Jackie Guthrie 0

Urge CPS to Hear Our Voice - Our Children Are Not Ready for a Full-Time Job!

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Dear Clissold Friends,

As you are aware, CPS has announced that in fall 2012 they will expand the school day for all elementary schools to a 7.5-hour day. While parents agree an increase in instructional time is welcome, a growing number of parents feel that a 6.5-hour day would be a better fit for our school. The following factors have led to this position, which you may not be aware of: 

The increase of 105 minutes will lessen supervision and results in only approximately 40 minutes of additional instruction. 
  • CPS will be requiring that all schools provide a 45-minute duty free lunch as well as a 1-hour prep or planning session, per day for teachers. 
  • This requirement causes a 1 hour and 45 minute gap in supervision, with no additional funding for programs or personnel. This poses several safety and budgetary concerns.
  • Clissold does not have a lunchroom facility and we lack the personnel to supervise each room to meet this requirement in a safe manner. 

CPS will not provide additional funding to implement the longer day, taxing Clissold fundraising efforts. 
  • CPS has a $700 million deficit. They are not committing any additional funding to the schools to help implement the longer day. 
  • This year our school received a 50% cut to our discretionary fund. We fortunately received a Title II grant to help fill the gap. This will not be available next year. 
  • For the 2011-2012 school year, Clissold was forced to raise our school’s fees as a result of these budget cuts, further increases to supplement the Budget would put undue strain on families in our community. 
  • Our discretionary funds are currently used to purchase the required texts, purchase a 0.5 teaching position (to reduce class sizes), and purchase the 6th full-time Montessori assistant. 
  • Clissold is committed to smaller class sizes; it is crucial in maintaining the high level of education our students need. 
  • Lack of funding will threaten the planned expansion of our Montessori program to the entire Kindergarten through the 5th grade population. 

A poorly planned and underfunded 7.5-hour day may negatively impact students’ learning experience. 
  • The primary grades will be undergoing changes with the expansion of our Montessori program. An additional 105 minutes will be taxing on these students, impacting their learning behavior. 
  • Our primary grade students will be expected to attend school the same length of time as a 12th grader. 
  • With the expansion, free time and non-instructional time will increase 150%. As a result of this increased free time, behavioral problems and bullying become additional concerns, leaving faculty to try to manage these issues. 
  • Children are forced to grow up fast; we would like our children to enjoy their childhood by allowing time for play. 

The 7.5-hour day will adversely impact our students with special needs. 
  • Clissold is fortunate to have an Autism and Special Education Program. The extended day will be very stressful for these students. 
  • The 7.5-hour day will limit time spent on adjunctive programs and therapies these students receive after school. 
  • An earlier arrival and later dismissal will lengthen the bus times for many of these students because of traffic patterns. 
The International Baccalaureate (IB) and afterschool programs are threatened
  • Afterschool all stars, servicing our 3rd through 8th graders, allows families additional educational time with programs such as: knitting, homework help, science club, movie musical, and college ready. 
  • The IB students have afterschool service commitments, while maintaining homework requirements. The time for these will be limited. 
  • Many families participate in PTA sponsored sports as well as park district programs after school hours. All these programs and requirements will be impacted by the later dismissal, forcing them to adjust times or be eliminated. 

We are fortunate to have a great school with an outstanding faculty and committed families. Our programs and curriculum allow for a high standard of education by focusing on a holistic approach by providing afterschool opportunities for enrichment. We urge you, as part of the Clissold community, to come together and do what is best for our children and school as a whole. Please join us in striving for a 6.5-hour day.


Concern Clissold Parents


Six Point Five to Thrive 
Six Point Five to Thrive is an education advocacy group started in Oct. 2011 by concerned parents with students attending Chicago Public Schools.  We are against a 7.5 hour school day. We support a 6.5 hour school day.  As the debate about an extended school day continues, we want to be sure a strong parent voice is heard. 

We are a group of parents in the 19th ward that feel the proposed 7.5 hr school day is too extreme.

Interesting article on the budget implications of the 7.5 hour day.

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