Give Us a Break!

Give Us a Break!

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Shany Sadan started this petition to Mr. Chris Ragsdale - Cobb County Superintendent

Cobb county school system is one of the largest and one of the best school systems in the state. Although the schools are great, we believe some changes are needed in the middle schools. 
We were surprised to find out that middle school students do not have recess. AT ALL. The school day starts at 9am and ends at 4pm, and apart from brief (3-5min) locker breaks and a short lunch break, there's no actual recess.
We find it unbelievable. Could you imagine yourselves working or learning for 7-8 hours without taking a break? How does the school system expects them to stay sharp?
Researches proved that an unstructured (free) recess improves learning, achievement, class behavior and even reduces BMI. A recess can create a better learning environment and will help our kids reach better grades while maintaining healthier bodies and minds. 
So, we are asking: Give Us a Break!
Together we can make a change! We are aware that big changes are hard to achieve in a short time, so we ask the Cobb County Superintendent to take 2-3 minutes from each class and create time for a 20 minutes recess, unstructured recess when the kids could be kids, have a break, rest, eat a snack and socialize, and do that without increasing the total number of hours at school. 
This is the letter that will be sent to the Cobb County District Superintendent with your signatures:
 
Dear Mr. Ragsdale,
Cobb County School District Superintendent, Georgia,

We are the proud Georgian parents of children in the County’s school system, who are concerned for our kids’ health and well-being while at school. Unlike elementary school students, middle school kids don’t get recess during their school day. We believe this should change.

Scheduled breaks serve a few different purposes: the first is simply to have a break, they are still kids, and they need one.  The second reason is social, as children need time to interact without school work in an unstructured environment (again, they are still kids!). Third, our brain learns much more effectively if we take breaks, as supported by many scientific studies (see below). 
 
As we’re sure you would agree, schools today offer the opportunity to gain knowledge as well as obtain good life skills. These days, with the Internet always at our fingertips, there is less need to memorization. We are facing other challenges with our growing kids: as technology improves, our kids have less face to face interactions with their peer group, and are less physically active. Adding school breaks would help address both issues. 
 
In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a detailed statement about school recess. They concluded that school’s recess “should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons”, and state that “recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits” (Pediatrics 2013;131:183). This statement echoed the American School Health Association (J School Health 2010;80(11):517). Just a few years earlier, in the journal Pediatrics, a study showed that recess improved class behavior overall (Pediatrics, 2009;123(2):431). Furthermore, Bailey and colleagues have proven that there was an increase in physical activity during recess (Eup J Pediat, 2012;171:1805). Having more minutes of unstructured recess improved children’s BMI on another study (Social Science & Medicine 2011;72(5):677). There is no need to go far; here in Georgia a study showed the improvement in classroom behavior once recess was added (The J. of Educational Research, 1998;2:121).
 
In Georgia, recess is strongly encouraged by House Bill 273 for kindergarten through fifth grade, along with an emphasis on elementary school physical exercise, and there are programs in place to encourage staying active after school hours (e.g. the “Power Up for 30” program). However, these regulations and interventions halt once the children begin adolescence in middle school, a critical phase in their growth and development.

This issue was presented to the County’s Board of Education in writing and also during the public hearing in September 2018. However, no action has been taken so far. This is our plea, as parents who would like to see their children thrive in the school system where kids gain healthy habits for life. We ask you to make the change, support scheduled unstructured recess from K to12!
 
Adding time for recess does not need to prolong the school day. If implemented, this policy will likely improve classroom performance to the point that classes could be shortened. Taking a few minutes from each class could easily add up to allow recess time. Two to three minutes from each class can create a 15-20 minutes break! 
                     
Together we can create a real change in our children’s lives, make studying more efficient, help them develop better life habits, and become more socially involved. Please, help our kids by making the change. 
Best regards,
The parents.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!