Utah Schools Gain Back Quality Instructional Time

  1. Updates

SALT LAKE CITY, UT JULY 11, 2013 — Salt Lake City kids and schools are benefiting more from recess than just physically. Over the course of the last year, 10 schools in the area received 17 more hours of learning time and fewer students spent time in the principal’s office for discipline and behavior issues.

Since having Playworks, a nonprofit organization proven to reduce bullying and increase instructional time, schools in Salt Lake City report that office referrals for discipline have been slashed considerably, with an average 30 percent drop, allowing more students to focus in the classroom learning and principals to focus on providing great leadership to their school.

Every year Playworks conducts surveys of principals and teachers at its partner schools to help determine the impact of the program. In Salt Lake City, 177 staff and teachers responded to the survey. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 95 percent reported that students showed an increase in physical activity;
  • 96 percent reported an increase in the number of students engaged in healthy play;
  • 80 percent reported a decrease in the incidents of bullying during recess;
  • 93 percent reported an increase in the use of conflict resolution strategies during recess;
  • 89 percent reported an increase in the level of cooperation with others during class;
  • 90 percent reported a decrease in the number of disruptive events in the classroom.
  • 87 percent reported that Playworks had a positive impact on overall school climate.

Less disruptive behavior inside the classroom allows for more quality instructional and learning time for teachers and students. Teachers reported reclaiming up to 17 hours of instructional time that was previously lost to discipline and behavior issues.

According to Rich Landward, Director of Student Support Services in Canyons School District,“Playworks at our four Title I schools is having a significant impact on helping kids develop the skills they need to be successful at school. Playworks is teaching social skills, reducing office discipline referrals, addressing bullying issues and creating a positive school climate.”

The positive recess and school environment allows students to develop important pro-social and cognitive skills that have a direct impact on learning and instruction in the classroom.

One respondent noted, “I have noticed a decrease in negative behavior that happens at recess. Less kids come in crying and complaining of bullying. This makes the day inside the classroom go much smoother and I spend less time disciplining.”

Sally Sansom, Principal at East Midvale Elementary has seen the difference at her school “Students who were formerly causing trouble have turned into leaders. The faculty has been able to concentrate more on the curriculum rather than fixing the issues. The classrooms have become more peaceful and a safer learning environment."

About Playworks

Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that transforms schools by providing play and physical activity at recess and throughout the school day. Through on-site direct service and trainer-led professional development workshops, Playworks restores valuable teaching time, reduces bullying, increases physical activity and improves the school and learning environment.

Playworks, which launched in Salt Lake City in 2011, partnered 10 low-income elementary schools across four different school districts (Canyons, Granite, Salt Lake City and Jordan) working directly with nearly 7,000 children every day of the school year. In the 2013-14 school year, the organization expand the program into the Davis School District. In addition, Playworks provides training and consultation for schools who wish to incorporate safe and inclusive play into their recess. For more information on how your school can partner with Playworks, contact Allie Teller, Playworks Program Director,ateller@playworks.org801-710-4936

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