The principal at Disney II Elementary Magnet School says most of her students' parents are excited about extra class time for their kids beginning Monday.
Disney II already has a longer school day -- about an extra hour on most days -- but they will add an additional 45 minutes Monday through Thursday and an extra hour on Fridays.
It's part of an education board initiative, led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard, to add 90 minutes instructional time to the school day this term.
A longer school day has been debated between Emanuel's school board and the Chicago Teachers Union, which even sued the board this month over the issue.
"There is no strong evidence indicating the student achievement will rise if the school year is lengthened," the union said Friday in a statement. "CTU maintains it is the quality not the quantity of instruction that matters."
Some schools are willing to take that chance.
Besides Disney II, five other schools will lengthen their day Monday, including Skinner North Classical Academy, Stem Magnet School, William H. Brown Elementary, Nash Elementary School and Fiske Elementary School.
A total of 13 schools have voted to extend their school days. Teachers at Disney II voted 20-4 in favor of the longer day. In return, those schools will get $150,000 and a two percent raise for teachers.
The Chicago Teachers Union says that's just a small number of schools and that 115 other schools took an informal poll and said no to the extra time.
Bogdana Chkoumbova, the principal at Disney II, said her teachers support the idea. She said she doesn't believe they will feel additional pressure to perform well.
"I wouldn't call that pressure, but we live in this every day, knowing that you're touching the lives of 360 some students," Chkoumbova said. "If your heart is in the right place, you need to be feeling the pressure every day."