October 27, 2011

Mayor Emanuel, Charter Operators Announce Longer School Day for Charter Schools Citywide

CPS Grant Program to Support Charter Schools Launching a Longer School Day in January 2012

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was joined by charter school operators today to announce the expansion of a longer school day to charter school students across the city through a Chicago Public Schools grant program. Charter school operators, including Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS), voiced their support for moving to a longer school day that will include 390 minutes of additional instruction, providing students with the instructional time needed to be competitive with their peers in other major school districts nationwide.

“Every child in every community across this city deserves a world-class education,” said Mayor Emanuel at CICS Washington Park School.  “Charter schools educate our children which is why we are including them in our plans to implement a longer school day next year, and this grant funding will help support charters interested in doing what’s best for our kids by offering the longer day as soon as possible.”

Approximately 42 charter schools will be eligible for $75,000 in grant funding and $800 teacher stipends to help them implement a longer school day. CPS will provide funding to implement a longer school day in January, matching district funding of traditional CPS schools that have chosen to lengthen their school day ahead of schedule. The district plans to implement a school day with 90 minutes more instruction district-wide in Fall 2012 in order to boost student achievement and ensure students graduate college and career ready.

“Thirty-two charter schools have already indicated their interest in applying for the grant – and if all of these charters extend their day, approximately 11,360 students will benefit from more time in the classroom,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Together with the 13 CPS Pioneer Program schools, that brings the total number of students to 15,260 this year.”

Mayor Emanuel estimated the program will cost $5 million, “a small investment for an incredible return for our children’s education,” he said.

Like traditional CPS schools within the Longer School Day Pioneer Program, charters will use the time to increase instruction in core areas like math, reading and social studies as well as enrichment activities ranging from art and music to PE. Charter schools will have the same flexibility to use the funds to purchase technology, develop intervention programs, or add additional staffing positions for enrichment programs.

“We have students who come to us underperforming at drastic levels.  By offering them 450 minutes of instruction a day from our dedicated staff we are able to give them the academic opportunities they need in order to be prepared for the next grade level, high school, and beyond,” said Martin Masterson, Director of Octavio Paz Elementary. “This is absolutely crucial and essential for our students if they are going to become successful members of our American society.  It is our goal that all of our students will attend and graduate from college.  By adding more time to our day, we will be one step closer to achieving our goal and also give our students a safe haven from the dangers that some neighborhoods present.”

National research points to the correlation between a longer day and year and improved student performance in the classroom. A recent report from the National Center on Time & Learning found that schools offering a longer day consistently demonstrated at least 5 percentage points higher proficiency rates on state standardized tests in Math or English Language Arts compared to schools within their districts that did not offer a longer day. Many of the schools studied, all within districts with at least 60 percent low-income students, outperformed district averages by more than 20 percent.

"A longer school day is essential for the City of Chicago. It means students will receive the academic and social supports they need to succeed in school - and life," said Shayne Evans, the Director of the University of Chicago Charter School.

Although some charter schools have used their autonomy to provide longer days, without the support from CPS, many have not been able to offer a full 90 minutes more instruction every day. The grant funding provides schools with the resources they need to ensure smooth implementation of a longer school day. These schools will also receive supports from CPS including sharing of best practices and support in transitioning student/staff schedules.

CPS will issue a RFP and interested charter schools can apply for funding to be used beginning in January. In order to be eligible for the grant, charter schools must be providing less than the 390 minutes of instruction needed to bring Chicago students on par with their peers in other major school districts. The application and review process will last a few weeks. At this time, the grant program is scheduled to last throughout the school year and end on June 30th just like longer school day funding for traditional CPS schools.

When launching the longer school day, CPS outlined several priority areas for the additional 90 minutes of instruction to ensure that core academic and enrichment instruction is provided. Charter schools receiving grant funding will follow the same core guidelines:

  • Spend more time on core academic subjects including math, science and social studies.
  • Provide opportunities for students to work on literacy skills in all subject areas.
  • Broaden enrichment opportunities including physical education, art, music, and library time.
  • Give students an adequate mid-day lunch and recess period so that they can recharge.
  • Provide students with interventions and supports to help improve skills in math, science and core subjects.

To date, 13 CPS schools have opted to participate in the Longer School Day Pioneer Program to lengthen their school day this school year. The pioneer schools will help to inform the district-wide model for a longer school day that will be implemented in all CPS schools during the 2012/2013 school year.

Schools that have already launched a longer school day include: Brown, Disney, Fiske, Howe, Montefiore, Nash, Sexton, Skinner North, and STEM Magnet elementary schools. Schools that will launch the longer school day later in the school year include: Bethune, Morton, Melody and Mays elementary schools.


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