The Friday Extra!

Week of December 7 - 11, 2015

Celebrating Excellence in the Hillcrest Feeder

Dallas ISD Trustee Pushes Mandatory Recess in Elementary Schools

Recess is that time away from the structured school day to play with friends, to make new ones and to burn pent-up energy playing tag and other games.

But the time-honored break from classroom studies has been pushed aside over the years as schools focus more on reading, math, science, social studies and writing — subjects that kids are tested in to help determine how well a school is performing.

Dallas ISD trustee Dan Micciche wants a change. He’s recommending a policy that would require recess at least once a day for students in prekindergarten through fifth grade in all DISD elementary schools.

“I am told that some schools provide for recess on a regular basis and some don’t,” Micciche said. “I am also told that recess is sometimes skipped in order to spend more time on academics or test preparation or withheld as a punishment.”

Trustees are expected to discuss the proposed change at Thursday’s board briefing. The proposal is in its first reading and could be considered for approval within the next month.

Micciche’s proposal does not recommend the length of time for recess, though he said research generally supports at least 20 minutes per day. He wants to get input from administrators and give them some flexibility for different grade levels.

The policy would prohibit individual students from being barred from recess as a form of discipline for low-level infractions. It also discourages administrators from limiting access to recess as a general form of discipline.

Students would still be required to attend physical education class as required under state law. But Micciche stressed that physical education, which is structured, should not be a substitute for recess.

“Numerous studies have discussed the importance of recess in improving social and emotional health and learning,” he said.

He cited a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom,” states the study released in 2013. “But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education — not a substitute for it.”

At DISD’s Preston Hollow Elementary School, students have recess for 15 to 20 minutes a day, weather permitting. Preston Hollow principal Tom Brandt said allowing kids to go outside for recess has a positive effect on student behavior.

“We’re really about teaching the whole child,” Brandt said. “And part of teaching the whole child is getting them outside and allowing them to explore, to interact with other kids, practice those social skills that we’ve been working on in the classroom.”

The board briefing starts at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at DISD headquarters, 3700 Ross Ave. in Dallas.

School Culture

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Week-at-a-Glance

December 7 – DTR Portal for Wave 2 opens

December 7 - STAAR/STAAR-A EOC English I

December 7 - 11 - STAAR/STAAR-A EOC (Including STAAR L) Algebra I, Biology, & U.S. History

December 7 - January 27, 2016 - Texas Middle School Fluency Assessment (MOY) 7th grade

December 8 – Attendance for Credit binder checks

December 9 – Principal of the Year breakfast @ Dallas Market Center

December 9 - STAAR/STAAR-A EOC English II

December 10 – Accountability Index Training (sign-up required)

December 10 - 18 - Assessment of Course Performance K-5

December 11 – ED Meeting @ Haskell (7:30 AM)

December 11 – Verify TEI Rosters Deadline

On the Horizon

December 14 – HCM Hiring event @ TBD (4:00 – 6:30 PM)

December 15 – SLO-accomplishment due (1st semester courses only)

December 15 – Hillcrest Feeder Pattern Meeting

December 15 - 18 - Assessment of Course Performance - 6 - 12

December 16 – District-wide principal meeting

December 18 – 5 SPOTS per teacher due on SchoolNet

December 19 – January 1, 2016 – December Break

January 4 – Student Holiday/Staff Development

January 6 - 12 - Assessment of Course Performance Make Up Window K-12

Mark Ramirez, Exectutive Director



Luis Hurtado-Fuentes, Math Academic Facilitator

Angela Torres, Administrative Assistant