What's A Modern School Day Made Of? Superintendents Weigh In

Feb 5, 2019

A new Illinois Senate proposal would change what constitutes a school day. It would return the requirement back to at least five hours of instructional time in a classroom.

But some northern Illinois superintendents say their districts don’t want to go back. They like the flexibility of the new system.

Mike Schiffman is the superintendent of Freeport Public schools. He says that it allows them to offer a more personalized learning experience.

For example, e-learning could be helpful for students who work at night and have a hard time focusing in class at 7:30 the next morning.

And it also lets educators explore new ways to teach.

“If you look at a lot of our teachers, when they do professional development they’re doing webcasts, podcasts, learning online; and so this the way that kids will be, even if they go to college or a university, they’re going to be learning in different styles and we want to prepare them for that,” said Schiffman.

They can also be flexible when the weather forces school to close.

Those canceled days are another reasons some local superintendents don’t want to see the five-hour rule return.

“Those all have to be made up in June after kids take AP tests after they take the state tests;”

That’s Dr. Ehren Jarrett, superintendent of Rockford Public schools.

“So I think having the ability to add an e-learning component and giving students more flexibility for work-based learning are two things we’d hope to explore if things stay this way.”

Dr. Jarrett, as well as Schiffman, said the ability to use different sorts of instruction outside the walls of the classroom is what appeals to their districts.

At an education committee hearing, an Illinois Education Association lobbyist supporting the bill said the new system presents teachers as optional.