Reducing Recess

By: Theresa Freed
By: Theresa Freed

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Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2004

Kansas kids are already heading back to school this week, some of them sitting in class a little longer than they used to.

In an effort to make sure students are achieving academic excellence this school year, one school district is reducing recess. As students head back to school this week, some students in Ark City are noticing a change, less time for breaks and more time in the books.

“My child got in the van and said, ‘Guess what? There’s no recess,’ and I was very upset,” said Shari Coulson, a parent who’s child attends school in Ark City.

Coulson is now one of many parents puzzled by the new principal’s decision to eliminate recess at Adams Elementary in Ark City. The district recently ruled that principals at the six grade schools in Ark City could decide if recess should stay or go. Parents learned Monday that kids at Adams would spend nearly all of their day in class.

Although the grade schools in Ark City are achieving academic excellence in the area of math, they have work to do when it comes to reading. That’s why the district is justifying the additional in-class time.

“This is a trend nationwide,” said Kristen Martinez, with the Arkansas City school district. “I know more schools are spending less time at recess and more time in the classroom.”

Ordinarily students would have three recesses a day. Now, if kids finish lunch fast enough they can go outside. The change directly affects students in grades one through three. Fourth and fifth graders already work on a lunch-recess only.

“I don’t think this is right,” said Coulson.

Coulson said she’s concerned that students won’t received necessary exercise and breaks from study during the day, so she’s now asking the district to restore recess.

The group of parents opposing the recess change is expected to make a statement at this Monday’s board of education meeting.

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