April 10, 2012

Mayor Emanuel, CPS Announce 7-Hour Day for Elementary Students

After Input from Parents and Teachers, Elementary Schools Adopt 7 Hour Day Next Year

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Jean-Claude Brizard today announced that elementary schools will adopt a 7-hour day next year and high schools will adopt a 7 1/2-hour day as CPS moves from the shortest school day and year of any major city to a calendar aligned with national averages. This announcement comes after meetings and discussions with parents who expressed concerns and wanted to be more involved in setting the length of the day.

“Knowledge is the key to the future in today’s world – you earn what you learn. By having the shortest school day and shortest school year of any major city, we shortchanged Chicago’s children,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “By adopting a longer day and a longer year, we are working to shape the future of our children for the better and give them an education that matches up with their potential.”

Beginning next fall, all elementary students will move to a 7 hour school day, and high school students will have a 7 1/2-hour school day, with a 75 minute early release one day a week.  Earlier this year, CPS presented the SY 2012-2013 calendar, which includes 10 additional days of instruction, moving CPS from the shortest school year in the country to a 180 day year that is on par with the national average. With the Full School Day, a student entering kindergarten next year will receive nearly 2.5 additional years of instructional time by the time they graduate high school. Along with implementation of the Common Core State Standards, a more rigorous curriculum that will better prepare students for college and career, and the new instructional framework, which will fundamentally change and improve the quality of teaching, the additional instructional time provided by the Full Day and year will give both teachers and students a valuable tool to improve teaching and learning in every school across the district.

The announcement was made at Disney II Magnet Elementary School, one of the schools that implemented the Full School Day last fall. Since launching the Full Day last September, students at Disney II have received an additional 185 hours of instructional time, with that time primarily focused on reading, math and science.

“We’re grateful for the example our Pioneer and Charter Schools have set, and their experiences, along with the direct input from parents across the city, have helped us shape a better, fuller school day,” said CEO Jean Claude Brizard.  “The changes to the Full Day reflect hours spent listening to parents and taking action based on their input, and demonstrate our willingness to work as true partners with parents to make decisions that will boost student achievement across the district.” 

Elementary Full School Day:

  • Students will receive 52 additional minutes of instructional time each day.
  • Students will receive 6 hours of instruction and 45 minutes for recess and lunch.
  • Students will be in school for 7 hours each day, an increase of 75 minutes.
  • Teachers will be in school for 7 hours and 40 minutes, an increase of 85 minutes. 

High School Full School Day:

  • Students will receive 46 additional instructional minutes four days a week.
  • Students will receive 6 hours and 8 minutes of instructional time four days a week. 
  • Students will be in school for 7 1/2 hours a day, an increase of 36 minutes four days a week.
  • One day per week the day will end 75 minutes early.
  • Teachers will be in school for 7 hours and 40 minutes, an increase of 39 minutes. 

The Full School Day will provide significant benefits to all students across the district, including:

  • Elementary students will receive an additional 207 hours of instruction each year, and high school students will receive an additional 116 hours of instruction. Principals will no longer have to choose between reading, math or science because of limited time in the day.
  • Additional time will create opportunity to add more intervention to ensure students who are falling behind in math and reading can get up to speed with their peers.
  • Elementary students will have time for lunch and recess every day to relax, re-boot and return to the classroom ready to learn.

The Full School Day was structured with an eye toward providing teachers with adequate professional development and prep time to support their practice.  Benefits of the Full Day include:

  • Elementary teachers will have almost two additional hours of prep time each week.
  • Elementary teachers will have self-directed prep time in the mornings, as well as additional prep time throughout the day to meet with parents informally, prepare for their lessons and supervise students who arrive at school early.
  • Both elementary and high school teachers will receive an average of 75 minutes for professional development each week.


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