School Hours Across CPS – New Lane Tech AC Hours: Early!!

May 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm 33 comments

So I’ve heard from a parent who’s child will be starting in the new Lane Tech Academic Center about the program hours:

Yesterday I received a call from the Lane Tech AC administrator to tell me that the hours of the AC had been set. School will start at 7:15 and end at 2:15. At first I thought I had misheard her, and said :7:50? She said no 7:15. She then explained that the early hours were the only way that the school could offer transportation to the AC. She also said the  early hours are allowing the school to extend the day and include one more class in the curriculum. That’s all well and good, but these hours mean that the kids need to be at school by 7 am! And if you work (like I do) – what do you do with a 12/13 yr old    who is out of school at 2:15?!

So the GOOD news is that Lane AC will be a 7 hour day, which is longer than typical CPS 7th-8th grade.  The bad news is that these kids have to get up so insanely early!  Of course CPS needs to be efficient with its busses (although I cringe when I see giant busses pull up en masse in front of my son’s school with about 6 students max, per bus.)

Would this early start time be a deal breaker for you?  I remember an ex-babysitter we used who went to Whitney Young telling me that she had to get really early to bus it down there and in my mind I crossed if off my mental list of high school possibilities (yeah right… obviously wouldn’t turn it down if it happened, but still!)

Schools that start at 9am but don’t have pre-care are also a drag for working parents.

The reader who wrote in wondered if parents have any control over the hours.  I don’t think I’ve heard of a school changing their hours and I suspect it would be a major undertaking with the support of everyone in the world needed.  Probably easier in a neighborhood school where there is no bussing.


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33 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Parent of Lenart student  |  May 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    The school bus comes to pick up my child who attends Lenart at 6:30 am every morning. The school doesn’t start until 7:45, so that’s 45 minutes on a bus. I guess you do what you have to do to be able to attend a decent school in Chicago.

  • 2. RL Julia  |  May 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Taft starts at 7:30. I think Whitney starts at 8:00. The disappointing thing is that there’s all sorts of literature out there that more or less specifically says that a later starting schedule is a lot better for middle schoolers given puberty, their need for more sleep and their tendancy not to sleep enough in general. Thank goodness its only a two year program.

    I don’t know if it is a deal breaker, but my daughter is a complete night own and by her own admission can barely think a thought before 9:00. It certainly is a concern.

  • 3. Mom2  |  May 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I am guessing that besides the bus schedule, they wanted to make sure that the AC kids got into the school and out of the school before the high school kids. They had said that they wanted to help them feel comfortable by keeping them a bit separate from the crowd (even though it is a very friendly crowd!) The high school hours for the general schedule are approximately 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    With all the after school clubs, activities and sports available at Lane, there will be plenty to keep them busy after 2:15 if they don’t want to go home. Most high school students from Lane don’t get home until after 6pm due to all the options available.

  • 4. ackie mom  |  May 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    WYAC started at 7:05a during 2010-2011 school year. I believe my child had to be at the bus stop by 6 am. This year school started at 8 am.

  • 5. ackie mom  |  May 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    My mistake – I meant to write that school started at 7:05 a during the 2009-2010 school year.

  • 6. Grace  |  May 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    8 am is a decent hour.

  • 7. IB&RGC Mom  |  May 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    So if the school starts that early, I can’t imagine how early the pick up times for the buses are! I have been worried about the pick up for my daughter going to Taft AC next year which I believe is a 7:40am start time. For their elementary schools both of my daughters get on the bus almost an hour before school starts. One is about 2 miles away and another is 4 miles away from my house. The one that is 2 miles is dropped off usually about half an hour before school which I believe is so the buses can get on with their next school route.

    With that said I still think these academic centers are a great opportunity and if we as parents have to suffer for a couple of years hopefully it will be well worth it in the end.

    I would be interested in hearing what additional class they are going to offer as the curriculum seems to be very full/challenging as it is.

  • 8. Hawthorne mom  |  May 25, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I think this might be a deal breaker for me, given all the research on how teenagers do so much better in school when it starts later. Why is it that in education we talk so much about what is developmentally appropriate in the primary grades and forget about it once kids leave 2nd grade? Sigh. I guess it is largely about all the $$$ the city doesn’t have.

    But I’d be much more concerned about the program being held on the 4th floor, with no AC. It would be an oven until mid October and then from May on. My son with asthma could never attend there. Buildings with no AC in them and 30+ kids in each room have to be at least 95 degrees most warm days.

  • 9. Early birds get the worm  |  May 25, 2011 at 8:14 am

    This is great news! Parents can get to work on time after dropping off at school. The 9am start times are so anti-working-family I can’t stand it.

  • 10. Mich  |  May 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    My daughter’s an early morning lark so not a deal breaker. But I worry about the kids who get there at 7:30 and are going to stay until 6pm with extracurriculars so parents can pick them up. That is a long day. And then are you doing your homework after you get home at 6pm? My child is barely functional past 8pm so that is what is worrisome for us.
    On the other hand, we’re decent city buses away from Lane – she could take the bus if need be home. By 6th grade I was doing that. I see lots of kids that age doing the bus now.

