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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Is there such a thing as a free lunch?

Let's talk about a few ridiculously nerdy things I do.

I follow a lot of child nutrition blog sites, twitter feeds and Facebook pages.  Basically, if something happens in the school nutrition business, I will hear about it one way or another.

So when some of my Facebook feeds started blowing up about this story I too wanted to weigh in.

Dear Mr. Canterbury,

Your proposal that students receiving free or reduced lunch "work" for their food by doing odd jobs such as cleaning tables and scrubbing toilets has to be one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever heard.

First, Mr. Canterbury let's address a few reasons why this simply won't work.  It is impossible to explain to a five year old kindergarten student that he must pick up the trash left after lunch to pay for his meal while other students are not expected to do the same.  Many children, especially those on an elementary level, are completely unaware that their lunch is subsidize.  Anonymity is one of the reason the program works so well.

Secondly, this anonymity becomes even more important to our older students.  How would you feel if it was basically announced to all the other West Virginia delegates that since you make the least amount of money, you'll be cleaning the toilets and eating for free.

High school is hard enough, let's not add this to the mix.

You are quoted as saying there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Really?  It's slightly hypocritical of you considering during your sessions, lunch is provided.  Perhaps there was a potluck that I was unaware of but I'm pretty sure all you had to do was show up and someone fed you.

Granted, you didn't pay for that lunch and someone else did, but what exactly did you do to "earn" it?

Absolutely nothing.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lessons from the Lunchlady: the milkman has to pee

It's always an adventure in the kitchen. This week I learned that coming back from a beach weekend is harder than you think.

Here's what I learned.

Computers are temperamental. We depend heavily on electronics. When the server goes down, things immediately become more complicated and I become grateful that I work at the smallest school in the district.

PSSA breakfast. For six days we provided breakfast for the entire third grade class during state testing. It wasn't all that more complicated as we served the regular breakfast kids the same thing as the PSSA kids but the delay between first breakfast and third grade breakfast really made getting lunch ready a little more difficult.

Switching lunch never goes as planned. No matter how simple or how complex the menu change someone will miss it and someone will cry.

Milkmen are an enigma to me. I remain amazed by the fact that the milkman was able to interject into the story he was telling me about an auto accident the fact that he had to pee at least 14 times. I do not want to know about the urinary issues of the milkman.

The overhood fire protection has been inspected and is working. It's always a relief and a terror to know that all systems are a a go should I ever need to pull that little plug and release my over hood fire protection. I'm not sure exactly what comes out of there and I hope I never have to find out.

What did you learn this week?
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I spent the weekend here

I made 25 new scrapbook pages. My face and stomach still hurt from laughing.

And I learned to embrace my curly hair.

How was your weekend?
Monday, April 8, 2013

Why my son (and daughters) will be taking the PSSA

I was going to let the viral opinion piece by Kathy M. Newman entitled I won't let my son take the PSSA slip away without nary a nod, but it kind of has me pissed.

My son, like Newman's, isn't a big reader. He doesn't read for pleasure. He reads because I require him to. While I realize that it is Newman's prerogative to opt out I think she fails to provide all the facts.

An opt out is recorded as a failure to the administering district. If less than 95 percent take the test, the district doesn't make adequate yearly progress (AYP) for participation.

It's ridiculous that religious reasons are cited for the opt out. My bible doesn't promise a stress free life. Newman calls her act a "civil disobedience". Fantastic. Here's hoping that Jacob doesn't grow up thinking that rules don't apply to him and that he never has to do anything he doesn't want to do.

Evaluations and assessments occur. They happen in school. They happen in the work place. They happen throughout our life. They are not new. Whether we agree with them or not we can't "opt out" without penalty.

We don't get to stay in the library and read for pleasure while the rest of our coworkers travel to Asia. We don't get to skip required paperwork at our job because we find it stressful and unneccary.

I think Newman's opt out sends the wrong message to her son. It says "You don't read well, we know you won't pass, so why not just skip it." At least that message is accurate, his opt out will be recorded as a failure.

Do I think a student's true knowledge is measured by a standardized test? Of course not. Do I think said tests should be tied to teacher evaluations? What does the art teacher have to do with a student's understand of math? The way things are currently, that's how the dominoes fall.

The system is flawed, but opting out will not make it better.

Contact your local legislator and complain.

Vote for public figures who have the power to change these things.

Or you can just "opt out" on real change and sit in the library reading for pleasure.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lessons from the Lunchlady: is a noodle a vegetable?

We had a short week last week mostly because Pennsylvania weather is completely unpredictable.

Who has a snow day at the end of March?

With no school on Monday and holiday break to begin on Friday, the three days in the middle went pretty fast.

Here's what I learned.

Sometimes you can make a "willy bad choice". After two kindergarteners were sent to the office for making less than appropriate choices one said to the other "If we ever get out of here, I promise I will never do that again."

The mile high club. We overheard one 3rd grader asking another 3rd grader if he was a member of the mile high club in some video game they were both playing. Here's hoping that his mile high club is different than this version.

Is a noodle a vegetable? As most of you know, a qualifying lunch must include a vegetable or a fruit. This week I was asking the students, who were passing on the broccoli but taking the Alfredo noodles, if noodles were a vegetable. It saddens me that many of them thought they were.

What did you learn this week?

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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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