Mattydale When it comes to playing, even pennies can make a difference.
That’s the idea behind the “Pennies for the Playground” campaign at Roxboro Road Elementary in Mattydale, which encourages students and families to donate change to the effort to build a new playground at the school. The campaign is one of several fundraising efforts to help construct a new play structure.
According to Lisa Courtright, third grade teacher at RRE, member of the RRE Parent-Teacher Group (PTG) and chairperson of the RRE Playground Committee, an upgraded playground is necessary for the safety of the children. The school was built in 1956, and the playground has had several upgrades since then. RRE underwent significant renovations in the early 2000s. When those were completed, the school was an entire wing larger, and the North Syracuse Central School District redistricted, giving RRE more than 200 more students.
“With this increase in our student population, our transient population, and our continually growing class sizes, the current playground is too small to accommodate the approximate 650-plus students we now have in our building,” Courtright said. “At the end of the day when many of our teachers choose to have their recess time, our playground is often overcrowded. Despite the supervision of our teachers around the playground area, the continued safety of our students has become a concern due to the limited space being used for this exercise and recreation area. Teachers often worry about having our younger kindergarten through second grade students with the older third and fourth grade students during this time period, and at times some even take their classes back inside because of the number of students on the playground.”
A separate playground structure, Courtright said, would help teachers and students.
“The construction of another separate playground structure away from the existing one would greatly assist the teachers in providing our students with a safer exercise and recreation area at RRE,” she said. “It would allow our grade levels to be separated more during this non-structured time, and it will allow students to have more appropriate social interactions with peers.”