  • 11. anonymous  |  May 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Based on my conversations with the Lane Tech administrator, it does not sound like the ackies are going to be able to avail themselves of the after school activities. At least for now, school is over at 2:15 for the ackies at Lane Tech.

  • 12. LR  |  May 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I have no problem with the length of the day, but 7:15 is way too early. It’s great from a working parent’s perspective, but start times should be determined by what is best for the students. And there is research that shows that later start times are better, especially as kids get older. I think they are foolish to start at 7:15. It is an academically rigorous program. Why make mornings more hellish than they have to be by adding such an early start?

  • 13. LaneParent  |  May 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    7:15 is too early. I am a working parent, but this is too early for a 12 year old, especially mine. I hope they change it for next year 2012/2013, or we may not choose Lane AC.

    I was hoping for Lane AC for my youngest son (now finishing 5th grade), since my oldest will be a freshman at Lane this coming school year.

  • 14. mom  |  May 25, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    My 6th grader can spend the next two years rolling out of bed at 8:30 and walking a few blocks to our neighborhood school for a 9:00 start. She was interested in Lane Ac but I’m glad she didn’t follow through. Her brother is at Lane now and I think it would be a great high school for her but we like our grammar school.

  • 15. CPS Nope  |  May 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Schools starts early, go to bed early, people adjust. If this time is a deal breaker for parents, that is crazy. The education is free, find a way to get there.

  • 16. izabela  |  May 25, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    My kids attend Stone Scholastic Academy. How soon will we know of new school hours? Anybody knows anything?

  • 17. Marketing Mom  |  May 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    If the early start time is a deal-breaker for some…let it be. That will weed out those who really want to participate in an AC. It’s all about time management. If the kids are getting out of school at 2:15, they have all afternoon to complete homework, whether they are at school, the library or at home. Go to bed at a decent hour. Welcome to the real world.

  • 18. Chicago Gawker-  |  May 25, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Sorry@17 and @15, but you are flying in the face of the research that has shown that adolescents have biological clocks that reset for late bed times and that they NEED 10 hours of sleep. You wanna saddle them with the “real world” when they’re 13? They’re kids. Geesh.

  • 19. ChicagoGawker  |  May 26, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Click to access starttimesummary.pdf

  • 20. ChicagoGawker  |  May 26, 2011 at 10:56 am

  • 21. Grace  |  May 26, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Did Lane or OAE say why they want a 7:15 start at Lane?
    WY doesn’t have their ackies start a lot earlier than the high schoolers.

  • 22. RL Julia  |  May 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

    My understanding is that WY’s schedule change was only recent. As the mom of a 7th grader at Taft (start time 7:30) who is a pretty early riser -or at least he was until he hit age 12, I can say that getting a kid on the bus every morning by 6:20 really sucks (and I am generally an early riser). I was warned by other parents that for the first few weeks/months (until they accept that that can’t go to bed much past 10:00) your kid most likely will just be tired.

    I guess my opinion and experience falls somewhere in the middle of its developmentally inappropriate to have school start this early (which it is, btw) and suck it up, go to bed earlier.

    My son KNOWS that he really should get in bed, lights out by 9:00 and generally he does get into bed – but despite being tired he tends to stay up reading until 9:30-10:00. And good luck getting a kid that age into bed BEFORE 9:00. On the upside, he now thinks that sleeping in means he gets up at 8:00.

    Only a few 7th/8th graders go to the AC’s and thus I imagine that the bus requests are low on the totem pool – hence the early start times. I also believe that the schools want the younger kids in school and out of the general melee of HS start times. I just hope that Taft doesn’t try and resurrect its Schedule E plans. Early start time plus the schedule E would be particularly horrid.

  • 23. magnet mom  |  May 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Would the track E give your son some breaks from needing to get up so early much more often periodically through the year? We find that track E is very forgiving in terms of being able to take cheaper vacations and get nice time together out of the crush of the usual vacation schedule- museums are quieter and tickets on the plane and train are a bit cheaper. It’s easier to get time off as most people have a different schedule.
    Ymcas and other groups are getting much better at offering track E coverage and places like Lill Street and Hyde Park Arts will let you design a vacation class for five kids or more at a great price on the vacations too. I know it might seem awful but we found track E nice in a lot of ways.

  • 24. City Mom  |  May 29, 2011 at 8:59 am

    A good read on child development is Nurture Shock…they devote an entire chapter to school start times and found in select cities that moved their high school start times later the SAT/test scores and teen car accidents decreased.

    We are excited about our daughter beginning K in a track E school (Prescott). In talking with both parents and teachers they love it…teachers don’t get burnt out and as magnet mom mentioned the cheaper vacations and opportunities to take advantage of the city.

  • 25. future CPS Mama  |  May 30, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Did everyone hear about the new guidelines on school hours. CPS is recommending schools go back to the open campus model. Longer day with RECESS!!!! I’m attending the next LSC meeting at our neighborhood school to push for this.

