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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Half of Pinellas elementary schools have unstructured recess, school district survey finds

First- and second-graders play at Sexton Elementary School, which has 15-minute recess breaks.

Times file photo

First- and second-graders play at Sexton Elementary School, which has 15-minute recess breaks.

29

November

The Pinellas County school district this year required all elementary schools to schedule 20 minutes of "health" -- or "physical activity" -- as it's been called, on days without physical education. 

Whether that time was "structured" with indoor activities such as Go Noodle, or "unstructured" -- recess in the traditional sense of the word with free, outdoor play -- was left up to each school. The school district's division of teaching and learning services, headed by associate superintendent Pam Moore, followed up by conducting a survey of how schools do physical activity.

The survey found 85 percent of schools spend the majority of that time outside, 41 percent of schools give additional recess time outside of the mandatory health block, and 53 percent of schools say their physical activity time is unstructured.

Those numbers fall short of what "recess moms" have advocated for. Perhaps state Sen. Anitere Flores could be their champion. The Miami Republican filed a bill today that would require district school boards to provide 20 consecutive minutes of daily free-play recess for elementary school students starting in 2017.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 6:21pm]

    

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