Recess partnership now encompasses one-third of all Rhode Island public elementary schools


PROVIDENCE, RI – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), Playworks New England and the Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition (RIHSC) have selected 19 Rhode Island elementary schools to add to their roster of schools participating in the statewide #RecessRocksinRI initiative. Now, cities and towns from across the state are part of #RecessRocksinRI, which promotes safe, fun and healthy play at school.

“BCBSRI is proud to say that - with the addition of this newest group of schools - #RecessRocksinRI has now reached about one-third of all Rhode Island public elementary schools,” said Carolyn Belisle, managing director of community relations at BCBSRI. “The continued expansion of #RecessRocksinRI encourages more students to develop long-term wellness habits for staying active, healthy, and inclusive, contributing to a healthier Rhode Island for years to come.”

The 19 Rhode Island elementary schools were selected as part of an application process coordinated through RIHSC. Each school will receive recess implementation training, which is a specialized professional development program designed to help schools create a high-functioning recess and increase daily physical activity. The participating schools are:

•Hampden Meadows Elementary School
•Nayatt Elementary School
•Sowams Elementary School
•Richmond Elementary School
•Hopkins Hill Elementary School*
•Stadium Elementary School*
•Stone Hill Elementary School
Exeter/West Greenwich
•Wawaloam Elementary School
•Agnes Little Elementary School *
South Kingstown
•Matunuck Elementary School
•Peace Dale Elementary School
•Fort Barton Elementary School
•Warwick Neck Elementary School
•Bernon Heights Elementary School *
•Harris Elementary School *
•Citizens Elementary School *
•Pothier Elementary School *
•Coleman Elementary School *
•Savoie Elementary School *
*indicates a Title I school (high percentage of low income families)

As part of this year’s grant, elementary schools who joined #RecessRocksinRI in 2017, also received a specialized workshop on implementing indoor recess during inclement weather months, as well as trainings on recess preparation and management, with an emphasis on inclusion and support through consultations and professional development to build on their initial success.

“Playworks New England is proud to partner with BCBSRI and RIHSC to implement this project,” said Jonathan Gay, executive director of Playworks New England. “As a team, we want to ensure that students are given the opportunity to remain physically active during the school day. The best way to do this every day for every student is through recess.”

The #RecessRocksinRI initiative has now reached 55 schools across the state, serving 21,502 students. This latest expansion of #RecessRocksinRI, made possible through a $125,000 grant from BCBSRI, furthers the partnership’s efforts to change school culture and improve the health of children by leveraging safe, fun and healthy play at school every day. Staff members at participating schools are provided with resources to offer a variety of different activities at recess for students. These activities include, but are not limited to, tag, soccer, dodgeball, basketball, football, dance zones and running clubs.

The benefits of #RecessRocksinRI may seem obvious, but they are also tangible. A survey of school staff found improvements in the overall school climate and increased:
• Student participation in academic activities
• Cooperation among students during class
• Number of students engaged in physically active play at recess
• Student use of conflict resolution strategies

The survey also found a decrease in bullying incidents, playground conflicts, classroom disruptions and disciplinary incidents.

BCBSRI’s expansion of #RecessRocksinRI continues to reinforce the company’s ongoing efforts to combat the issue of childhood obesity, and BCBSRI’s commitment to achieving its vision of “healthy weight for the next generation.” Since 2014, BCBSRI has focused the majority of its philanthropy on wellness initiatives in local communities, with a focus on healthy eating and physical activity for children and families.

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