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Sport and Physical activities may be compromised at Tilden’s High School

Sports and physical activities will be compromised at Tilden Career Academy High School if the school decides to extend the school day, said Matthew Johnson, vice president for Tilden’s Local School Council.

Tilden High School.

Johnson spoke at the Chicago Board of Education meeting on Wednesday after Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

“Right now, the regular school day ends at 2:40 p.m., and students are able to start sport activities by 3:30 p.m. With the extra 90 minutes they would not start until 5,” said Johnson.

Tilden is not one of the 13 schools that have agreed to extend their school day.

Johnson said students will get out of athletics practice between 6 and 9 p.m. if the school day is extended. This time of the day is not convenient for those kids whose parents cannot pick them up, he added. Many of them have to use public transportation by themselves and that can be dangerous, Johnson said.

Mark Jordan, director of security for Tilden, said that if the school day is lengthened, more students who participate in sports could become crime victims because by the time they leave their activities, it will be very late and dark for most of the school year.

Johnson said he agrees that 90 minutes can be added to the school day, but he thinks that the process was not all thought out.

“The most important people who are the parents of those children were not included,” said Johnson.

Many parents who cannot pick up their children will try to use babysitters or relatives, for now. They have complained because if the Tilden administration moves toward the longer day, they will not have enough time to organize their family life to deal with the extended schedule, said Johnson.

Another concern for Johnson is that right now there is only one athletic coach for more than 90 students and just two Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. The school’s enrollment is 465 students.

Principal Safiya Karimah decided to lay off one of the only two P.E. teachers because of budget cuts, said Johnson.

“She is trying to help the development of the school. I am sure that when she will set up what she has to do, students will have more choices,” said Kelly Griggs, a community watcher for Tilden.

Thirteen schools have agreed to add 90 days to the school day. Six are already using the new schedule while seven others will do so in January.

The teachers union is opposing those changes mainly because members will not get salary increases for the extra hours. Budget cuts are also forcing many schools to lay off several teachers.

Lewis, the teachers union president, spoke at the Chicago Board of Education meeting.

Lewis said it is important to provide stability for the students.

“One of the best ways to do that [providing stability] is by showing respect for the teachers. Time alone is not enough. It has to be quality, not quantity,” Lewis said.

Jean-Claude Brizard, chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools, described what he called a “plan of restoration of CPS” at the beginning of the meeting. The plan includes significant budget cuts for CPS.

Lewis said the Chicago Teachers Union is still fighting for a better school day.

“We are not interested in slogans. We are interested in processes,” Lewis said.

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