No more recess for a Prince George’s County charter school

WASHINGTON – No more recess.

The Prince Georges County School Board has approved a charter school’s controversial request to shorten the school day by eliminating recess for middle-school students.

Twelve board members passed the motion addressing College Park Academy‘s request to shorten its school day by 25 minutes.

Board members clarified the bell schedule now matches county public schools and the kids’ physical education time still meets state compliance.

But during the meeting, board member David Kaufman expressed concerns.

“We know we can’t do everything and instructional time should be prioritized, but there’s also value having some opportunity for exercise during the week,” Kaufman said during Thursday night’s board meeting.

Dr. Kirsten Hawkins works at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and specializes in adolescent health.

“It doesn’t really make sense given that a majority of schools are looking at reintroducing physical education and free exercise in to the school day,” Hawkins says.

The middle school near her practice has allotted 50 minutes for lunch and recess time, Hawkins says.

“In the District, we’re actually reintroducing mandatory time for both P.E. as well as recess into the school day,” she says.

College Park Academy has been operating on the new bell schedule without recess since classes started this school year with a board member’s approval.

In the meeting, board members discussed that the hours were previously written into the school’s charter and administrators did not realize they needed to request approval from the Board of Education to change the bell schedule until after it alerted parents of the upcoming change.

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