Is this true at your school?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by readingrules12, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Hi,

    Help! The students at school are not getting much to eat at lunch. I teach 5th grade and the students get 1/2 a chicken patty and a bit of canned corn and a bit of canned fruit. If we have "pizza", it is half a slice. Even if they eat all of it, this is not enough for children who are over 5 feet tall and are very active. Yes, I do allow them to have snack, and yes, they do get a small breakfast before 8am, but that and the mini-lunch still leaves many hungry. Over 40% of our students are on free and reduced lunch.

    This is what I am told:

    We get our hot lunches from the public school system. As we have free and reduced lunch, we must follow the same federal guidelines as all public schools. The federal guidelines forbid giving any more food than this tiny amount. I find this hard to believe as this is only half the amount they got 2 years ago. If this is true, than I guess it is true at all the schools throughout the US. Is this true at your school?
     
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  3. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    We talked about this last year. I don't know why it's like that at my school, maybe the same as your school's reason, but IDK for sure. What really irked us is that PreK and K got the same amount as our 5th and 6th graders! No wonder a ton of kids bring their lunch.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Is it possible that your school is purchasing fewer hot lunches from the public school system and spreading out the food among more students by making portion sizes smaller?
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Half a chicken patty? Like, you can literally see one has been halved? I have never, ever heard of such!
     
  6. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    We have at least 64% F/R population and all of our kiddos from PK to 12th get a full chicken patty. It's never halved, neither is the pizza. I am in the cafeteria daily on duty so I see just what they get.

    Yesterday's: chicken pot pie OR baked steak (full piece or 1 biscuit/gravy), mashed potatoes, pinto beans, orange juice, and milk.

    Sounds like Caesar might be on to something.
     
  7. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I agree - they are skimping on the kids' portions. I've only ever worked in the public schools, and the kids were NEVER given half of an entree.
     
  8. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    We have 99.7% FR lunch, and, although the Pre-K kids get the same amount as 5th graders (and adults, for that matter), the portions are not halved!
     
  9. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I agree with Caesar. That does not happen to my school. My kids get a whole entree/sandwich, milk, a fruit or juice, and a side of some sort. They don't have to take it all if they don't want it, but it's offered.
     
  10. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    No, the kids get a full chicken patty or pizza slice. They are really strict about how many sides they have, but that is all.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    The kids don't get much food, but they don't eat it all anyway. They only have 15 minutes which I think is completely crazy. They throw most of it away. We are 100% free and reduced lunch.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I should add that if your school is somehow misappropriating federal funds for school lunch, that's obviously a big problem. Your school could face some very severe consequences for that sort of behavior.
     
  13. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I was going to say the same thing. I think this is a health issue, I would snap a photo of the lunch one day and pass it on to the local newspaper with your concerns if you feel there is something going on here after taking your concerns to someone in charge. You can remain anonymous. I know everyone always hates the idea of exposing things like this but I consider the health of students to be more important.
     
  14. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    Our school is just under 90% FR population. Students get a full lunch which is the same for K-5. I'll admit that some days it doesn't seem like much but I think part of that has to do with presentation.

    We also have a fruit and veggie bar each day that students can take items from. That is unlimited but we try to make sure that students eat everything they pick from it. It's a good option for students who may have to take the school lunch but don't like one of the items on their tray.
     
  15. MrsLilHen

    MrsLilHen Comrade

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    That sounds wrong to me. Our school makes kids take lots of food... Some regulation that the need the main dish, 3 sides and a milk. We sometimes complain about how much food is wasted by forcing the kids to take food they don't want, but apparently they have to.
     
  16. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Are you at a charter? I'm at a charter, too, and our kids definitely get a whole entree! I've never heard of something like cutting it in half! We are nearly all free/reduced lunch.
     
  17. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I am actually at an accredited private school. Since we are an accredited school and receive funds for free and reduced lunch, this requires us to follow the same guidelines as the public schools.
     
  18. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I would not go this direction, even if you have talked to someone with your concens! Have parents called in to complain that their child is ravenous when they come home at the end of the day? Have you spoken to the staff serving the meals? What did they say?
     
