Recess added to middle school schedule

Elliot Bramson, Reporter

After an unorthodox year and a half of school, CESJDS administrators have added two recesses and an academic flex block to the middle school schedule in order to make the transition back to a more rigorous in-person schedule easier.

Both recesses are twenty minutes and occur towards the beginning and end of the school day. The academic flex block is forty minutes long and in the afternoon. Students can either do school related work such as meeting with teachers or a physical activity. 

During online school, middle schoolers had time in between classes when they could run around and stretch. The new schedule helps mimic this routine. 

“I think it was a good decision because we had breaks last year in our COVID schedule, and it helps me pay more attention in class because I have more time to get my energy out,” seventh-grader Caleb Sheintal said. 

The middle school teachers and administrators found that giving the middle schoolers these breaks during COVID-19 benefited them socially, physically and mentally. Because of this, the middle schoolers were not stuck in their rooms for hours at a time and were able to go outside and play. 

To replace these breaks, the middle school administrators decided that giving the middle schoolers an academic flex block would be beneficial to them.

“The academic flex block is something that has been adopted by many middle and high schools over the last five or so years,” Assistant Middle School Principal Rabbi Janet Ozur Bass said. “It is exactly what it’s called, a flex block that is used for many different purposes, one of which we are using here in the middle school to give students more control over how they use their learning time.”

While most middle school students have no complaints, some high schoolers feel strongly about whether or not middle schoolers should have recess, including junior Sammy Schreiber.

“We as high schoolers have five to ten minutes in between classes and that’s enough for us to chill and talk to our friends,” Schreiber said. “Even at their age, you don’t need that much time because I see them in the halls running around and not being productive. They’re just playing outside, and it doesn’t seem necessary.”

On the other hand, some high school students are in agreement with these breaks and think that the high school should also adopt a schedule that includes more unstructured time. 

“I wish the high school had more breaks because by my third period I have trouble focusing and feel like I need a break in order to focus better,’’ freshman Allison Polin said. “And since high school lunch doesn’t start until 1 and I get to school at 7:30, I’m usually really hungry.”

Although the school year hasn’t been going on for long enough to see if this newly implemented schedule truly benefits the students, Ozur Bass is very optimistic about it.

“She [Middle School Principal Eliana Lipsky] has a great vision for making a middle school very much reflect what the needs of early adolescents are,” Ozur Bass said…“This is reflective of all the research that’s out there in terms of what their bodies need, brains need, [and] spirits need.”