North Rowan Middle School is proud to be implementing a “Recess Program” that promotes healthy living habits for students. The North Rowan Middle Lead Design Team members decided to work the recess program into their students’ everyday schedules.

The “Recess Program” has impacted the students in the most positive ways. It allows them a chance to learn social skills and to gain confidence among their school-aged peers. Additionally, the program promotes healthy living and encourages creativity. These skills are necessary not just for middle school, but for life.


The Recess Program at North Rowan Middle School allows students to gain exercise and promotes healthy living.


Students are receiving the opportunity to not only socialize with peers, but to gain extra exercise and freedom. Eighth grade student, Mikayla Ortiz says, “It gives me a chance to talk to my friends that I don’t normally talk with every day or I don’t have classes with.”

During this organized free time in recess, many students are demonstrating other talents such as improving their drawing, reading, and free writing skills. This type of behavior also promotes creativity, self- awareness, and confidence.

The teachers are also on board as it allows students time to release energy and have “brain breaks” for better learning. During recess, the students take time to unwind and exert extra energy that could possibly be a distraction in the classroom. “Recess allows our students to build social skills and teachs them how to interact with their peers,” explains Kimberly Martin, Assistant Principal at North Rowan Middle.

AIG Teacher Ms. Ritchie partnered with outside resources for funding to help assist with recess equipment while Principal Catherine Hampton partnered with Healthy Rowan, a coalition for a better and healthier Rowan County, to assist with the creation of our track.


Daily Mile – Just Walk It Out

While students enjoy recess, they will also participate in the Daily Mile. The Daily Mile is a global movement that Rowan-Salisbury School System uses to provide brief classroom physical activity breaks which are associated with improved cognitive performance, classroom behavior, and educational outcomes among students.

This awesome program encourages students to walk, run, or jog outside for fifteen minutes during every school day. The aim of the Daily Mile is to improve the physical, emotional, and social health and well-being of our children – regardless of age or personal circumstances. It also helps children to focus in the classroom and maintain concentration, therefore improving their potential to learn. It’s social, non-competitive, and fun!


North Rowan Middle School students participating in recess and the Daily Mile.


The proof is in the pudding! Youth ages 10-11 who participated in the Daily Mile for six years show the following results:

  • 92% made grade (25% higher than expected)
  • Math scores were in the 96% (expected to be 71%)
  • Writing scores 88% (expected to be 71%)

Fifteen of the nineteen Rowan-Salisbury elementary schools participate in the Daily Mile, though the hope is to have all elementary schools participating come January 2020.

As a result of the collaboration with Healthy Rowan, North Rowan Middle is the first middle school in Rowan County to participate in the Daily Mile. Under the leadership of Principal Hampton, North Rowan Middle is onboard to change the culture of physical activity by including this time in their daily schedule.

David Freeze, President of Salisbury Rowan Runners, has played an intricate part in the Daily Mile Program in Rowan County building a walking track at twelve elementary schools in the county. Mr. Freeze indicated that Granite Quarry, Shive, and Landis Elementary Schools were three of the first schools in the county to have their own walking track for the Daily Mile. “I love riding by the schools and seeing the students participating in the Daily Mile program,” says Mr. Freeze. He is very passionate about promoting physical movement so much so, that he has run over 86,000 miles in his life. Impressive, huh?!


Walking tracks were built at twelve Rowan County elementary schools for the Daily Mile program.


How the Daily Mile is Tackling Obesity Rates Among Students

As recorded in the 2018 Rowan County Community Health & Human Service Needs Assessment, “Based on the child population of Rowan County, it is estimated that Salisbury Pediatrics sees 36% of the total children in the county. Of these, 39.1% of children 0-18 years with a measured BMI seen at Salisbury Pediatrics are overweight (16.6%) or obese (22.5%). When compared to the state obesity prevalence published by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, 15.4% of NC high school students are obese. Salisbury Pediatrics data shows that 28.4% of high school age children are obese, nearly double the State estimate.” To view the entire assessment, click here.

The Daily Mile is critical to reducing childhood obesity while improving academics, physical activity, behavior, and decreasing absenteeism.

According to Executive Director of Healthy Rowan, Alyssa Smith, “North Rowan Middle is the first middle school to take on the Daily Mile – not just in our district, but in all of NC! We are excited for students, not only because of the potential outcome of academic improvement and better physical health, but also because the Daily Mile gives every student a chance to learn problem solving, to  build resiliency and self-efficacy, and to set goals outside of the classroom.”