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Adams 14 keeps recess recommendations private ahead of board meeting

The Adams 14 school district won’t release a set of recommendations on elementary school recess in advance of a school board meeting Tuesday night at which the recommendations will be presented.

District officials said via email last week that the recommendations were finalized on April 26, but declined Chalkbeat’s public records request for them, citing a provision of the Colorado Open Records Act that allows “work product” not to be released.

Last Friday, district spokeswoman Janelle Asmus said once the recommendations were distributed to board members as part of their meeting packets Monday, they would no longer qualify as work product and would become publicly available.

On Monday, she said the committee that drafted the recommendations had decided not to include them in the board packets as she’d expected.

She said Chalkbeat’s request for the recommendations was not the reason.

“They did not feel they had everything complete in order to submit a perfect document,” she said.

Recess has been a hot-button issue in Adams 14 this year, and the content of the recommendations will likely be of interest to many community members.

Last fall, district officials heard a flurry of complaints about recess cuts that left many kids with just 10 to 15 minutes of recess a day — less if they took extra time to eat lunch. Parents and teachers, some nearly in tears as they spoke at board meetings, said the lack of outside playtime was stressful and unhealthy for students and led to more behavior problems in the classroom.

Leaders in the struggling suburban Denver district, which is on a state-mandated improvement plan, instituted the cuts in a bid to devote more time to instruction.

In response to the community’s concerns, the district created the Recess Advisory Committee last winter to study the issue. The committee includes two elementary teachers, three parents, a central district staff member, and a grandparent.

Asmus said the recommendations will be released to board members and the public during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

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