RAISE YOUR HAND COALITION LAUNCHES “FIT FOR LEARNING” CAMPAIGN TO RESTORE RECESS, EXTEND LUNCH PERIOD AT CPS
Parent organization sheds light on existing policy that could add 45 minutes to the typical school day
CHICAGO -- The Raise Your Hand Coalition, a growing coalition of parents and organizations collaborating for long-term, sustainable funding for education, has launched its “Fit for Learning” Campaign, which promotes and advocates for CPS to re-instate what is contractually known as an “open campus” scheduling option that would allow any CPS school to have recess and a longer lunch period by adding 45 minutes to the typical school day. While cost implications for implementing this program will vary by school, moving to a modified open campus schedule will be low cost or budget neutral in many cases.
Unlike the current “closed campus” schedule, adopted by most CPS schools in the 1970s, by modifying the Open Campus schedule, teachers would take their 45-minute lunch break during the day, rather than at the end of the day, after children have left the building. The Fit for Learning campaign supports a modified version of the open campus schedule, which would not allow students to go off school grounds for lunch, but would allow them extra time to go outside, on school grounds and have more time for lunch. Under the modified open campus schedule option, schools can contractually take a site-vote to do this now (see CTU contract p. 19 section 4-13).
Standing with leadership from the Chicago Teachers Union, RYH presented this opportunity at the February 23rd CPS board meeting. Speaking on behalf of Raise Your Hand, Patricia O’Keefe called upon the board to “work with RYH to renew, promote and encourage schools to adopt the Modified Open Campus option—an option that will result in a better, more effective learning environment for hundreds of thousands of children.”
“Parents, teachers and administrators have been talking for years about the fact that the Chicago school day is the shortest in the country. Yet, the effort and cost to lengthen the day has always been presented as an insurmountable roadblock to offering a more well-rounded school day,” said O’Keefe. “We are shedding light on a policy option that has been sitting under our noses and will allow us to do what most people feel is the best thing for our children at a minimal cost.”
Shifting to a modified open campus model will be cost neutral for many schools and have low cost implications overall. Costs implications will primarily be for additional student supervision during recess and lunch. In many schools, this duty can be incorporated into the current work day for existing staff at no cost, while some schools will require some compensation for added supervision.
Raise Your Hand will be hosting an informational meeting to discuss the “Fit for Learning” campaign on Wednesday April 6th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30. The meeting, which is open to the public, will take place at Waters School, 4540 N Campbell Ave.
To learn more about the Fit for Learning campaign, please visit www.raiseyourhand.org or contact Amy Smolensky at 312-385-0053.
Raise Your Hand (RYH) is a growing coalition of parents and organizations that are collaborating to influence the public sector to enact changes that will result in appropriate, equitable and sustainable funding for public education. RYH works to create a long-term education funding framework that is not contingent on political party, election cycles or special interest agendas. Over 25,000 RYH participants, worked this year to galvanize the parent population in Chicago and sent over 160,000 messages on education funding issues to legislators and aldermen. Members include parents, students, teachers, administrators and community members who believe that fair and equitable funding is a core component in providing outstanding public education.