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Medway, MA: RECESS added to middle school schedule; way to reduce anxiety, stress in students

Sept 13, 2018, NBC Today Show: Massachusetts middle school brings back recess so even older kids can play Before he became superintendent of Medway Public Schools in Medway, Massachusetts, Dr. Armand Pires was a middle school principal. He's very familiar with the special challenges and needs of that age group, he told TODAY Parents — and he is proud that this year, Medway Middle School added recess into the school day schedule. … The decision to give Medway's middle school students a recess was years in the making. In 2015, Pires initiated a strategic planning process in the community to focus on what the schools were doing well and where they could improve. One issue that came up in that discussion concerned recess: In elementary school, parents felt Medway students didn't have enough recess time, and in middle school, they didn't have any at all. By February of 2016, Medway schools decided to give elementary students a longer recess, from 15 minutes per day to 25 — a fairly significant change, Pires noted. But the community discussion continued about what to do for middle school students. … The faculty and staff of Medway Middle School expect that the additional unstructured time will mean "an uptick in behaviors that don't conform to our core values or our beliefs for how students should interact with each other," but they are prepared, Pires said. "We are committed to managing those challenges effectively." … What he and the middle school officials hope recess will do is relieve some of the pressure, stress and anxiety they are seeing in their students, he said. "I think we have a mental health crisis among our adolescents right now, and we've done a lot of work in our district to add additional service providers and mental health clinicians to our framework," he noted. …

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