New Chicago schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard expressed support today for the idea of teachers and staff visiting students at home, even in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods.

At an event Thursday held by United Neighborhood Organization, a community organization that runs charter schools, Brizard said he liked some of the charter network’s ideas, including home visits.

UNO teachers make two home visits per student during the course of a school year. Brizard said if teachers and administrators at Chicago Public Schools each took on 10 home visits, the public school system with 430,000 students could follow the charter network’s lead in some of the city’s most challenging communities.

'”Our students go there every day,” Brizard said. “Why can’t we?''

At the event, UNO CEO Juan Rangel announced the charter network would extend the school day by 15 days. He said teachers would not get paid more to spend additional time in the classroom. UNO teachers have agreed to forego their professional development days next year to give children more instructional time, specifically 190 days in the classroom. At CPS, students are in class for 170 days of the year.

Currently, students in UNO schools are in class for 175 days. In the 2012-2013 school year, UNO also plans to add an extra half hour to its 7-hour school day.

Brizard said he would be open to making a similar shift at CPS. Both Brizard and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are advocating for a longer school day and school year.
 
Chicago Teachers Union officials, who will soon sit down with CPS to negotiate rescinded salary increases, called Brizard’s and Emanuel’s endorsement of UNO’s policies “half-baked ideas.”

kmack@tribune.com and nahmed@tribune.com