Recess for all Florida Lee County Public School Children
May 13, 2014
To Members of the Lee County Board of Education:
We, the undersigned, current and future parents and caregivers of students in the Lee County School System, taxpayers and residents of Lee County, petition the Lee County Board of Education to adopt into the Lee County School curriculum a scheduled time for all students in kindergarten and grades one through eight to have daily recess periods 5 days per week for ≥20 minutes, as recommended by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of supervised, unstructured activity time, preferably outdoors. For the purposes of Florida Statutes 1000.02, 1011.61, and 1011.62, and the related rules and regulations promulgated by the State Board of Education, the recess required by this Code section shall be considered as academic instruction. The Lee County Board of Education should establish policies to ensure that recess is a safe experience for students and that daily recess, ≥20-minutes, is scheduled so that it provides a break supportive of academic learning.
We support this petition for the following reasons:
That a growing number of elementary schools in Lee County, Florida no longer have daily recess;
That during the last 3 decades, the prevalence of obesity has tripled among persons aged 6--19 years. Multiple chronic disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and high blood glucose levels are related to obesity. Schools have a responsibility to help prevent obesity and promote physical activity and healthy eating through policies, practices, and supportive environments.
That the benefits of exercise include building strong bones and muscles, reducing the risk of obesity and chronic diseases related to obesity, and promoting psychological well being;
That the CDC recommends that all public schools follow the “School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity”, published September 16, 2011, which recommends at least one daily 20-minute period of recess be provided to all students;
That children become progressively inattentive when deprived of a significant break or recess;
That Lee County District’s practice of in classroom ‘brain breaks’ are NOT equivalent to the benefits of unstructured activity time;
That research has shown that children, especially those with attention deficit disorder, are more on task and less fidgety and have been shown to have improved memory after a break or recess;
That, according to several new studies, students who had daily recess, outdoor activities or other play opportunities were better behaved than their counterparts and more able to concentrate -- even if they have ADHD -- than their peers;
That research shows that children are active 59 percent of the time during recess;
That children who are inactive in school also tend to be inactive after school;
That substantial evidence indicates that physical activity can help improve academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores;
That evidence indicates that the addition of recess and physical activity can affect cognitive skills and attitudes and academic behavior (including enhanced concentration, attention, and improved classroom behavior);
That daily recess will give students opportunities to apply the skills they are learning in physical education and will support the fitness testing to be instituted in all Florida schools
That it is appropriate for daily scheduled breaks to come from already mandated instructional hours. Federal labor regulations state that breaks 'promote the efficiency of the employees and are customarily paid for as working time. They must be counted as hours worked'
We, the undersigned, petition the Lee County Board of Education to adopt into the Lee County School curriculum a scheduled time for all students in kindergarten and grades one through eight to have daily recess periods, 5 days per week, for ≥20 minutes, of supervised, unstructured activity time, preferably outdoors.
1000.02 Policy and guiding principles for the Florida K-20 education system.—
(2) The guiding principles for Florida’s K-20 education system are:
(a) A coordinated, seamless system for kindergarten through graduate school education.
(c) A system that maximizes education access and allows the opportunity for a high quality education for all Floridians.
(d) A system that safeguards equity and supports academic excellence.
(e) (b) A system that is student-centered in every facet.
A system that provides for local operational flexibility while promoting accountability for student achievement and improvement.
History.—s. 4, ch. 2002-387; s. 2, ch. 2011-5.
1011.61 Definitions.—Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 1000.21, the following terms are defined as follows for the purposes of the Florida Education Finance Program:
(1) A “full-time equivalent student” in each program of the district is defined in terms of full-time students and part-time students as follows:
(a) A “full-time student” is one student on the membership roll of one school program or a combination of school programs listed in s. 1011.62(1)(c) for the school year or the equivalent for:
1. Instruction in a standard school, comprising not less than 900 net hours for a student in or at the grade level of 4 through 12, or not less than 720 net hours for a student in or at the grade level of kindergarten through grade 3 or in an authorized prekindergarten exceptional program;
1011.62 Funds for operation of schools
2. For students identified as exceptional who do not have a matrix of services and students who are gifted in grades K through 8, there is created a guaranteed allocation to provide these students with a free appropriate public education, in accordance with s. 1001.42(4)(l)