To help our new elementary school receive playground equipment.
Charter Oak Elementary School is a newly built elementary school in rural Logan County within the Guthrie Public School District, which is a low income district with a 67% free and reduced lunch rate. The school is located in a very rural area that is 20 minutes from the nearest park. There are no sidewalks around the school because of the county roads.
This is the first new school built since 1987. The district has seen a 10% growth within the last 5 years. Charter Oak Elementary School was built through a school bond which was the first school bond passed in 12 years. One important item that was cut from the Charter Oak budget was a playground. State funds have slowly been decreasing over the years and without the assistance of school bonds, Guthrie Public Schools District as a whole has been neglected. Because of the neglect, more money from the bond had to be devoted to the other schools for basic necessities.
By definition, Charter Oak Elementary would be located in a play desert. There is a severe lack of physical activity opportunities in an area that has a high density of children. This is not only a need for the school, but for the surrounding neighborhoods as well. The nearest housing additions do not have neighborhood playgrounds, which mean the nearest playground is 12.7 miles away from the school. There is one church within 5 miles that has one swing set. Playgrounds optimize learning during and after school hours and should be viewed as a community resource just like schools, museums, libraries and public safety. School playgrounds have a significant impact on every development aspect of children's lives.
The district is transitioning into neighborhood elementary schools and getting away from grade level elementary schools. Not only is this a change for the district, but this is bringing an opportunity to create a better environment through play.
With a 67% free and reduced rate, more often than not the last experience a parent had with a school was a negative one and we are working to change that through what kids need: play. There is no way to measure the impact of a playground to a child. There is nothing quantitative to show. But we hope that by this playground, we can create an opportunity for a dad and a daughter to play on a Sunday morning. We are striving to create a time for family, not just a time for recess. Playgrounds are now built to withstand years of play especially since most companies offer lifetime warranties. This playground would not only have an impact on the current children attending, but will have an impact on their children as well.