  19. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    That's really sad. My daughter is in fifth grade and she eats way more than I do. That amount does not sound nearly as much food as they should be getting. That really breaks my heart for the kids at your school.
     
  20. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I've never heard my kids complain about not getting enough but sooo many of my free and reduced lunch kids refuse to eat the lunch because they don't like it. :( They either eat nothing, or packages of pringles, donuts, and other crap. It's terrible. (Not that the food they're being served is much healthier anyway.)
     
  21. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Caesar, that is a good point, and that is something I hope to find out.

    Our P is new this year, and he is awesome. He inherited this situation, and I know he has commented that he has heard complaints about the low portion size. He allowed the teachers to share their opinions which were mostly in agreement that the portions are too small. He likes to do his homework and gather his facts before making a decision. I think he is looking into the situation. I will make sure that I keep him updated with this, as I am concerned for the students.

    The "lunch ladies" are aware of the small portions, but their hands are tied. This isn't their decision, and they have to follow orders.

    I am very pleased and grateful for all the teacher feedback, and I am hoping even more teachers will respond in the days to come. Thank you so much.
     
  22. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I see this, too. They don't like the food, but they are free/reduced so they can't get anything else....so they just go without. It's really sad.

    During state testing last year, each student (whether they received free meals or not) got a breakfast for each morning of the test. It was my first year in the district, so I wasn't used to what they got for breakfast. I was handing out the bags of food, and someone asked me, "What is it?". I told them I didn't look in the bags. Just then, someone chimed in with "It's a donut!". I rolled my eyes, thinking the student was being a jokester, and I said, "I HIGHLY doubt they'd give you a donut....". I mean, what kind of "healthy" breakfast is that?!?! Sure enough, there was a donut and a stick of string cheese in the bag. Another teacher told me the stick of string cheese was added a few years ago after she brought up that the breakfast was completely lacking in protein. Previously, it was just a big, sugary glazed donut :dizzy:
     
  23. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Someone at your school did not get the food memo!
    Maybe they screwed up the food order and never bothered to correct it. Y'all need to call someone OR get a petition going on and have the parents sign it and send it to the right people.
    Simply say...
    To Whom It May Concern,
    Our children are still hungry after eating the 1/2 sized lunch that they are served daily. They can't function right without the needed nutrition. Please take a needed and necessary action to correct this matter right away. Your time and help is greatly appreciated.
    Sincerely,
    The parents of our future team players and leaders.
     
  24. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I have noticed some changes with somethings, but the kids always get a full entree. I think the 'scoopable' entrees are smaller (spaghetti, mac & cheese, chicken pot pie, etc...).
    However, some changes are a half slice of cheese on a hamburger (it went from 2 to 1 to 1/2 over the years). No cheese with their pasta.
     
  25. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    We don't cook food in my lunchroom...everything is contacted out through the PTO to local restaurants. There have been several threads lately about school lunches that just make me sad:(
     
  26. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I don't know about your situation, but I know my boys complained bitterly about the quantity of the food when they were in 5-8 grade. It just wasn't enough for growing boys and they started bringing food even though they wanted to buy. Hungry boys are not well behaved or learning boys because their blood sugar is low and they get grumpy and crazy. Two of mine in particular were incapable of thinking when hungry and they turned from sweet kids into grumpy bears.
     
  27. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    About 80% of our kids have free and reduced meals and they NEVER get such teeny portions. On Friday they had hamburgers, french fries, a fruit cup, milk and the option to buy a small bag of chips and/or a small italian ice. We also have free breakfast for everyone.

    I agree with the person that said they are purchasing less food. I'd send an annoymous email to the union or maybe if the kids complain they are hungry, tell them to let their parents know about the portions and let the parents fight that battle so you don't put yourself in an awkward positon
     
  28. MsDeb

    MsDeb Comrade

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    The portion sizes at my school have gone down too. We were told that the new federal guidelines are the reason. I believe that they said the protein serving could be no more than 1 oz? It sounded crazy too me. The cafeteria has posted the new guidelines - I need to go give it a look.
     
  29. bros

    bros Phenom

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    hm let me check the F&R rate in my district.

    There are 25 students who are "economically disadvantaged" with a district population of 3300.

