Chicago Public School System is working on implementing a longer school day for all Chicago Schools (CPS) as of September 2012. Jean-Claude Brizard, CEO of CPS is asking for feedback regarding this initiative.
Northside College Prep Parent Network has prepared this petition to be sent to the Chicago Public School Board requesting that Northside College Prep be exempt from the directive for the longer school day proposed for all Chicago Public Schools based on the merits and individual characteristics of our school and manifested by its student body. Northside has a unique schedule consisting of four days of block schedule, 439 minutes long, and a shorter fifth colloquium day devoted to an exceptionally enriching program that fosters leadership and creative thinking.
As parents of current and former Northside College Prep students and as alumni, we believe that a change to our current school schedule would undermine the success of the school and the outstanding performance of its students. Lengthening the colloquium day to meet the 450 minutes required by CPS, would detract from the time Northside students have to manage the significant workload of a rigorous academic program. The weekly colloquium provides space for creative learning and development of social responsibility. This day’s shorter schedule enables our students to devote time to homework while remaining engaged in social and team building activities, sports and other extracurricular activities. A longer colloquium day would result in students’ increased stress levels, lower involvement in leadership activities and lower motivation and performance. We do not object to extending non-colloquium school days by eleven minutes to conform to the proposal for a lengthened school day.
Northside College Prep is an example of excellence, which is highlighted by the achievements of its students. Northside’s students not only meet, they exceed the standards outlined by the proposed guidelines:
1. Juniors tested in 2011 reached CPS benchmarks for college readiness from 90 to 100% in Science, Math, Reading and English.
2. 100% of Northside College Prep students in the honor program and 85.7% of students in the severe and profound disabilities program graduate.
3. Northside’s average ACT score is 29.2, which exceeds the CPS average of 17.
4. The four day block schedule with 100 minute classes allows for in depth instruction, critical thinking, and development of problem solving skills.
5. Northside is a Blue Ribbon School and ranked 24th among the top public high schools in the United States. Northside is 16th in the nation for math, science and college ready engineering programs. Northside is the number one ranked public high school in the state of Illinois.
6. Several suburban schools in the area are working to model the schedule and program offered at Northside College Prep for their school systems.
Our schedule and the curriculum offered by the excellent teachers and administrators need not be modified to fit into a one size fits all system. Northside’s present configuration yields high levels of success for its students. Our colloquium day is the core of the program and provides an essential balance for our students’ intellectual and physical development.
We ask the Chicago Public School board not to dismantle Northside’s successful program in the name of uniformity but to preserve it for future generations of students based on its outstanding results. Permit our teenagers to grow, learn and live in the challenging and healthy environment that the present schedule allows them.
Therefore, we submit the following signatures in petition for the preservation of Northside’s colloquium day.
Northside College Preparatory Parent Network