July 24, 2012
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) have reached an interim, binding agreement to guarantee that Chicago’s students start this school year with the Full School Day that they need to excel. This agreement will ensure that all students will start the year with a Full School Day at 7 hours in elementary and 7.5 hours in high schools, providing additional instructional time that will help get them on par with their peers across the country. The school day for students will remain as is under the current Full School Day proposal.
“When we make our kids our first priority, we can find a way forward,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This agreement is the binding guarantee that our students will have a full school day on day one this year, providing them with the time and the education they need to excel.”
The announced agreement will allow students to benefit from full implementation of the Full School Day at the start of School Year (SY) 2012-2013 without any increase to the teacher work day for elementary teachers, and an increase of only 14 additional minutes on average per day for high school teachers.
“Working together in good faith, we have reached an interim, binding agreement that our students will have a full school day on day one this year,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “That means 7 hours for elementary students, 7.5 hours for high school students, what our schools planned for and what we promised.”
As stated in the agreement, 477 teaching positions will be added to support the Full School Day in elementary schools in the areas of reading, math and science and enrichment such as arts, music and PE. This is in addition to 277 teachers that have already been hired by principals with additional discretionary funds from the College Ready Fund to fill positions they believe will best support their efforts to boost achievement among their students. The agreement also includes eliminating an optional 6th period for high schools, as well as eliminating the 75 minute professional development block that was scheduled on the early release day once a week.
The agreement further stipulates that additional teacher positions will be filled through tenured teachers, displaced from a CPS position in 2010, 2011 and 2012, rated satisfactory or better. Positions will be offered on an interim basis for the fall semester of the SY 2012-2013, and teachers must apply for positions through the online application system. Principals will have the discretion to hire positions in subject areas they believe will best suit the academic needs of their students, including: math, reading, science and enrichment such as art, music and PE.
Beginning next fall, all elementary students will move from a 5.45 hour school day to a 7 hour school day, and high school students will move from a 7 hour school day to a 7.5 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.
Both parties are engaging in an aggressive schedule of meetings to reach agreement around other issues at the table to ensure a strike is avoided and school starts on-time and without disruption.
Chicago Public Schools serves 404,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.