I've been spending alot of time in the lunch room this past month, trying to "sort out" the new sorting line for the commercial composting. Mostly it is working fine, with Reynaldo, the custodian, stepping up to the critical last station, stacking trays and trying to get the mac and cheese or mashed potatoes to unstick from the trays. Jessica, Waters mom, former student and Right at School lunchroom monitor has also gone out of her way to make the system work. Please give a pat on the back to these two when your see them.
Some 8th graders have also jumped into the breach during last period lunch, including Russel Miller, and my compost kids Moises and Israel. I've also had help from several parents during the first manic rush of Kindergartners.
These youngest kids are going to be an ongoing bottleneck, not because the aren't capable, but because they need alot more time to think things thru. Time that is not available in our crowded lunch schedule.
I am going to try to continue assisting at the sorting line during that 11:15 -11:45 time slot until I feel the kids are comfortable and able. But my teaching and field trip schedule are going to tighten up in January, and I will not be available on many days.If anyone would be able to assist during those times and days it would be very helpful. It is an amazing thing to see these small people making there way through this rushed, adult world: making decisions, taking in all the chaos, and bravely going on. Let me know.
Being in the lunchroom has made me more aware of the status of our menu and the manic pace that the lunchroom staff has to keep up.
They literally run from one position to the next. Recall that we used to have 3 kitchen staff. Now we have two. It occurs to me that something has to give. One thing lost was the salad bar. Fresh vegetables and fruit, when offered, have to be portioned, three cherry tomatoes tied into a plastic bag, slices of cucumber set into little plastic tubs, This takes up precious time from our kitchen workers. And the en-capsuling of these things adds a step to our kids very short lunch period. The plastic is not recyclable. So what I have observed is that most of these things make their way to the sorting line untouched, where the kids, or us helpers, have to take the fruits or vegetables out of the container, dump the food, and landfill the containers. This is nuts! A waste of time at both ends of this silly dance, a waste of food and a waste of plastic. We are trying to get
"permission" from Aramark to allow fresh fruits and vegetables to be self-served from bins, to avoid the waste.
Worse yet, when staff has no time or fresh food available, they have to serve these prepakaged fruit cocktail or applesauce in sealed containers. This stuff is almost never touched, and ends up at the sorting line being opened dumped and landfilled. Ka-ching! Another dime for Aramark.
One solution is to urge our kids to reject and refuse these prepackaged nutrition-empty offerings, and force Aramark to provide the fresh foods that are featured so prominently in their ads.
That's what the students at Roosevelt did, and were joined later by a half dozen other schools.
Actions like these disrupts Aramark's profit spigot, a spigot supplied by public funds. When the BOE privatized the lunchroom they cut staff by 33% and added a well paid CEO and investors. This is nuts! Why should anyone make profits off our publicly funded school lunch program?
Well, quite a grinch like rant, I know.
I just watched the Holiday show and was bathed in all that beauty, and energy, and enthusiasm, and love.
And I wonder how our City and BOE leaders can justify treating them like widgets, like funding tokens for a warped system of wealth transfer.
A change is gonna come.
Sooner the better.
I'm off to the lunchroom for the last time in 2015.
Blessings to all our school family!
Funny compost video here!