Improving math study, recess top goals at MES

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MES Principal Doug Kilmister, right. (Lebanon Voice file photo)

MILTON - Calling it a "great start," Milton Elementary School Principal Doug Kilmister along with teachers, ed techs and administrative staff began another school year at MES on Thursday with an eye toward improving math study and enriching recess experience for the 279 students enrolled in the K-5 school.

"Teachers will be focusing on engaging math teaching and developing a math curriculum," Kilmister said.

The other focus, recess, was given a big push after the school's PTA organized and funded a playground makeover. They removed an old basketball goal that was too close to the area where children swing, and paid for a 40' x 40' paved area in the rear of the playground.

Volunteers installed a heavy-duty adjustable backboard and goal. A volunteer with a backhoe removed some damaged or underutilized playground equipment, and this created more open spaces for organized play.

"It's was great seeing kids' excitement when they discovered our remodeled playground and the fancy new basketball court in the back," Kilmister said on Friday. "A big focus of the year is ensuring that recess is fun, safe, and enjoyable for all students and that all students are included in play."

To that end, school officials cntracted with a nonprofit organization called Playworks who trained recess staff on strategies to lead play and proactively manage student behavior on the playground during recess.

"Students can use the playground equipment and play on their own, but this year at each recess we are offering two opportunities for organized, inclusive play led by adults," Kilmister said. "This is very helpful for kids who may struggle socially and or need support."

Class sizes at the school are as follows: 2 kindergarten classrooms (42 children), 3 first-grade classrooms (46 children), 3 second grade classrooms (54 students), 2 third-grade classrooms (44 children), 2 fourth-grade classrooms (41 children) and 2 fifth- grade classrooms (38 students).

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