Superintendent: Recess will remain in schools

The Marshalltown Community School District is looking at increasing instructional time for students, and in some cases, that could be at the expense of recess time.

Marshalltown Superintendent Marvin Wade said the rumors going around of the school district eliminating recess altogether for elementary schools are unfounded.

“I don’t see recess totally going away,” Wade said.

Currently, recess time varies on the particular school schedule, but Wade said there might be some cases where they would move from three recess times a day to two.

This proposed schedule shuffling is a result of work done by a consultant and recommendations from the Iowa Department of Education to try to increase instructional time to boost student achievement. Wade said with the rumors there has been some feedback to the school district from the public.

“I’ve gotten some feedback from people, but that’s not unusual,” he said. “Recess has not been cut. People are getting excited about rumors.”

Wade said recess time does have its merits, with the opportunity for exercise and social interaction among students.

Sue Cahill, teacher librarian at Woodbury Elementary School and president of the Marshalltown Education Association, said teachers have been told about the schedule changes and are planning accordingly.

“As teachers, we are concerned in doing what is best for kids,” Cahill said. “In the classroom, we work with students and know that they need physical activity. Since recess time has been lessened, teachers will have to work very hard to provide movement and brain breaks to meet student needs.”

Cahill seemed concerned with the social interaction aspect of recess being left out.

“We must provide students time for social time to visit with friends and time for creative and unstructured play,” she said.

Wade said the principals of each of the schools are working on their schedules, and they hope to have finality of them by the end of the month. A change in the schedule does not need school board approval, Wade said.

He said the school schedules will be on the May 6 board agenda as an information item along with the school handbooks for next school year.