‘I really did miss school’: Chicago charter students excited to be back weeks earlier than other kids

August 8, 2022

CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s back to school already for thousands of students around the city on Monday.

It’s weeks earlier than many schools. But for students at several Learn Charter campuses, including North Lawndale, it’s a day they said they’ve waited for all summer long. CBS 2’s Joe Donlon has the story.

“Coming back this early it was a reality check. I was like ‘dang I start school Monday,’” said eight grader Trison Phillips.

While most kids are soaking up the last few weeks of summer break, the students at Learn Charter Schools are back in the classroom today.

“Coming back to school two weeks earlier than all of the other schools in Chicago is nothing new to learn. We’ve always had an earlier start to the school year as well as a longer school day,” said Sharanda Morehead, Principal at Learn Charter School Romano Butler Campus.

But perhaps surprisingly, the kids we talked to don’t seem to mind it one bit.

“When you leave at the end of the summer you’re like ‘dang I don’t want to leave’ because of the connections you make at this school, they’re very special,” said eighth grader Zryian Morgan.

Trison Philips said he was even excited to get back into a uniform.

“I missed the environment. At home, I really wasn’t doing anything after my summer program. So I was like working a little and I was watching TV and stuff like that, but I really did miss school,” Phillips said.

While it might seem rare to hear middle schoolers say they’re excited for summer vacation to come to a close, these students said they feel like they’re getting a head start.

“While we’re in school early and thinking about high school, most kids are not. They’re at home playing the game, eating food, watching TV, while we’re actually working and trying to get into the high schools that we want to get into,” Phillips said.

“The last three years have been the most challenging of my career.”

Principal Sharanda Morehead reflects on the challenges of COVID, but these few extra weeks of school means more time to get back on track.

“When a child is here at learn, we know that they are safe and we know that they are receiving everything that they need to be successful,” Morehead said.

And these eighth graders can’t wait to get started.

“If you look at the bigger picture – the grand picture – this is really a good opportunity for you,” Morgan added.

And even though they are back in the classroom sooner, it doesn’t mean they start summer vacation earlier. Learn Charter Schools said they pride themselves in the longer academic year and school days.

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