CPS releases calendar for 2021-22 school year

CPS’ year has typically started the Tuesday after Labor Day. But district officials proposed an earlier start date to “help minimize summer learning loss.”

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Preschool teacher Erin Berry greets students as they walk into Dawes Elementary School in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

Preschool teacher Erin Berry greets students as they walk into Dawes Elementary School in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Chicago Public Schools students would start school in August for the first time in years under a proposed calendar for the 2021-22 school year that shifts classes up by one week.

The otherwise typical schedule will be up for a vote at the Board of Education’s monthly virtual meeting Wednesday. If approved, classes will resume August 30.

CPS’ year has typically started the Tuesday after Labor Day. But district officials first proposed the earlier start date three weeks ago to “help minimize summer learning loss” after an unprecedented year because of the pandemic, and to give high school students more time in class ahead of next year’s SAT, PSAT, AP and IB exams.

The new schedule would see winter break start Dec. 20 with students going back to school Jan. 3, and spring break the week of April 11. The last day of classes for students would be Tuesday, June 14, with teachers scheduled to work until June 16.

The current school year had one of the latest start dates ever because Labor Day fell seven days into September. So with students already ending this year later than usual and beginning next year a week early, summer break might feel shorter.

The change begins to align CPS with other districts statewide, however, as August start dates have become much more common in recent years.

The district asked for public input on the proposal over the past few weeks, drawing more than 3,000 comments on the issue. Some parents worried the pre-Labor Day start would translate to bad attendance during the first week when families are used to winding down from summer. Others were happy to see kids in school earlier so the impact of the pandemic can continue to be addressed sooner.

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CPS

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