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Teachers at Northwest Side elementary approve longer school day

Updated: September 13, 2011 12:04PM

A Northwest Side elementary school became the sixth Chicago Public School where teachers have approved a waiver that would add 90 minutes to the school day.

With an 83 percent vote in favor, teachers at Disney II Magnet Elementary School at 3815 N. Kedvale Ave. in Old Irving Park approved the longer day, according to a release from CPS.

Passage of waivers require 50 percent plus one of all voting teachers. The approved waiver will extend the school day beginning Sept. 26, the release said.

Disney II staff has embraced adding additional time to their day since opening in Fall 2008, when teachers agreed to work an extra hour at the end of the day for four days a week to provide additional instructional time for students, the release said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and CPS Board President David Vitale released the following statement: “We’re gratified that the teachers at Disney II Elementary put our children first and voted to lengthen the school day. We commend Principal Bogdana Chkoumbova for her leadership and vision for making Disney II a world class school. The support of Disney II proves once again that that strong leadership and great teachers can overcome any obstacle.

“Our children continue to lag behind their peers across the nation despite the hard work of teachers. Teachers at Disney II not only sent a message, they took a meaningful, practical step to boost their students’ academic success in the classroom. We hope that more parents, teachers and principals will continue to have meaningful discussions and hold meaningful votes about longer school days.”

The longer school days requires a waiver to the Collective Bargain Agreement between CPS and the Chicgao Teachers Union, which opposes the longer day, claiming a proposed 2 percent raise was not enough to cover the extra time.

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