Yakima Elementary School Plans Cutting Lunch to Raise Test Score - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Elementary School Plans Cutting Lunch to Raise Test Scores

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Some schools in the Yakima Valley have struggled to keep their test scores up. Now they're looking for new ways to get students one on one time with teachers and one possible idea is to cut recess time. Some schools in the Yakima Valley have struggled to keep their test scores up. Now they're looking for new ways to get students one on one time with teachers and one possible idea is to cut recess time.
YAKIMA, WA - Some schools in the Yakima Valley have struggled to keep their test scores up. Now they're looking for new ways to get students one on one time with teachers and one possible idea is to cut recess time. 

Administrators at Roosevelt Elementary School are planning to cut their lunch break in half to help raise test scores. But the question is, will it work? 

The State of Washington is telling Yakima Valley school administrators that something has to change. 

"Our scores have been dropping down so we are a priority school and we need to get that time back," Roosevelt Principal Dan Williams said.

Roosevelt plans to get extra time with teachers, by taking away time from lunch. Instead of having a full hour, administrators have proposed a school day with only a half hour for students to eat lunch. The principal says an hour-long lunch break has been causing issues in recent years.

"They get bored after 30 minutes and then fights occur and then we're dealing with discipline problems," Principal Williams said. "If you ask our kids, they'd say it's too long, we'd rather be in the class."

Not everyone thinks the change is a good idea, especially in a city that was recently listed as the fourth most obese area in the country. Kate Sansom runs ACT, the after school exercise program for overweight students. She says less recess time could have a host of unintended consequences

"There could be some self esteem issues around the weight," Sansom said. "Depression, anxiety.

Principal Williams claims even with less recess time, students will get the same amount of exercise. Before, students would've been pulled from their PE class to do extra work. Now, with an extra half hour for the teachers, every student can stay in PE for the full time allowed. 

"I would treat all the students here like they're my own kids," Williams said. "I don't want my own kids to have an hour of unstructured time. You know they go to school for a reason."

Principal Williams says he will encourage teachers to initiate more active participation in class for some extra exercise as well. Such as standing up when a student has a question. 

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