Florida school districts examine recess options under new HB 7069 mandate
With Gov. Rick Scott's expected signature this afternoon, Florida's traditional public elementary schools will have to begin providing 20 minutes of daily recess. They're already trying to figure out how.
Some school districts, such as Flagler County, don't have enough time in the day to implement the mandate without cutting elsewhere, School Board chairman Trevor Tucker said.
"We will probably end up cutting art or music, because those are not requirements," Tucker said. "Our public will probably not be happy with that, but we only have so many minutes in the day."
He said his board will discuss the situation next week.
Orange County schools superintendent Barbara Jenkins said her district already has a daily recess provision, which will continue. She questioned, though, the propriety of lawmakers requiring recess for traditional elementary schools but not for charter schools.
"How do you say these public school children we mandate it for, and for the others we don't?" Jenkins wondered.
In Pasco County, principals have been offered four possible options for adding recess to their daily routine. Detailed in a memo, they are:
Example 1: Students have lunch for 30 minutes, students are scheduled for 20 minutes of recess before or after lunch.
Example 2: Students have lunch for 30 minutes. Connect 20 minutes of recess with specials schedule to create planning time or PLC time for teacher teams. This requires someone, other than the teachers, to supervise recess.
Example 3: Shorten lunch to 20 or 25 minutes and send students outside for recess (allow individual students more time to eat, if they need more time).
Example 4: The 20 minutes of recess can be "free floating" decided on by teacher teams. For example, a team of teachers may decide to have recess at the end of the day, the last 20 minutes.
Individual schools will be able to decide their schedules.
Parents who pushed for the rule have lamented needing to ask lawmakers to force the issue, but said districts did not heed their requests in the past to give children needed free play time. Some have said, though, that they do not like the way the final rule came about.