    All of the students get a full chicken patty (on a whole wheat bun) with sides and a milk

    That sounds nice.

    In my district (in central NJ) they prefer getting around $70,000 a year in profit from partnering with a food service company (I believe they are currently partnered with Chartwells, I prefer Sodexo, they provide food to a lot of hospitals in NJ, rather good food too) to giving the students delicious food (like how your school does from local restaurants)
     
  30. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    In in my state in Australia all students have to bring their own lunch (private or public school). No food is provided in a cafeteria and no free lunches. A tuckshop operates in some schools (usually manned by volunteers), some are there to provide a service and some make a profit.
     
  31. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I go around to many schools and I have not seen anything like this. A half patty? That makes no sense at all. I'm pretty sure a half slice of pizza would cause a riot! I'm glad your P is looking into it.
     
  32. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This is how it is here as well. In elementary schools, students bring their own lunches or go home for lunch. We do run a couple of lunch programs where parents can preorder lunches that are brought in (pizza, subs, etc). The high schools do have cafeterias. Students may purchase their choices without any guidelines or restrictions--I think I had fries and gravy for lunch every day for a year--but many bring their own lunches or leave the building to go to a local fast food restaurant.
     
  33. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    1/2 of a chicken patty or pizza? That's crazy. These are growing children. I can see the littlest kids not finishing a whole patty, but 5th graders? WOW.

    (Obviously, kids at my school get an entire patty. My only beef with the lunch system is that teachers pay more than twice the price for the same amount of food the kids get.)
     
  34. Rebecca1122

    Rebecca1122 Comrade

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    I wonder if someone, whoever is in charge of designing meals for the kids, is misinterpreting the new Choose my Plate directives? Our cafeteria manager explained that you have to be under a certain number of calories per week and per day and you have to have everything balanced just so (ie grains shouldn't be way out of proportion to everything else in the lunch). Maybe instead of finding healthier choices or re-planning meals to meet the new requirements, someone is just chopping portion size to get the required caloric count? Just a thought...

    My school (private accredited school as well) is now following these guidelines and the only thing I am aware of that got reduced is going from 2 Bosco sticks to 1, in terms of portion size. The kids do have the chance for 2nds though.
     
  35. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    This is what I was going to say. I'd snap a few day's worth of photos and the local news will be all over it. I have never seen what you are describing at any school.
     
  36. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I wonder if your whole district is like that, or just the school. Most districts have someone in charge who might be able to explain the mystery.

    Conspiracy theory - the head of the cafeteria is skimming food or money to make a personal profit. I have heard of this happening before.
     
  37. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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  38. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    That bothered me, too. But they explained that the children's lunches are the only ones federally subsidized. Even those students who pay "full price" are getting a subsidy from the actual cost. Adults are charged the full cost of the meal. The cafeteria is required to break even at the end of the school year and can't deviate from the policy.
     
  39. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Hmm.. I have worked public and private schools, and I have never paid more than the students for my lunch. The public schools the cost was the same, and the private school is actually a bit less. The school at one time gave teacher's free lunches, but they lost $$ on that. Now teachers pay $2 and the children $2.75. The school picks up the cost of the other 75 cents. With such a small number of teachers, and few eating the cafeteria food, it is not much of a cost.
     
  40. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    This is what I was going to say. I'd snap a few day's worth of photos and the local news will be all over it. I have never seen what you are describing at any school.

    As far as being sneaky and taking pictures, I see your point, but I won't be doing that. It isn't my style. We are a private school, and if we get bad press, we can lose students and that means layoffs of PE teachers, music teachers etc, which would mean the children would not get these great classes. Also, I feel I have to give my principal a chance--he really is great, and I believe he does care. Working with him is my best chance to get things improved with the food situation.

    We don't have a "district" as we are a private school. Whatever is happening is a local problem, which should make it easier to fix.
     
  41. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Sep 4, 2012

    A quick update. Today, I was back at school, and it looks like some progress has been made. I am in a K-8 school. The 6-8 lunches appear to be fine with full portions. Today, the lunch lady told me that 4th and 5th graders will be getting full portions from now on. This is progress. True, there is still K-3 which needs to be improved. That will be the next task.
     

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