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  • CES Program Study - Year Two (2015-16): Recess Pilot Initiative


    Frequent Asked Questions

    Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions we have received to date about the recess pilot initiative. If you have additional questions, please reference the "Who to Contact" list below.  

    The goal of the pilot program is to explore ways to create sustainable quality and inclusive recess and out-of-school-time (OST) experiences, supervised by staff trained in engaging play, conflict resolution and strategic interventions. READ MORE

    There is research advocating the benefits of both structured and free play. The district is focused on providing a balance of both free and structured play for students, in ways that allow students to be creative and explore new activities, while doing so in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.

    Yes. Students can choose their own play options (tag, hot lava monster, basketball, football, creative play, etc.), while also having the option to join in the "Game of the Week" facilitated by recess staff. Program flexibility allows for additional or alternative games if agreed upon by program participants.

    The district utilized Community Education Services budgeted professional development dollars to train 40 staff; primarily OST staff in addition to select Normandale and Concord recess paraprofessionals. Community Education funds are separate from general fund

    Total Cost (one-time expense) = $30,800

    • Customized training = $26,500
    • Trainer expenses = $4,300

    Training included strategies for staff on issues such as:

    • Leadership development for both students and staff
    • Conflict resolution
    • Game and activity facilitation
    • Indoor recess

    The district is not anticipating additional contracted services with Playworks. The training was designed as a train-the-trainer model, which will allow other EPS staff to be trained in house on a variety of leadership and activity facilitation strategies, including those of Playworks as well as other best practice strategies gathered by staff.

    Edina KIDS Club, WISE Guys staff as well as Concord and Normandale paraprofessionals were trained over the spring and summer of 2015. A total of 40 Edina staff members received six days (5 hours/day) of training during the school day and during the CES before and after school program, which operates at all six elementary schools. Staff were trained system-wide so as to leverage the training not only at Concord and Normandale, where the recess pilot was occurring, but also leverage the training at the other four sites for before and after school programs. Staff incorporated their learning during the summer program, which served close to 35% of the district’s elementary student population.

    Why did Concord and Normandale partner with Edina Community Education to train recess staff?

    • EXPERTISE: Edina's before- and after-school staff work with many of our elementary age students. The KIDS Club and WISE Guys staff both know our elementary age students and have an aptitude for and a skill set that lends itself to supervising recess. Through this pilot Concord and Normandale are able to access this expertise on a daily basis during recess.
    • CONSISTENCY: Training CES staff and Concord and Normandale staff together provides common understanding around games and activities, conflict resolution strategies and recess procedures. This consistency extends from before school to after- school and across sites.
    • STAFFING: Staffing playgrounds with motivated, engaging and qualified staff is challenging. Working conditions in the winter are challenging. Recess positions typically are staffed at between 2 and 3 hours/day. Finding qualified candidates in a full-employment economy is challenging and turn-over has been high. By collaborating with CES both Normandale and Concord were able to flex staffing and create full-time positions.
    • Play options for students - Playground supervisors learned numerous games and activities during their training that they in turn teach to students and facilitate on the playground.
    • Activity for students - Many of the new games and activities recess supervisors teach and facilitate on the playground are designed to keep kids moving and include large numbers of students.
    • Access - Through teaching, modeling and facilitation, students are able to access games and activities that they may not have felt comfortable joining previously.
    • Instructional time - Students and teachers lose instructional time dealing with unresolved recess conflicts and issues. Recess staff will train students to resolve conflict without adult intervention, thus allowing for teachers and staff to resume instruction right after recess.
    • Student safety - By providing more adult supervision and agreed upon expectations and parameters, student safety will be improved and students will be able to effectively resolve conflicts on the playground.
    • Behavior issues - Recess has often generated a large number of a building's behavior issues. Through increased recess supervisor engagement, employment of conflict resolution strategies, and increased student engagement, the goal will be to decrease student behavior issues during recess and during before and after school programs.
    • Health office visits - Recess has often generated a number of visits to the nurse’s office. Through increased recess supervisor engagement, increased student engagement, clear expectations for activities and play, and first-aid trained recess supervisors, the goal will be to decrease student visits to the health office.
    • Dollars spent facilitating recess supervision and activities - In EPS, PTOs have often sponsored third-party recess supervision and activities. If successful, the one-time staff training cost of this pilot will allow schools to better and sustainably staff recess without accessing PTO funds year after year.

    Throughout the fall and early winter, the district’s evaluation plan includes multiple input opportunities from students, staff and parents, as well as analysis of other factors including the number of discipline referrals, health office visits related to recess, recess-based injuries, and teacher absence rates. Administration will look at all aspects of the evaluation in formulating recommendations for the future, which are tentatively scheduled to go to the School Board this winter or spring. READ MORE