March 16, 2012
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today released its proposed 2012-13 school year calendar, which is designed to help boost student achievement by adding 30 percent more full school weeks and 10 additional student attendance days, which will bring the total number of student days to the national average of 180.
In the current Track R schedule, nearly half of all schools weeks (18 of 38) are broken up with at least one day off in the student calendar, while more than 40 percent of the current Track E schedule is made up of partial weeks (16 of 38). By adding nine full weeks to Track R schools and seven full weeks to Track E schools, the new calendar not only provides more continuity for student learning throughout the year, but also eases the stress associated with haphazard scheduling the current calendar places on families.
"We need to remove any barriers we have to student learning and adding more full school weeks to the student calendar will allow teachers to build continuity in delivering instruction to their students throughout the school year," said CEO Jean Claude Brizard. "With 83 percent of our third graders not exceeding the most basic standards in reading, and almost one out of two students not graduating high school, we must make decisions that put our schools in a better position to boost student achievement and learning—that's what this new calendar does."
In structuring the new calendar, CPS gathered input and feedback from principal meetings across the district, the Full School Day Advisory Committee and nearly 600 teachers throughout the district through the VIVA project. Full School Day Advisory Committee members including parents, education experts, principals, elected officials and community and faith leaders particularly supported creating more full weeks of school, as well as adding an additional ten days to the calendar to increase student learning time in the classroom. Similarly teachers through the VIVA project and principals fully supported the full week schedule as well as strategically placing professional development (PD) days to provide teachers with better opportunities to plan and reflect on their instruction and collaborate with other teachers.
Both CPS Regular (R) and Early (E) track calendars will see the following changes:
- Ten additional days of student attendance for a total of 180 days.
- More full, five-day weeks from 20 to 29 weeks for Track Rand from 22 to 29 weeks for Track E. This provides less interruption to instruction and more consistency in scheduling for parents.
- Reducing holidays from ten to eight, changing Columbus and Pulaski Days from holidays to student attendance days. CPS is encouraging schools to use these days as opportunities to acknowledge the contributions made by Columbus and Pulaski by educating students on their roles in our country's history.
- Conversion of report card pick-up days to student attendance days. Students will now attend school on these days with schools ending three hours earlier to allow parents the opportunity to meet with teachers and discuss their student's performance.
Specific changes to the Track E calendar include:
- The school year will begin on Monday, August 13, 2012 and end on Monday, June 17, 2013. Both days are full days of school for students.
- Placement of vacation breaks (intercessions) in the Track E calendar will now fall at the end of academic quarters to minimize interruptions for students during the academic quarter.
- Schools will be closed for the following breaks (intercessions):
- Fall break (intercession): closed from October 15, 2012 to October 26, 2012
- Winter break (intercession): closed from December 17, 2012 to January 4, 2013
- Spring break (intercession): closed from April 1, 2013 to April 5, 2013. This will now be one week shorter than this year.
Specific changes to the Track R calendar include:
- The school year will begin on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 and end on Monday, June 17, 2013. Both days are full school days for students.
- Schools will be closed for the following breaks:
- Winter break: closed from December 24, 2012 to January 4, 2013
- Spring break: closed from April 1, 2013 to April 5, 2013
The new calendar was also developed to more strategically support teachers, and in turn, improve student learning. The five professional days at the front of the year will allow teachers the opportunity to learn and plan for the implementation of the new common core curriculum, as well as its instructional framework. The professional days at the end of each quarter will provide opportunity to review student data and plan for the next quarter. In addition, the increase in full weeks gives teachers a greater opportunity to impact students through their lessons without constant staggered breaks in learning.
Access the proposed Track R calendar here and Track E calendar here.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.