On Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education approved a unified, single-track calendar for school year 2013-2014. This new calendar does away with the District’s two-track system, giving all students the same start and end dates and the same days off – a measure that will better allow for the coordinating of work, childcare, and vacation schedules while providing a balance of uninterrupted student learning days and ample opportunity for professional development.
“We are one District, with one vision and we want to provide our school community with one calendar that makes sense from the classroom to the kitchen table,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Families all across our city struggle to coordinate busy schedules with school, work and play and this unified calendar was designed to best meet the needs of our families’ home lives while giving our schools the time they need to implement a rigorous curriculum.”
Developed in collaboration with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), the unified calendar reflects input gathered from teachers, principals, students and parents. Nadia Gould, who is the mother of two elementary school students, was pleased to be among those participating in the decision-making process. “As a parent of two kids whose schools were on different tracks, I thought I could provide a helpful perspective,” she said. “I was someone who personally understood the plusses and minuses of both calendars.”
Gould, who became involved after sending an e-mail to CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, said that the experience completely changed her image of CPS. “Parents love to complain about the District,” she said, “But being part of the process really helped me understand a lot more about how things work.”
Gould had sent an e-mail to CEO Byrd-Bennett in early December expressing her concerns about the calendar, after which the CEO invited her to become part of a community focus group – an experience Gould found very positive. “There were parents, teachers and other stakeholders having a very constructive dialogue about what schedule would work best for their kids,” she said. “I thought everyone had good points, and I appreciated being able to share my input and the input of the other parents I know.”
Gould also had the opportunity to speak at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, sharing her personal experience and complimenting CPS on the decision to create one unified calendar for all students. Highlights of that calendar include:
- First and Last Days of School: The first day of school for all students will be August 26, 2013 and the last day of school will be June 10, 2014.
- Holidays: Schools will be closed to observe Labor Day, September 2, 2013, Columbus Day, October 14, 2013, Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013, Thanksgiving, November 27-29, 2013, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 20, 2014, Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, 2014 and Memorial Day, May 26, 2014.
- Parent-Teacher Conferences: Formerly known as Report Card Pick-Up, Parent Teacher Conferences will occur on the same day for elementary and high school students and will occur on November 12 and April 7. Parent-Teacher Conferences are days of non-student attendance.
- Winter Break: December 23, 2013 through January 3, 2014.
- Spring Break: Schools will be closed for Spring Break from April 14 through April 18, 2014.
“Whether or not people’s personal preferences were met, everyone should be satisfied with the final product,” said Nadia Gould of the new calendar. “This is the single calendar that makes the most sense for the largest number of people.”
Click here to view the entire calendar SY 2013-2014.