Extra time for lunch and recess? Bring it!
The Raise Your Hand group has been digging deeper into the “modified open campus” option for elementary schools that allows them to extend their school day for extra lunch and recess time. Of course it doesn’t give any extra learning time, but I think most parents would agree that having a nice relaxing lunch, recess time, and socialization is a good part of a kid’s day.
Some schools currently utilize this option already. Expanding extended lunch/recess is currently on a school-by-school basis and the principal and teachers needs to agree to it. I’ll follow up with RYH to see if they know how the process works. (What % of teachers need to approve it? Is extra staff required to watch kids during that time?) RYH is figuring out if this could be a CPS-wide initiative, which would certainly make things easier.
I think this’ll be interesting to discuss in light of the recent teacher’s union topics in the national news. I feel like in the past, schools may have been hesitant to propose this to their teachers, or assumed teachers wouldn’t support it. I have to wonder if the current union discussion make it more or less likely for teachers to support this? I believe there are a few school who currently have the extended day in place already and it certainly doesn’t seem to drive teachers away. On the other hand, I can think of some schools where I suspect the teachers would just scoff at the notion.
For now, if your school is interested in pursuing the extended day, RYH can help support your efforts. Here’s their info:
While mayors were being elected, governors in nearby states being rallied against and entire countries in political upheaval, a quiet but extremely important movement was happening in the CPS board room. Without fanfare or a war chest of money or backing of a single celebrity, a member of Raise Your Hand waited hours to spend just 180 seconds proposing a plan to effectively extend the school day for CPS students by 40 minutes. A method to add an additional 40 minutes to every school day is currently in the teachers union contract. Referred to as “open campus” but having nothing to do with kids actually leaving the school grounds, this method was eliminated in the 1970’s and replaced with a “closed campus” at many CPS schools.
The switch from closed to open campus took recess and a longer lunch break out of the middle of the day and placed them at the end of the day. While this moved shorten the school day, it also took away the time children need mid day to run around, burn off some steam and eat lunch in a proper time frame. Raise Your Hand asked the CPS school board to go back to the “old” version of school, one in which includes recess and a longer lunch period.
The board seemed surprised to hear of this option, an option that has been available all along. Members of the board raised some questions, concerns and expressed some skepticism. More will be fleshed out and discussed over the ensuing days. The idea has the ear of the Chicago Teachers Union and they have been in communication with us regarding this proposal.
The following has gone out to the Raise Your Hand email list and is posted on the Illinois Raise Your Hand website. Traffic and discussion has spiked incredibly since this went out. Of course there will be road blocks, scheduling issues etc. but the important thing to remember is that this is a viable option, one worthy of discussion and exploration.