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Lion Lunch may return next year

Aniyah Lewis

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Sunday, February 18th students and parents received a phone call from the administration of Tallwood High School in regards to Lion Lunch. Friday, February 16th was the last day students were to experience an hour-long lunch break in order to eat, receive tutoring, attend club meetings and/or relax.

Principal, Dr. James Avila states, “Both students and teachers were able to socialize with their friends and colleagues. There was downtime to unwind and take a break from two classes in a row. Towards the end of the week, students participated in tutoring and help sessions during the Lion Lunch. Students participated in clubs and heard guest speakers. Students and teachers benefited from walking and socializing. ”

And while Lion Lunch did prove to afford students and faculty many opportunities, there were still many issues that arose in the duration of the trial run.

“One of the major things to keep in mind is that students should be afforded the opportunity to eat lunch daily, but during LL sales declined quite a bit. Students thought they should eat at the same time, so everyone went to the cafeteria first causing long lines at the beginning of lunch. As a result, some students turned away and did not return to get a lunch when lines were shorter. Had more students eaten lunch, I think LL would have continued longer. It is important for students to know that they do not have to eat all at the same time – that is why the lines were open the entire hour,” began Dr. Avila. “Quiet zones are needed for students to work independently. Some students did not like the noisy atmosphere. So, we will open rooms for quiet study in the next test,” he continued.

Even for those who welcomed the clamor, there are still adjustments in order to better accommodate the sheer volume of students. Most have already took note of the benches along the walls in the space shared by the auditorium and library, as well as the library tables that are now in the commons, and the new furniture in the library. However, there are talks of plans to take out the lockers and replace them with benches and to disperse even more furniture throughout the school.

But as of late, Lion Lunch is here to stay and Tallwood’s administration is looking at what can be done correct these issues. “Shortening the time from one hour to 50 minutes. We found that we needed less time for clubs and office hours. But, we will no longer have two halves. Instead, we will have the whole 50 minutes to meet with students or meet in clubs. Having the entire lunch for meetings will cause less confusion about the activities for that day.”

“I do think LL will work. And, I think stopping to make adjustments is the right thing to do in order to meet the intended goals of getting students involved in activities and academics,” states Dr. Avila.

As Lion Lunch undergoes restructuring, it must refer back to the regulations that they were able to implement effectively such as how and when all clubs will meet, how to schedule office hours for each and every teacher, how to assign duties to teachers to be mobile and active for 30 minutes, and how to coordinate cafeteria staff and custodial staff for the change in schedule and duties.

Though Tallwood administration refuted cancellations to Lion Lunch as being linked to the recent spurs of school shootings and threats, most notably the Parkland shooting committed February 14th, they do cite safety as a primary concern for the new committee on Lion Lunch.

“It was coincidental that the Lion Lunch test stopped the same week. The administration believed we had the data needed to make improvements. That being said, we continually make sure that students are safe. The first test demonstrated that there are some areas that need to be addressed and improved, and student safety is one of them. In order for LL to continue, the team needs to develop a plan that clearly communicates the options for students to attend and the need to attend them. More importantly, we need to communicate the behavior expectations so that LL is an environment that students feel safe. Finally, we need to make sure that students have every opportunity to be fed,” states Dr. Avila.

That said, Lion Lunch will not continue this year. “We will continue planning it for next year, but the committee and I decided we did not have to test it again in order to make the adjustments we needed,” said Avila.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Lion Lunch may return next year”

  1. Caitlin Webner on May 24th, 2018 11:03 am

    I like the idea of lion lunch and would want it to come back but I would agree it does need some fixing.

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