You gotta keep ’em separated. -The Offspring
I received the following email today. This concerns the “solution” that Providence Creek Academy, a charter school in Clayton, DE, implemented when students weren’t getting along. Yes, let’s punish whole grades of classes because of the actions of a few. That is always a smart thing to do! Especially on the playground. Weird. Just weird…
From: Messick Joan
Sent: Tuesday, September 6, 2016 1:15 PM
Subject: Lunch/Recess – Seventh and Eight Grade Students
Good Morning Upper School Team
First, I apologize for not getting this out sooner.
On Thursday, there were several students reporting issues between the seventh and eighth grade students. The issues, in my opinion, seem to be brought on by some students intentionally starting arguments between other student and there seem to be issues about who should be where during recess time. Since seventh and eighth grade students must follow a similar schedule, there isn’t much we can do to separate them during lunch and recess. This morning I went to all special classes and stem so that I could have the opportunity to talk to all students. The conversation was pretty one sided and I asked them to listen. I did ask that if they had any questions, comments, suggestions, complaints or just want to share, they should write it down and ask that a staff member put it in my mail box.
Side bar, we did have students, a parent, staff members concerned that if we don’t try and do something to be proactive the issues would escalate and change the climate in the upper school for the worse. At this point it is fair to say that the issues are disrupting recess/lunch, disrupting the educational environment AND students are using social media to make comments that could be considered threatening in nature and there are implications that they might harm another student at school. We are going to try some things to see if we can calm the issues.
Starting today, we painted a line on the upper school playground. Please have the seventh grade on one side of the line and eighth grade on the other side of the line. We put a path on one side so that when those students are entering the building they don’t have to cross path with the other grade level. I would have one grade level go in and wait two minutes and have the other grade level go in allowing enough time for the first group to enter their classrooms. I am in the process in meeting with staff to keep them informed about what is happening and I would appreciate your feedback and suggestions since we will probably meet to discuss what is working, what is not and see if we need to make any additional changes. Recess is a privilege, not a right. Please reply to me, not “reply all”.
Seventh and Eighth Grade students can take turns using each side. I understand there is a upper school team meeting today after school, please decide as a team how you would like to rotate the grades by day or by week and please let me know. We think that day on day off would be better because some students might have basketball withdrawalJ. Honestly, I feel sad that we have to do this since SO MANY of our students love recess and are using that time to get some energy out and relax with friends….
Thank you for your consideration and help. Please keep me informed if there is anything you need and I would really appreciate it if you would send me an e-mail so that I have something that I can use as a resource with names, times and some basic information; And it will help to keep track in case I need to. I am required to report documented reports of bullying and your e-mails help me with that. More to follow….Take care.
Lastly, I have already gotten feedback from students and those that have responded think that this is a good solution.
While I salute Ms. Messick for attempting a solution, does she understand that sometimes kids will be kids? I understand schools sometimes have to think of creative solutions to problems, but what if some of these 7th and 8th graders actually enjoyed each other and had friendships? If some students are causing issues, deal with those students. With that being said, I do think it’s great 7th and 8th graders get to enjoy recess. This email is over a year old so hopefully it all got straightened out. Any PCA associated people know if this playground line is still in existence?
In other PCA news, many have reached out to me privately to find out how the We’re Worried group is doing. I have not heard a peep since their Labor Day email when they announced their intent to join DSEA (the state teacher association). All in good time!