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CPS wants pre-Labor Day start for school year

Chicago Public Schools CEO BarbarByrd-Bennett speaking Chicago Urban League 4510 S. Michigan Friday November 2 2012. I Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett speaking at the Chicago Urban League 4510 S. Michigan Friday, November 2, 2012. I Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 20, 2013 6:11AM



Chicago public schools will start classes on Aug. 26 this coming school year, ending a long-held practice of a post-Labor Day opening, under a proposal announced Friday.

Classes will end on June 10; spring break will span April 14-18, and half-days for teacher training will be scrapped.

That’s the result of months of discussion following a mutual agreement by CPS officials and the Chicago Teachers Union to dump the current “year-round’’ school calendar that begins in August and the “traditional” calendar, that starts after Labor Day, in favor of one “unified” calendar.

School board members must still approve the proposal.

“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,’’ Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said of the proposal in a news release.

“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.”

The new calendar also would provide for a five-day Thanksgiving holiday, starting Wed., Nov. 20, and a winter break that would run from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3. Report card pickup would occur on the same day — rather than separate days — for elementary and high school students.

The proposal follows a CPS online survey of more than 13,000 parents, students, teachers and principals in a system that serves 403,000 students.

Teachers who answered the survey overwhelmingly supported a school calendar with an August start — 80 percent of them favored it, according to a CPS summary of the survey. A far smaller 51 percent of surveyed parents and students favored an August start, CPS officials said.

In addition, various calendar options were discussed with teachers union officials and focus groups of parents and principals, CPS said.



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