New school year brings longer school day for CPS

Tribune reporter

Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard joined local elected officials and personalities from a hip-hop radio station in welcoming back students this morning at the high-performing Lindblom Math and Science Academy in the city's Englewood neighborhood.

In a packed auditorium before the ceremonial ringing of the first bell to start a new school year, Brizard told students that a longer school day will bring more academic rigor.

"That means more AP (biology), more support for students who need it," Brizard told the crowd. "For elementary schools, it'll mean more recess, more math, more social studies."

Lindblom, a selective enrollment school for 7th through 12th graders, saw its school day increase by 41 minutes four days a week. That added time will push the end of the school day to 3:44 on most days and give students more time for classroom instruction scheduled around their needs, said Principal Alan Mather.

Created in collaboration with teachers, the school's administration added writing courses for sophomores, more standardized testing preparation for juniors and college preparedness training for seniors, Mather said.

"When we opened the school, we had these unique colloquium classes that were pretty much all dedicated to enriching math and science study and to serve the Englewood community," Mather said. "As we built in more support classes (over the years), we kind of got away from that. This now allows us to do both."

The new school year began for 243 Track E schools in CPS on Monday. The majority of schools return Sept. 4.

Twitter: @joelhood

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