Students debate for recess at Kittatinny HS
Debate project leads to measure
BY JESSICA LOPEZ
NEWTON — This past year at Kittatinny Regional High School, five classes of seventh graders debated two school officials to argue the points in favor of implementing recess.
English teacher Jessica Galipeau led the debate, which took place the end of Feburary, and ended with seventh graders winning over the five judges to implement recess during their lunch period.
Principal Christian Angelillo and Junior High Vice Principal Christopher Mello acted as opposing counsel to students.
The school has two vice principals, one for junior and one for senior high.
“The persuasive trial is a project I do every year with my seventh graders,” said Galipeau, adding that the topics change each year. “But I always make it relevant to students' lives.”
Galipeau explained that argumentative writing is part of seventh grade curriculum.
“I want my students to learn the appropriate skills associated with argumentative writing. I want them to see how mighty the pen can be in terms of making change,” she said.
Galipeau is with students in the lunchroom every day, and said the students really needed a place to get their energy out.
To prepare for the debate, seventh graders collected data from students and teachers, looked at the benefits of recess, and also reached out to other schools in the area to see if they had recess. They also addressed the negatives of recess through research.
The judges were an array of administrators including Dr. Janet Goodwin, English and social studies supervisor; Robert Black, junior high guidance counselor; Daniel Haug, mathematics and creative arts supervisor; Sharon Falchetta, director of special services; and Brian Bosworth, high school vice principal.
All five voted in favor of the students.
“After our success, we met with the administration to articulate specific concerns they still had regarding implementation. Two representatives from each class brought this information back to their respective classes, and we collaborated to address the administration's concerns,” Galipeau said.
During May and June, the students enjoyed the fruits of their success with a little more freedom during the second half of lunch, which would otherwise be a study period.
Each student must maintain good grades or their recess time is rescinded in favor of studying to improve their classwork.
Recess, particularly for Kittatinny's seventh graders, is a privilege, not a right.
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