Sherry Waters, an instructional assistant at Scott Elementary in Salem, Oregon, is the true image of a recess rockstar. During the school day she works with students on reading, but at recess, she works tirelessly to unleash the power of play to all students in her school.
Sherry has witnessed the impact Playworks is making in her school. "Teachers have gained ten to fifteen minutes of instructional time a day because students are returning to class ready to learn," explains Sherry. "Students are learning to solve their problems on their own at the time before returning to class. Referrals to the office are now rare on the playground. There use to be three to five students a day placed on the wall or on the pole per recess for behavior. Putting a student on the wall no longer exists here at Scott."
This wouldn’t be possible without all of Sherry’s hard work and effort! When Scott Elementary first partnered with Playworks, they built capacity for positive play with Playworks' professional development service, Playworks Pro. Sherry worked incredibly hard to translate what she learned in those trainings to the playground every day.
Sherry builds up a safe and healthy recess environment by creating a number of well-established game zones and posting a recess map, clear rules, and signs indicating zones and games. Sherry has also been organizing a Junior Coach Leadership Program of more than 60 students.These students work on a six-week rotation so that students never miss the same instructional time.
In 2016, Sherry was awarded the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation 's prestigious Susan Gleason Award, for leveraging the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at recess every day. Now, Scott Elementary is collaborating with an on-site Playworks recess expert to teach, model, and empower a sustainable recess program through the Playworks TeamUp service. During our TeamUp consultant's first day at recess, she was astonished at all the work Sherry had accomplished.
Sherry makes it a priority to ensure that students are getting the most out of their academic experience as well as being a leader to their peers. When you visit her at recess you can find her playing games with students, supporting Junior Coaches to lead their own games, leading cheers, empowering students to solve conflicts, and doing her best to ensure that recess is safe and healthy for every student.
BIG whoosh clap to Sheri for all of your hard work!