Northwest Elementary School
3757 Lansing Ave.
Jackson, MI 49202
A More Peaceful Lunchtime
Lunchtime used to be chaotic at Northwest Elementary. Students eat in six shifts, with up to 120 students in the cafeteria at any given time. Disrespectful behavior was common, and a steady stream of discipline referrals flowed from the cafeteria to the ABC room.
That changed after our Coordinated School Health Team leaders prioritized improving lunchtime behavior during the 2016/2017 school year. Their approach was to clarify behavior expectations and increased student investment in the rules.
Laying the Groundwork in Classrooms
During the first few months NWEL school focused on discipline in the classrooms and in hallways by improving the ABC room behavior rubric. In each room, children and teachers generated rules that would help all class members realize their hopes and goals for the year ahead. Teachers actively taught students how to translate their rules into action. They used positive comments to reinforce appropriate behavior and logical consequences to help children learn from their choices. In the hallways, teachers and staff raised the expectations for how to move in the hallway. Teachers have committed to take bathroom breaks as a class and limit the amount of student traffic in the halls without a teacher.
Translating Lunch Rules into Procedures
Intensive focus on lunch behavior began by having members of the Coordinated School Health Team volunteer to demonstrate proper lunchroom behavior. The team spent the first week of school in the lunchroom. The team made it clear that they wanted to support the lunchroom supervisors and not simply give them a list of new procedures. The team implemented a plastic cone system that helps students self-monitor their behavior. These cones lead to students earning golden plates, which are used like currency. Classrooms can spend the gold plates in a variety of ways (extra recess, pizza party, etc). Classroom teachers are supporting this process by properly praising students for the gold plates and having students collaborate with one another on how they want to spend their plates!
After formal “lunch training” ended in mid-September, staff saw significant improvement in the atmosphere of the NWEL lunchroom. “It isn’t perfect, but it is much better,” says Jody Cones-ABC room supervisor; noting that she’s now getting fewer lunchtime disciplinary referrals.
Keeping the Learning Alive
Lunchtime rules and procedures are becoming part of NWEL school culture. School newsletter articles will have the rule-making process and new procedures shared with families in December. Posters in the cafeteria summarizing the rules adorn the walls in the lunchroom. To further the process, the Coordinated School Health Team reviews lunchtime behavior each trimester. Since most students will already be familiar with the rules and procedures, Coordinated School Health Team predicts that the NWEL community “should be able to get lunch off to a good start from the very beginning of every school year.”
School Times: Regular day (8:25 am to 3:40 pm) Early Release day (8:25 to 2:35 pm) Half day (8:25 to 12:15 pm)
|December 7 Early Release
December 14 Early Release
December 21 Early Release
December 23 Start of Winter Break
|January 9 First Day back from break
January 11 Early Release
January 16 No School (Martin Luther King Day)
January 18 Early Release
January 25 Early Release
|February 1 Early Release
February 8 Early Release
February 15 Early Release
February 17 No School (Students & Staff)
February 20 No School (President's Day)
February 22 Early Release
|March 1 Early Release
March 2 Conferences (4:30-7:00)
March 8 Early Release
March 10 Half day students; full day staff
March 13 No School for students/staff
March 15 Early Release
March 22 Early Release
March 29 Early Release
March 30 Half day students/staff
March 31 Spring Break
Profile: The Northwest Elementary School came into existence in 1983, and serves over 660 students in grades three, four and five. The staff includes 30 certified teachers, including 20 with advanced degrees or equivalent training.