Murrieta School Honored – December 1999

James Nash
The Press-Enterprise – 12/99

Since 1995, the Peaceful Playgrounds program won the School Safety Award for preventing broken limbs, bloody noses and other playground injuries at E. Hale Curran Elementary School.

This week, the program will bring the Murrieta school a statewide school safety award from the California School Boards Association.

Peaceful Playgrounds encompasses measures that have reduced playground injuries at E. Hale Curran by two-thirds, said Melinda Bossenmeyer, who implemented the program in 1995 as school principal.

As part of the safety push, school administrators installed softer padding under playground equipment. Playground supervisors taught children how to resolve potential conflicts without fighting.

“We were teaching problem solving skills so that they could resolve their problems without going to the playground supervisor,” said Bossenmeyer, who now works as a teacher trainer in northern San Diego County. “That frees supervisors to supervise the playground and keep all the kids safe.”

About 85 percent of serious injuries at school occur on the playground, said Bossenmeyer, citing studies she reviewed when she established the program in Murrieta.

Curran Elementary’s Peaceful Playgrounds School Safety program will be honored Saturday at the California School Boards Association annual conference in San Francisco. The association, which represents about 1,000 school districts and county offices of education, will present Murrieta school administrators with a Golden Bell Award recognizing the program.

The school boards association has given Golden Bell Awards for 20 years in areas such as curriculum, professional development, technology and safety. E. Hale Curran Elementary’s award is for safety.

In addition to enhancing school safety, the Peaceful Playgrounds program keeps students engaged in mentally stimulating games, said Curran Principal David Koltovich.

This program has had a very positive impact on the campus,” he said.