Crestview works to ease lunch congestion

NEW WATERFORD — Crestview officials believe they may have solved a problem from earlier in the year which left elementary students without enough time to eat their lunches.

Board members learned this week the students in the lower class levels — kindergarten, first and second grade — were having difficulties getting through the line with enough time for the last children through the line to eat their lunches. So some changes were implemented after break.

First of all the students in the lower grade levels are being issued tickets which can be scanned. Students at that age were having problems quickly inputting a six-digit number, which was how the cafeteria was tracking who was eating and keeping the accounts straight. Now a quick scan and the students can continue moving through the line.

Principal Marian Dangerfield said a decision was also made to switch recess until after lunch instead of before, which some of the classes were doing. Although she noted there is a push for recess before lunch, it just did not seem to be working for Crestview Elementary.

The lunch period was also extended five minutes. Jackilyn Wilmes, food service director, said prior to the changes, often the last child through line was only having three minutes to eat their lunch before moving on.

Now, that is about 12 minutes and once the students have all gotten through line, there is more time for students who are still hungry to come back for ala carte items.

Additionally, the changes have made it so students are not drifting in from the cafeteria and missing classroom instruction because they did not have enough time to eat.

Board member Melissa Wellman said she is in the building often and found it heartbreaking to see children shoveling their food so quickly before.

Students are getting 25 minutes total for lunch and a 20-minute recess after lunch.

Discussions at the meeting turned toward the proposed building plans and it was noted plans being proposed include a much more open cafeteria, where students can go to stations to get their food instead of standing in one line. Superintendent Matthew Manley noted when the buildings were originally built that was the best. But the school district’s growth is a blessing and requires them to evolve as they plan for the future project.