Brunson Elementary Celebrates First Recess as Part of Full School Day with New Playground 

Brunson students will get an average of 30 more minutes in reading, 15 more minutes in science, 10 more minutes of enrichment and new 25-minute recess


August 14, 2012


Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard today joined teachers, students and school community members at a ribbon-cutting for a new playground at Milton Brunson Math and Science Specialty Elementary School. The new playground was built this summer and is ready for use as Brunson now provides recess to all students, which is a key component of the new CPS Full School Day launched this week to give all students access to a full, quality school day to help them succeed. (To view photos of the event, please click here).


With the Full School Day, all elementary students will have a daily 25-minute recess to give them time to relax, reboot and return to the classroom refreshed and ready to learn. Prior to the Full School Day, 60 percent of all CPS elementary schools did not provide recess to students. 


“We know that recess not only promotes lifelong habits of healthy living, but also increases the likelihood of a student’s success in the classroom, which is why it’s a key component of the new, quality Full School Day,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “With the Full School Day, principals and teachers in elementary schools are no longer choosing between reading or art, math or recess — they will have time to do it all, fully.”


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.


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.  


Students at Brunson  Elementary School will receive a daily average of:

  • 30 more minutes in reading
  • 15 more minutes in science
  • 10 more minutes in enrichment
  • 25 minutes of recess (previously students did not have time for recess)


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. 


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 more than 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, and community members 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 school communities the flexibility to structure a day that best meets the unique needs of their student body, as well as 477 additional teaching positions to support schools in implementation of the school day.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


Press contacts