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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Recess will be free time in Pasco County schools



Unlike its neighbor to the south, the Pasco County school district is not debating the meaning of recess in its elementary schools. 

The plan to implement a new state mandate of 20 minutes of daily play time is simply stated in the district's revised Student Progression Plan, which comes up for a final vote on Aug. 15:

"Pasco County Schools shall provide at least 100 minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free-play recess each week for students in kindergarten through grade 5 so that there are at least 20 consecutive minutes of free-play recess per day."

Officials are not talking about any learning centers or directed instruction during that time, as Pinellas County school leaders have done. In Pasco, the key question has been when to offer recess.

Central office administrators are staying out of the decisions, district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said. The choice is "up to each individual school," she said, as long as each principal makes sure recess happens.

Many Pasco schools already had provided daily free play time for students. Lawmakers required recess, however, after some parents from other parts of Florida complained that their children were receiving no down time and were too stressed by the test-oriented school culture.

The mandate takes effect this fall. It does not impact charter schools.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 2:41pm]


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