Save Second Recess in Upper Dublin Elementary Schools

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Dear Dr. Wheeler, Administration and Board,

We are aware that the elementary schedule changes being proposed and discussed eliminate second recess for third, fourth and fifth grades. Currently two outdoor recess periods a day are given to at least 75% of our elementary school children. We have also been informed that the term 'recess' will be used synonymously with 'play' or 'movement breaks.' The result is that unstructured recess is being taken away for more instructional time.

We are petitioning that the Upper Dublin School District Administrators and Board Members continue to provide 2 outdoor recess blocks, of at least 20 minute periods, per day for all children in our elementary schools.  

Currently, our elementary school day in Upper Dublin is one of the longest in the area.  With a total of 7 hours, our children deserve to have at least 2 recesses each day.  Recess is one of the most critical times in our children's day.  They need to have time to exercise their minds and bodies in an unstructured way, in the fresh air and sunshine.

The research and support of recess time is endless and invaluable.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a policy documenting the numerous benefits of recess.  The statement entitled, "The Crucial Roll of Recess in School,"documents the following benefits:  enhanced cognitive processing, improved attention in the classroom, improved social and communication skills, diminished stress, as well as improved physical well-being. (Pediatrics, Vol 131, No. 1, Januray 2013)

Additionally, the AAP states that recent focus on academic performance has led many schools to decrease recess time in favor of instructional time.  This is being done at the expense of our children's well-being.  Over the past 4 years, Upper Dublin schools have initiated many curriculum changes including:  new Eureka math curriculum, new ReadyGen language arts curriculum, 1:1 technology in 5th -12th grade, new Science curriculum, Detracking in the high school, new grading system in the high school and new test return policy at the high school.  With heavy and extensive curriculums, we are needing more and more instructional time.  We ask that you stop making any new changes to schedules and curriculum so that our teachers can teach with quality, not quantity.  We want our dedicated and amazing teachers to continue to love to teach our children.  Our teachers are the key to academic success.  

Upper Dublin School District should be a leader in halting this trend and putting the children's well being first.  

The CDC defines recess as "regularly scheduled periods within the elementary school day for unstructured physical activity and play."  The new elementary schedule being proposed should clearly state 'recess', rather than 'movement breaks' or 'play.'

Active parents in our community have spoken out at our December Legislative Board Meeting and many other district meetings with deep concerns regarding the reduction of recess and upcoming changes to curriculum and schedules.  Dr. Wheeler, spoke to NBC and stated that the district "will not cut recess."  We urge you to uphold your word and do what is right for our children.  We ask you to reject any schedule changes that would reduce a second recess in our schools.  .  


Thank you.