that recess is covered by some master contract with the teachers’ union & that by trying to make a change they must tilt against the super large windmill. I was shocked to find out that recess is controlled at the school level. Let parents know this, plus a factoid or 2 about the importance of recess & they can push for change. Write to the tribune — which seems concerned about obesity? Get theword out.

  • 7. LR  |  September 16, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    There was a bill introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives earlier this year (you can go to and type in HB33) that would require schools to provide a 10 minute recess for all students in grades K-8. It is held in the Rules Committee (which is I think what happens when the bill doesn’t pass before the final session in the spring), but it will probably be back next year. I’m sure CPS would oppose this bill given the amount of money it would cost; however, it seems like there is pretty good support for this type of legislation in the House.

  • 8. Nicolle  |  October 14, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Beaubien does NOT have a recess at all, so those of you who have 10-15 minutes of recess, count your lucky stars!

  • 9. Deborah  |  October 24, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    My daughters school does not have recess. I am actually reading this blog because I stumbled upon it while conducting research for a college course. I am actually doing my research on Elementary Eduction: Ramifications of Recess Elimination. My daughter is in 7th grade and her school recently got a new principal. We’ve had about two parents who have been pushing the idea of recess for the past couple years and no one has embraced it. Following this research, I’ll be one of those parents pushing for recess with it’s many benefits.

  • 10. Fasila  |  February 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    i wish i could home sohcol. my kids are in public sohcol and i hate the way they are treated not only by their peers but from their teachers to.[]

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