Give MMS students a proper lunch period and outdoor recess!
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Please sign to show your support for this long overdue change at Millburn Middle School!***
As parents of former, current and future Millburn Middle School students and concerned members of the Millburn / Short Hills community, we respectfully ask MMS give students a proper lunch period and outdoor recess and cease the substitution of health class for daily P.E.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that students should be allowed at least 20 minutes of actual eating time for lunch and that actual eating time begins at the time they are seated with their meals. Additionally, The American Academy of Pediatrics states that in addition to physical education, students should be allowed daily recess. The American Academy of Pediatrics further states that all students should have daily physical education, with no substitutions allowed for participation in other courses or activities. Health class should therefore not be allowed as a substitute for daily P.E.
We recognize that there are logistical and practical issues to address in accomplishing these goals but we strongly feel that these are challenges that we can and must meet. For example, if lunch / recess periods were held between 10:30 am - 1:30 pm, we could rotate the entire school through six half-hour increments through the cafeteria and recess periods. It currently take MMS students approximately 10 or more minutes for students to navigate the school, the cafeteria room and the lunch lines. Therefore it is critical that these periods be increased by approximately ten minutes in order that the children have at least twenty minutes to carefully and slowly eat, chew and digest their food.
We also believe that each child should have the opportunity to go outside for an outdoor recess period as well in all but the most extremely inclement weather. We understand that there are logistics to address in this as well but similarly feel that this can and should be accomplished. For example, the children could go to the enclosed fields area behind the school building and could be provided with balls, jump ropes etc, have a chance to walk or run around a bit; we may even fund raise for the installation of a few basketball hoops. Recess is an important opportunity for all students to unwind, get some physical activity, fresh air and sunshine in the middle of a demanding school day. Recess is extremely important for the health, development and well-being of adolescents. It is not beneficial or appropriate for half the grade to be compelled to sit in assigned seating in the auditorium while waiting for the other half to complete their lunch period when they could be engaging in outdoor recess.
Please promote the wellness of MMS students and immediately revise the MMS schedule to allow students to a proper nutritional lunch period and essential daily recess break and eliminate the substitution of health class for daily P.E. in accordance with AAP health guidelines and the best leading educational practices, thank you.
***UPDATE: New Principal John Connolly recognizes that there is much needed change at Millburn Middle School. In his introductory remarks at the "Meet & Greet" this past spring, he stated "I know that there are some issues and concerns in the community about things within the building and we are going to look to grow and enhance the experience of our students here at the Millbun Middle School. And so I would ask that you give me some time to work through those issues. I am happy to hear your feedback. I am happy to collaborate with every single one of you as part of this process as we continue to build on the wonderful things that are going on in Millburn Middle School. I think you are going to find that my style and approach is very student centered. In my current role, I spent an enormous amount of time working with students, counseling students, working through issues, and coming to resolutions. I feel that I am a very strong communicator. I think you're going to find that you are going to hear from me often and that is going to be something that is going to be, that I don't know if it is a change or not, but it is going to be my style. I am going to bring other ways for you to be able to communicate with me and I would like to try to work with the PTO in this building to figure out what would be the best way with all of you as the community here in Millburn. So those are things we are going to be working on here in Millburn to make sure that your students have a great experience and that you are in the know of what is going on in your building and you can rest assured that I am going to put my best foot foward to help make the necessary changes, the changes that are going to enhance the experience of not only your students but you as a parent here in Millburn Middle School."
We look forward to seeing the changes that Mr. Connolly will effect as soon as possible.
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