Dear Mt. Bethel Families,
We are thrilled to announce Mt. Bethel Elementary School Foundation is funding a new synthetic turf field to replace the “dirt field” located behind the kindergarten hallway and Annex. The Foundation’s mission is to ENRICH. EMPOWER. EXCEL. and to enhance every student’s education at Mt. Bethel beyond what Cobb County funding provides. How will this major enhancement to our field help us achieve our mission?
ENRICH: The turf field will provide both a safe and fun environment for the kids to use during recess and PE.
EMPOWER: There are many new units and games we will be able to incorporate into our PE program due to the amount of space we will acquire. Brain Breaks/movement breaks can take place immediately following a rain storm, and classroom teachers will have more freedom to utilize the space without the worry of tracking in dirt or mud to the classroom environment.
EXCEL: There is compelling research supporting a strong correlation between physical activity and academic performance. SPARK! morning runs with the PE Department along with teacher access to a much larger and safer space will help our students excel physically and academically.
According to Active Living Research,
o “Physical activity can have both immediate and long-term benefits on academic performance. Almost immediately after engaging in physical activity, children are better able to concentrate on classroom tasks, which can enhance learning. Over time, as children engage in developmentally appropriate physical activity, their improved physical fitness can have additional positive effects on academic performance in mathematics, reading, and writing.”
Per the CDC Physical Activity recommendation:
o Students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g., memory), and classroom behaviors (e.g., on-task behavior).14,15
o Higher physical activity and physical fitness levels are associated with improved cognitive performance (e.g., concentration, memory) among students.14, 15
Per Time Magazine article:
o A 2009 study found that 8- and 9-year-old children who had at least one daily recess period of more than 15 minutes had better classroom behavior.
Why Synthetic Turf?
Today’s synthetic turf is designed to simulate the experience of practicing and playing on the best natural grass.
At Mt. Bethel, our field is unable to be used after rain or lengthy periods of drought. It is uneven, muddy or dusty, and skinned knees or dirty shoes tracking into the building cause constant concern to the health and safety of our students and campus.
Natural grass simply cannot remain lush and resilient if used more than three to four days a week, in snow or drought, or during months when grass doesn’t grow. This, coupled with an escalating need for durable fields that accommodate multiple teams and activities, the high cost of maintaining a grass sports field or landscape, and the need to conserve water, have prompted our desire to replace the current field with a quality product.
Additional benefits include:
Hundreds of studies have shown that the risk of injury is no different on high quality synthetic turf than natural grass. FIFA Quality Turf, in particular, has been extensively benchmarked and tested against natural grass for player safety and performance measures.
How can you find out more about this project?
Please visit the Foundation Blog at www.mbesf.org for posts from some of our MBES teachers about how this turf field will positively impact their classes!
Is there an opportunity to celebrate this accomplishment?
Mark your calendar for a tentative ribbon cutting ceremony for our new turf field on Friday, March 2nd! More details to come!
Thank you for enriching the lives and education of all our children by supporting your Mt. Bethel Foundation! YOUR donations MAKE a DIFFERENCE!
Have additional questions? Please read below for Q&A!
Q: Which grade levels will benefit?
EVERY STUDENT at Mt. Bethel EVERY DAY!
Q: Why do we need a new turf field?
The current field has never been able to grow grass due to its constant use by our students. This means that on sunny days our students come back into school covered in dust and dirt and on rainy days the muddy field is unusable for PE or recess. In addition, we’ve had a few students fall and injure themselves due to the condition of the current field. At Mt. Bethel, we want to ensure that safe physical activity is an integral part of every school day.
Finally, our gym does not provide adequate space, so the PE teachers need to utilize outdoor spaces as well. While our teachers do a wonderful job of creatively using the outdoor space available, this new field will unlock a whole new world for our students!
Q: When will the field be ready for use by our students?
ASAP! Hopefully it will be ready for use in early March. We have planned a ribbon cutting and hope you join us on Friday, March 2nd! Please stay tuned for more details!
Q: What do our teachers have to say about this project?
“Research shows that students who participate in physical activity have improved attention, memory, and appropriate learning behaviors,” said Sharon Kenney, MBES 4th grade teacher.
“The fresh air and freedom to run and play helps the students to be focused and ready to learn as soon as they come back in. Especially in the younger grades frequent movement and active breaks are shown to help students increase their focus, attention, ability to listen, and overall success in the classroom,” said Heather Mullins, MBES 1st grade teacher.
Q: How will the turf impact PE?
We are so grateful and excited that Mt. Bethel will have a turf field for the entire school to be able to use! This project will immediately impact all students at Mt. Bethel both today, and for years to come. The turf field will provide both a safe and fun environment for the kids to use during recess and PE. There are many new units and games we will now be able to incorporate into our PE program due to the amount of space we will acquire. We believe that we have a special group of students at Mt. Bethel, and are excited to be able to give them the physical education they deserve and want! A big THANK YOU goes out to all the parents, teachers, administrators, and our Mt. Bethel community for making this happen for our kids. We look forward to continuing to provide a safe and fun environment in which our children can grow and flourish both on and off the field!
You PE Team,
Coach Jones, Coach Smith, and Coach Dietrich
Q: Besides the student benefits, how else can the turf field help our school?
In addition to all the student benefits, due to lack of practice space for local sports teams in East Cobb, the field can potentially be rented to local teams and create a new source of revenue for the Foundation. Money raised from renting the fields would be partially used to cover any future field maintenance costs.
Q: Why can’t we install natural grass?
The predominant reasons are cost and availability for use. See chart below for additional benefits of turf versus natural grass.
Q: What type of maintenance is required?
The field will need to be brushed every year. In addition, the turf will need to be replaced every 10-12 years depending on use. As mentioned, our goal is to rent the field to local sports teams and use those moneys to pay for any future field maintenance required.
Q: How will the field installation be funded & how did the Foundation acquire these additional dollars?
Unlike our yearly expenses (i.e. teacher salaries, STEM & Computer Lab expenses, etc.), the funding for the turf installation is a one-time capital expense which the Foundation was able to pull from accumulated reserves. These Foundation reserves have been saved via additional moneys from the increased success in the annual Patron Drive campaigns, FACT Club donations, Kindergarten and STEM camp revenue as well as corporate donations.
Q: Replacement of the Annex building was approved in SPLOST IV. What happens to the field when the Annex is replaced?
The turf field will not be impacted when the Annex is replaced. Currently, SPLOST funds are not coming in as anticipated, so our original Annex replacement date has been suspended until a later time. Administration has worked with District Personnel to ensure that the turf field will not be negatively impacted in the future when construction takes place. Funds for installing a turf field are not included in SPLOST V.
Q: What kind of turf field will be installed?
Play58 is the brand of synthetic turf that will be installed by Nationwide Turf. Our new turf field will have 100% sand infill, which is natural, non-toxic and safe. The sand infill settles deep into the mesh of the turf and provides firm support making the turf feel more like natural grass and soil and keeps the turf cooler and cleaner than products using rubber pellets.
Teasley Elementary installed the same product through the same company in November and are incredibly happy with the enhancement it has made to their campus!
Q: Is this the only grant funded by the Foundation this year?
Thanks to your support, a wide range of grants that further our mission of ENRICH.EMPOWER.EXCEL. have been approved this school year. Your donations have provided over $44,925.24 in grants that directly impact classroom instruction, STEM initiatives, and continued learning for teachers.
The following is a list of grants in addition to the turf field that we have provided thus far this academic year.