Urban Education Lab to study effects of CPS’ new full school day initiative

The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute and its newly established Urban Education Lab will study the effects of extending the school day in Chicago Public Schools, by taking advantage of the fact that 39 charter schools are implementing the policy change during the 2011-12 academic year.

The UEL also will partner with CPS to study the effects of rolling out the new policy citywide next academic year, in order to learn more about how educators can ensure the best possible public education for Chicago’s youth.

“The Urban Education Lab is dedicated to answering essential questions that will improve the quality of schooling in Chicago and across the nation,” said Timothy Knowles, the John Dewey Director of UEI and co-director of the Urban Education Lab. “Understanding the impact of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s full school day initiative is of critical importance to Chicago and every urban school system in the country. We are thrilled to be a partner in this effort.”

Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard announced the study on Jan. 9, while they toured Benjamin E. Mays Elementary School on Chicago’s North Side. Mays Elementary and Genevieve Melody Elementary School, along with 37 other charter schools, began the full school day as children returned for the spring semester.

“By attending a school with a full school day, the children at Mays Elementary and Melody Elementary are no longer being shortchanged and instead will spend more time receiving instruction and focusing on learning, and ultimately receiving the education they deserve,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Lengthening the school day gives our kids the tools they need to excel in school and succeed in a global economy.”

“The quantity of instruction can mean the difference between a high school dropout and a college graduate,” said Brizard. “Studies show that whether we add time to reading, math and science classes or provide students with individual instruction in these areas, the more time students spend on task, the more they understand, learn and grow academically.”

The 302 students at Mays elementary will receive:

  • 35 additional minutes of reading per day
  • 18 additional minutes of mathematics per day
  • 16 additional minutes of science per day
  • 21 additional minutes of enrichment/ancillary lessons per day

The 306 students at Melody Elementary will receive:

  • 50 additional minutes of intervention (reading and math) per day
  • 20 additional minutes of writing per day
  • 20 additional minutes of science per day

In addition to Mays and Melody, the charter schools launching a full-day schedule include: three ASPIRA schools, five Perspectives schools, six CICS schools, two Prologue schools, three Shabazz schools, ten UNO schools, Providence Englewood elementary school, ACE high school, Legacy elementary school, ChiTech Academy high school, Youth Connection Charter Schools (12 campuses), Chicago Talent Development high school, U of C Donoghue Campus elementary school and Erie elementary school.