I met with my principal, Mr. Bradshaw and the special ed administrator to discuss further steps and how to implement more positive strategies and minimize using recess as a punishment.
Teachers and staff were asked to self-report recess removal during a 2 week time frame. The data was not surprising to me and is linked below. There are several things that are of concern – especially that a lot of the missed recess is for things that are considered academic behavior (missed homework, incomplete classwork, finishing tests). We also discussed whether this was the student’s choice or teacher imposed and tracking that in the future. They were both supportive of working on minimizing recess removal in these situations and working on making this a culture change for the school.
Next steps include involving the Leadership team to help brainstorm possible solutions to be integrated throughout grades and adding recess removal to their “early warning system”. This is a data tracking system (including grades, tardiness, checks, office referrals, and more) that helps special ed and admin identify “at risk” children and tracks it by teacher and/or student. For example, if one teacher seems to have more students with failing grades, that teacher might be asked to evaluate his/her grading scales, difficulty of assignments, etc. Adding recess removal to this should minimize the chances that one or two teachers are utilizing recess as a punishment more than others.
We are scheduled to meet again in January with another 2 week data sample being gathered in December. If you have any questions or concerns that you would like me to bring up, please send me a private message.
We also discussed “inside recess” as the weather starts to be less cooperative. The gym is available for all recess periods (from my understanding) and could/should be utilized assuming children wear gym shoes (to preserve the new floor). If this is not the case, PLEASE let me (or the school) know. Children deserve a break in their day to play, socialize, move, and release energy so that they can go back to the classroom ready to learn.