School Opens for Chicago’s Students With First Full School Day 

Chicago Elementary Schools Move to 7 Hours and High Schools Move to 7.5 hours; Students No Longer Attend One of Shortest School Days in Country



August 13, 2012


Chicago – Schools opened this morning for Chicago's students with the first full school day in Track E schools District-wide, giving all students access to a full, quality school day to help them succeed. After years of having one of the shortest days in the country, CPS students this year will be on par with their peers across the nation, as elementary students move to a 7 hour day and high school students move to a 7.5 hour day, with additional resources to schools. All students will now have more time for critical studies such as reading, science, and math, as well as enrichment like art, music, and recess for all.


"Starting today, every child throughout the District will have the quality school day and year that puts them on a path to success in school and life," said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, who welcomed students to their first full school day and rang the school bell at Lindblom Math and Science Academy. "With the Full School Day, principals and teachers in elementary schools are no longer choosing between reading or art, math or science—they will have time to do it all, fully."


With the Full School Day, all students at Lindblom will have access to an additional class period four days a week, such as AP Biology Lab, Writing Lab, Robotics, Dance or Music or ACT Prep, which will be determined based on each student's needs.


To ensure that the additional time leads to boosting academic achievement, strategic investments have been made to build a high quality school day that is well-rounded with more time for reading, math, science, world languages and enrichment like arts, music and physical education. Additionally, all elementary students will now have a full lunch and recess, giving them the time they need to reboot and return to the classroom refreshed and ready to learn.


The Full School Day also includes the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which will create a more rigorous curriculum that will better prepare students for college and career, as well as a new instructional framework that will better support teachers to improve the quality of instruction delivered to students in the classroom.


As Lindblom school illustrates, the Full School Day will look different at each school, as each principal and school community has been given the resources and flexibility to structure a quality school day that best meets the unique needs of their student body. At an average neighborhood elementary school such as Spencer Technology Academy, the students will receive a daily average of:


  • 20 additional minutes in reading
  • 30 additional minutes in intervention with adaptive technology
  • 15 additional minutes in math
  • 10 additional minutes in enrichment
  • 25 minutes of recess (previously students did not have time for recess)


The implementation of the Full School Day encompassed a year-long planning effort to ensure a thoughtful, engaging, and seamless transition to the new Full School Day and year. Examples of preparation and supports schools received for the implementation of the Full School Day included:


  • Pioneer Schools piloted the Full School Day in the 2011-2012 school year, providing over 22,000 students in 50 schools with additional time, primarily focused in core subjects like reading, math and science as well as enrichment such as art, music and PE. Lessons learned from Pioneer Schools were used to guide schools across the district in planning their Full School Day.

  • Extensive training and support has been provided to schools and networks by both Central Office and external experts such as the National Center for Time and Learning. This included over 38 training sessions for principals across the District, as well as expert scheduling support provided to any schools requesting additional guidance.

  • Full School Day Planning Committees were convened at every school to engage teachers, LSC members, students, parents, community members, etc. in the planning process and implementation of the Full School Day.

  • Full School Day Guidelines that for the first time provide minimum benchmarks for instructional time provided to students to ensure they will receive quality time with teachers in core subjects like reading, math and science to better prepare them for college and career. Additional resources provided to support schools in implementing the Full Day included the College Ready Guide and Recess Guide.

  • $130 million in additional discretionary funding to give principals and schools communities the flexibility to structure a day that best meets the unique needs of their student body, as well as 477 additional positions to support schools in implementation of the school day.


About CPS

The Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 402,000 students in more than 675 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school system.


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