Monday, May 16, 2011

Follow the approved Wellness Policy, says PPSD parent Nina Ciniglio

Today, I'm delighted to share a guest post from Nina Ciniglio, a parent of a son at Nathan Bishop Middle School and current president of Bishop's PTO. Nina contacted me in response to the East Side Monthly piece I wrote earlier this year about the benefits of recess; you can read a version of it here.

The words that follow are Nina's.
I just read your piece about recess in East Side Monthly. I agree totally with everything, and in fact had tried on many levels to get recess reinstated in its full capacity (at least 10 minutes, non punitive) at my son’s elementary school, Robert F. Kennedy.

After a lot of effort that went nowhere, we thought the answer was upon us. The school board was finally going to bring to the table a new Wellness Policy that was required by NCLB. The Wellness Policy states, "The Board believes all students and staff should have the opportunity for daily physical activity. Schools will be encouraged to create an environment that supports physical activities. Daily physical activity must never be withheld as a disciplinary strategy."

We thought the problem was solved because supposedly the schools were going to be instructed to follow this, but I don’t think it went any further than the school board room! This policy was approved in March 2009, I don’t know why it says 2007. [You can view and dowload the entire PPSD Wellness Policy here.]

My son, who is now at Nathan Bishop, was so passionate about this issue that we drew up a petition and he collected signatures at and around school. He then wrote up a one page intro voicing his concerns and seeking approval of this Wellness Policy and presented it and the petition to the school Board in March 2009 at the school board meeting that was (supposed) to be the one which they were voting on the policy. Quite a courageous feat for a 10 year old!

I also just noticed that there was a Wellness committee put in place in August 2010. Maybe this is an issue we could tackle as parents, and see what the status of the policy is and why is it not being followed.

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