The following letter from Draper Principal Rick Arket was sent home with students today.
October 16, 2017
Dear Draper Parents/Guardians,
It has come to my attention that there have been concerns expressed regarding our new lunch structure at Draper Middle School. Each grade level has a 40-minute lunch period that the entire grade participates in. In the past, the entire grade (approximately 200 students) began in lunch. Approximately halfway through the period, students were provided time for recess (outside in good weather, inside our gym in poor weather).
The new lunch-recess structure was put in place at the start of this school year after a successful trial in Grade 6 during the spring of last year. Each grade level has been split by homeroom into two groups. The first group starts the period in lunch. The other group starts in recess. Halfway through the lunch period, the groups switch. Listed below are the primary reasons behind the change in lunch format.
- Safety: My primary role as principal is to ensure the safety and well-being of every child at Draper. A lunchroom with 100 students eating lunch is quieter, calmer, and allows for better supervision of students. This is in comparison to the previous format where 200-plus students would be in the lunchroom at one time. If a true emergency situation were to occur, our lunch supervisors would be able to more effectively communicate to and direct to safety a group of 100 students, as compared to 200 students. The same holds true for recess. A recess with 200-plus teenagers is a challenge to supervise and monitor. A recess of 100 is safer.
- Recess: Recess is a privilege that many secondary students do not have the opportunity to participate in. The research is strong regarding how important it is for early adolescents to be given the opportunity to be active, expend energy, and play after a long morning of classes. I believe every student should have the opportunity to have recess. Under the old system, when weather prohibited us from going outside, only one-half of the grade would have the opportunity to participate in recess after lunch, as we can only safely manage 100 students in our gym at a time for recess. With the new split lunch system, all students have the ability to have a recess.
The student body has expressed two main concerns regarding the new split-lunch system. Here are their concerns and my initial response:
- Some students do not have enough time to eat.
All lunch faculty and staff are aware that students must have enough time to eat. If a child needs a few extra minutes to finish lunch, it is provided.
- Some students are separated from their friends due to the lunch split.
The lunch and recess groups will be mixed periodically so that students will have the chance to eat and have recess with all students in their grade over the course of the school year.
I am proud of the students for advocating for themselves and their classmates. I plan on meeting with our new Student Council Leadership this month to discuss their lunch-recess concerns and work together to consider adjustments to improve their lunch experience, while maintaining the split format.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding our new lunch format, do not hesitate to call me at 518-356-8350.