How is school going? (Especially you longer day people)
Well, CPS has been quiet lately and we’ve talked the concept of the longer school day to death (although I’m sure there plenty more so say.) For now. Quite the opposite of Karen Lewis who still will apparently not offer any input on the subject.
From this new Trib story:
The concerns seem to mirror that of the Chicago Teachers Union, which has called for a better rather than a longer school day. The union’s own proposal for a longer school day next year calls for more time for foreign languages, physical education, art, music, science and social studies. While students would be in class for an extra 75 minutes under the union proposal, teachers would not be working longer.
In speaking with principals last week, district officials also recommended adding extra time for non-math and reading subjects. O’Keefe said the district and union’s proposal for what a longer school day would look like are similar and differ only by 15 minutes.
She called for the union to join the advisory committee. But CTU President Karen Lewis has declined to join the group, saying its members are politically connected. The union has instead offered five other candidates that it says include three teachers. CPS officials have said the district had agreed to add the union nominees solely to get Lewis to join. But without Lewis’ participation, those nominees have not been contacted.
CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey, who attended tonight’s Raise Your Hand meeting, said Lewis never agreed to join and offered other names because she has been out of the classroom for a year. “Karen needs to be in a room with our members before she talks to (CPS chief executive Jean-Claude) Brizard about what’s going to happen,” Sharkey said.
I can’t tell what’s going on – why can’t they just get some Union reps to start discussing it?
I’m curious how the start of everyone’s school year is going? Do the new Kindergarten parents feel good about their schools? How’s homework? How is the longer day feeling?
Some of my updates:
My son is now in 3rd grade at a Regional Gifted Center. As you may know, the RGCs work 1-2 grades ahead. So for K-2 they were 1 year ahead in math which mostly worked out fine. This year it turns out that they suddenly skipped to 2 grades ahead. So he came home with a 5th grade math book. So seemingly the concepts covered in 4th grade can just be skipped (Insert sarcasm.) I have full confidence in the teacher (my son had her for 1st grade) and she pulled it off last year and has given us many re-assurances. It’s just one of those Things-That-Bug-Me about CPS’ bureaucracy. I assume somebody decided that skipping the 4th grade material was the best year for skipping, it just seems like a big leap.
We also had our language program changed from French to Spanish. Which is great. The whole school is now learning Spanish (parents fundraise for it for the neighborhood program.) But 3 years ago when the program started we asked if the language had to be French and were told “Yes, it has to be French, that’s how the program is set up.” So it has to be French until it doesn’t have to be French. Sigh.
Our school day is now 45 minutes longer, which includes 20 minutes extra of instructional time. So far I haven’t heard any complaints from my son and he seems to like the longer lunch and recess (but still doesn’t eat most of his lunch.)
Overall, the school continues to instill confidence in me, between the admin and my son’s 2 teachers, so I’m in a happy-CPS place right now. Somehow our budget cuts seemed minimal (if not having some stuff added.) My son will have art, music, library, gym, computer, and science with one of his teachers. It seems very well-rounded. I can’t recall as a child how often we had those specials. Can you?
My son’s class lost one kid at the begining of the year (to another gifted program) and tried filling the spot through several rounds. Nobody has shown up yet. It seems that once families have settled in at a school, it’s hard to get them to switch.
One *interesting* thing my son mentioned this summer was the ISATs and that he wants to do well on them. That makes me raise an eyebrow a bit. I get that the school may want to mention the test, but I’m curious how it’s being presented to the kids. Curious if other kids have mentioned the test at all….
Admissions-wise I’ve heard of families being offered spots in higher grades (1st +) at some desirable schools, but they seem to be turned down often if a sibling can’t be admitted right away. So there IS movement in these schools. If you’re willing to shift after school starts and willing to split siblings up for a while (ugh) you just never know what might come along if you keep applying.
And FINALLY – if anyone is looking to buy a great bungalow in the Waters school district, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1.5 lot, big 1 car garage, nice yard with some grass and cookout area, right by the Brown Line Francisco stop, giant basement, great dining room and living room with wood ceiling beams, awesome retro kitchen, and a giant attic for storing Happy Meal toys or converting to a huge master suite. Probably gonna be priced around $530K.
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