All CPS students to move to unified calendar

September 20, 2012 3:23:02 PM PDT
Chicago's Track E calendar means one-third of CPS students start in August, instead of September. That's 243 schools.

Now, there will be one calendar for all students and teachers, allowing CPS to work under one system, especially educators.

"I think having a unified calendar will allow people to share ideas, share their thoughts, know that we're in this together. No one is being treated differently," said Marc Wigler, College of Education, DePaul University.

Right now, the district has two school calendars. Track E starts in August and has longer seasonal breaks. Track R is the regular or traditional school year.

Under the new contract, CPS and the union agreed that there will be a unified calendar and that a joint board-Union committee will be created to work out the specific schedule.

"I like Track E because it gives them a chance to have a break throughout the school year. And he goes back early, and he doesn't forget anything," said Sharalle Coleman, CPS parent.

And that's the sentiment for many Track E parents and educators at schools like Edwards Elementary on the Southwest Side or Brunson Elementary in the Austin neighborhood.

What about test scores?

"The achievement scores of the kids are really not different between Track E and Track R," said Barbara Radner, director, Center for Urban Education. "It does not impact on student learning as measured by achievement tests."

So parents are ready.

"We have to adjust them. We want the best for them, so we have to adjust them," said Luis Pasuisaca, CPS parent.

"When I went to school, there was no such thing as Track E, Track R. We all went to school at the same time, we had the same breaks, we had the same time out of school so, unified, I think that's a good idea," said Reba Shavers, CPS grandparent.


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