  • 26. cps Mom  |  May 30, 2011 at 8:43 am

    We went to a school that had recess. I was surprised to hear that there were elementary schools that did not have recess. Make sure that if you get recess it is mandated. Some teachers at our school withheld recess as punishment. One would even make the kids miss a full week of recess for small infractions such as missing part of the homework. Her philosophy was that kids at that age only understood the removal of recess as punishment.

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  May 30, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I’m biased because I’m a late-night person, but while I get the CONCEPT of just going to bed earlier so the kids can be at school early, the problem is that the rest of the world isn’t on that schedule. It’ll be pitch black when they wait for the bus, maybe even walk into school in December!

    Plus, if my son were going to school that early, I still wouldn’t get home from work until close to 6:30 which doesn’t give us much time together. His dad works at a place where meeting are often starting at 5:30 – that would be even less time at night. I can’t see how the family could shift to that early schedule. But I suppose it can be done if you’re motivated and get the shot at a good school (and a free pass for high school – certainly worth a try.)

    Just sounds painful to me….

  • 28. Mich  |  May 30, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I’m encouraged to hear that people say the Y’s are getting better at covering Track E breaks because as a single working parent with ZERO schedule flexibility (as are most lower-paid hourly jobs) Track E scares me. All the break camps I see are still geared only to the “standard” breaks (2 weeks at Christmas, 1 week spring break, 10 over the summer). So Track E leaves 4 weeks traditionally uncovered compared with two on standard track. Those extra 2 weeks are impossible to swing. If there start to be care options, then it starts to become feasible.

  • 29. magnet mom  |  May 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    If you attend a track E the school itself sometimes has options that are advertised to the school alone. If you consider that school begins in August and that you are not paying for camp in that month it evens out . I’d be sad if many schools went to track E as the lull we get during those extra weeks would soon disappear.
    If you are accepted to a track E school or have one in your neighborhood the school itself will have more information about those options that you find online or in schedules that get printed
    Many of the parents that we know with lower hourly paying jobs especially in retail or hospitality actually end up with more flexibility on track E as the extra weeks tend to fall into times when there is less demand for time off overall if one is choosing the two weeks that would be a vacation (if anyone ever gets to take one anymore)
    Traditionally in CPS schools with lower incomes overall have made the track E switch sooner.This decision is ultimately made by the school faculty as far as I know and not by parents.

  • 30. RL Julia  |  May 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    My issue with track E mostly have to do with having one kid (the older one) on track E and another NOT on track E. Since my daughter is not quite ready to take the bus/stay by herself all day, we count on my son to babysit, take her to camp/friends houses etc… Additionally, since she isn’t on track E, we couldn’t take advantage of those October weeks off without pulling her out of school.

    In terms of the school day, I think it would be the same – and yes, it is dark, dark, dark most of the school year when my son is going to the bus stop.

    My other issue with Track E is that it isn’t universal.

  • 31. Stressed by CPS  |  June 5, 2011 at 9:37 am

    When my child attended Taft AC, the start time was 7:40 but the bus would come at 6:20 and they would arrive by 7:00-sometimes 6:50. So the kids sat in the lunchroom for over half an hour. And yes I remember when Whitney’s AC started at 7:05. No matter what, this Lane AC time will be a yay or a nay for people. No one is ever happy about what CPS does so we just have to adjust and get over it. I didn’t like how my child had to catch the bus so early but we had no other choice. And even though WYAC changed their start time, my friend whose chiild will start there for 7th grade next year will be picked up from a north side school at 6:20. But I am sure those WY parents will not complain too much since it is a highly regarded school. Not that Lane isn’t. But since the AC is brand new, some people probably don’t think the early wake up is worth it. (I am sure it will be.)

    If there is a school with no recess, we complain, If they serve free breakfast in the class, we complain. If the school day is short, we complain, If it is long, we complain. If the tier we live in is the reason our child din’t get in a school, we complain. We just have to find a way to accept it and not let it control our ruin our lives. No matter the situation, us CPS parents are tough. We think things through. We find a way to make it work. We may not like it, but the outcome will be the greater reward.

    The kids wil adjust way better than the parents in regards to the early school day. It will indeed be pitch black when they leave. And I know some parents can’t take their kids to the bus stop. But these AC kids were accepted for a reason. They are the ones who can handle things like this. You can also ask if the bus can drop off your child at a park district after school program instead of at the closest grammar school. Use the summer to research options, do trial runs, find someone who can be with your child before or after school if needed.

    Good luck to all who have an early start school. Lane AC is not the only one but if it breaks the deal for some, I am sure other families would be happy to have the spot.

  • 32. Pablo  |  June 20, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    This works out great for me personally (Lane Tech at 7:15 then elementary school for the other kid at 7:55) but I can understand some parents having reservations. We’ve been getting up at 6am forever because it takes us a long time to get ready, but 6am is kind of a grind at times.

  • 33. IB&RGC Mom  |  June 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    @32 – Pablo did you pick Lane over WY?

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