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What’s new this school year in CPS

Exterior Sarah E. Goode Stem Academy Thursday August 30 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

Exterior of Sarah E. Goode Stem Academy on Thursday, August 30, 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: October 5, 2012 6:10AM

What’s new this year at CPS

Longer day: For kids, the elementary school day will be 7 hours vs. 5 hours and 45 minutes last year; the high school day will be a half-hour longer (at 7½ hours) four days a week but nearly 40 minutes shorter one day a week.

Longer year: School year for students grows from 170 to 180 days, the national average.

Mandatory recess: Elementary schools must include recess as part of the longer day.

Tougher curriculum: Students face a more rigorous curriculum, designed to get them ready for tougher new state tests due in 2014-15.

New teacher evaluations: Some teachers will face a new evaluation system that rates them based on observations of their classrooms and their students’ growth on two types of tests.

New schools: Two new neighborhood schools and nine new charter schools are opening.

STEM focus: Five high schools — including newly constructed $81 million Sarah E. Goode — will focus on the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math in a new six-year program that partners each school with a technology firm.

Fewer kids: Projected enrollment is down more than 2,000 students, to about 402,000.

Athletic crackdown: To play competitive sports, athletes must maintain passing grades in five classes each semester instead of four.

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