Principal: North Street staff believes in physical activity

To the Editor:

If “Why” is the question, here is your answer.

This is a response to Chuck Agonito’s Nov. 14 column about one of our North Street School students.

The late author Stephen Covey said that we should seek first to understand as a part of the fifth habit outlined in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” As the principal of North Street School, I would like to offer a response to Mr. Agonito’s suggestion that physical activity is not valued in our school.

Our North Street School administration was thrilled to work with our student Marco and his family to help make his vision of supplying new recess equipment to every class a reality. As we know, Marco was successful in receiving a grant from the Wyckoff Family Foundation (note the grant did not come from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, as Mr. Agonito incorrectly writes), and many students have benefited from his actions. That said, it would be a gross mischaracterization to call recess time non-productive prior to this generous donation.

Our staff believes that physical activity benefits learning and the well-being of our students. Here are just a few examples that support this:

• At the start of 2018–19, we opened a brand-new playground. Recess is a required part of the scheduled day. Teachers are encouraged to work more than one recess opportunity into their schedule.

• In the spring of 2019, a before-school intramural program was developed by our physical education teachers. The current six-week session has 120 students in it.

• Each classroom has resources to incorporate brain breaks and energizers throughout the school day. Many use digital resources such as Go Noodle to help facilitate this classroom movement time.

These are just a few examples, but there are many others — Running Club, Girls on the Run, an after-school dance group, etc.

We look forward to continuing to help all students learn both in and out of the classroom. We will also continue to encourage our students to think big and to make the world a better place.

ERIC VAILLANCOURT

Principal, North Street School

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