January 11, 2012
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced Innovation Grants for schools that identify pioneering uses for the additional time provided by the Full School Day to boost student achievement. The Full School Day provides students with additional instructional time to deepen their understanding of core subjects such as math, reading and science. Principals in full day Pioneer schools have been working with teachers, students, parents and communities to design a schedule and curriculum that meets the unique needs of their student body.
The grants are part of an ongoing effort for schools to re-examine the needs of their student body and to creatively and effectively utilize the additional time to support each and every student. These schools will serve as models of excellence and will help lead their networks and the district in adopting creative approaches to school redesign. All CPS schools will move to a full school day in Fall 2012.
“Both the quantity and quality of instruction can mean the difference between a high school dropout and a college graduate,” stated CEO Brizard. “What you do with instructional time in the classroom is critical to boosting student achievement. We hope that these innovation grants will further inspire schools to think creatively about how we can best deliver instruction needed to prepare our children for college and career. We want to reward those schools that create the kind of ideas that can later serve as best practices and benefit all students in CPS.”
To identify these schools, CPS will run an application process that will be open to all schools. The grants will be awarded to up to 30 district schools for the 2012-13 school year. Selected schools will each receive $100,000 in support. CPS is currently seeking funding from private foundations that have expressed interest in supporting this effort.
These Innovation Grants will be awarded to schools who present a creative, clear and credible vision of a redesigned school day that:
- Utilizes innovative programming and scheduling strategies
- Is driven by a school-wide focus and student needs
- Provides differentiated and individualized support for student learning
- Offers students a more rigorous curriculum and expands their knowledge in core content areas
- Provides appropriate opportunities for intervention and acceleration
- Focuses on strengthening instruction through maximizing time for teacher collaboration
“The Full School Day is an opportunity to be creative, think about those things schools always wished they had the time to do, consider alignment with other initiatives like implementation of the common core, and re-structure the school day to maximize student achievement,” said CEO Brizard.
The process is open to all district schools. To apply, schools are asked to submit an application to their network Chief by February 24, 2012. Chiefs will review these applications as well as the schools' Full School Day plans and nominate three schools for consideration. The Chief Education Office will review all nominations and select up to 30 schools. The district intends to select at least one school per network. Selected schools will be notified by late March 2012. Schools will outline in their proposals how they intend to utilize these funds to boost student achievement.
This fall, 11 Pioneer Schools started to provide their students with the additional time they need to boost student achievement, while two started on January 9, 2012. Just those schools that started in September have provided their students with an additional 85 hours of instructional time, the equivalent of 17 additional days of instruction. And, 71% of the additional time used by Pioneer schools starting last fall was spent on core subjects, such as math, reading and science. Beginning this week, 37 charter schools across the district also launched the Full School Day.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.