West Seattle High School Changes Lunch Time

(Update: the WSB has a story with input from the rep from the union, Dave Westberg. According to Dave, the issue at Cleveland, 1 lunch/900 kids/113 fit in lunchroom, is on-going. Also to note, there was a story in the Seattle Times about some Ingraham students who decided to break into a house during their lunch hour because they needed money. An alert neighbor saw them and called the police. They were arrested. The more kids who leave campus, the more opportunities to find trouble. It's also hard on a neighborhood -I know not to go near 65th and 12th NE during Roosevelt's lunch hour.)

The West Seattle Blog scooped me on a story I had on the backburner. (Actually the story is written by Simone Machmiller for the WSHS newspaper, The Chinook.)

West Seattle High had one lunch hour and a short "breakfast break." They will now have two lunch hours and no breakfast break (similar to what some other high schools have). Of course, change doesn't come easily.

This happened because of an agreement between the district and the union that represents lunch workers. The district signed a contract with the union promising to work with the union on these types of issues and when it didn't, the union filed an unfair labor practice complaint. The district had failed to bargain with the union on this issue and they reached agreement after negotiations. Cleveland and McClure were also part of this agreement.

The principal, Ruth Medsker, came up with the two lunch idea, one before the 4th period and one after it. Naturally the kids will not all now be able to eat together and are not happy about it. Some student clubs had met during lunch hour and now that will have to change. I will say that just one lunch period is a lot for a large school and many kids skip lunch to not stand in line for food.

The students point out this is the 6th schedule change in the last 4 years for the senior class.


seattle said…
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seattle said…
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wsnorth said…
What is happening to lunch? My kids, in 4 SPS schools over the last two years, universally report lunch is too short, hot lunch lines are too long, and/or the "splits" are all messed up so they are not at lunch with friends in other classes. Lunch is about all I remember of some years of my public school life. :-]
seattle said…
Wish Hale would have multiple lunch periods. Especially now that they are growing from 1100 kids to 1300 or so. Seems like chaos to have them all eat at one time, not to mention enormous lunch lines that discourage kids from eating school lunch.
Patrick said…
I liked having lunch at the same time, so I could sit with my friends. Somehow we managed, even with 2000 kids. Of course we didn't pretend that 25 minutes was long enough for lunch.
dan dempsey said…

WSHS always had a long lunch as with 1336 students in 2006-2007 many students went to PCC McDonald's Safeway Jack in the Box etc.

The School even had supervisors in some of these areas at lunch time.

The student unrest might be if the lunch period is shortened they will not have time to walk to Jack in the Box meet with friends and return to school on time.

The WSHS musical periods scheduling disasters began when MGJ autocratically dictated and Santorno delivered the news that WSHS four period day was out because math needed to be improved.

As soon as the change was made math scores at WSHS declined.
dan dempsey said…

With about 350 students less at WSHS than in 2006-2007 is anyone telling the students this change is in their best interests?

The Schools increasingly seem more concerned with Big Adult issues than students or improving student learning.

Explain that TfA thing to me one more time.
Dave said…
Not so much a "contract" but the LAW actually dictates that (as in any relationship), one party is not to make changes without the other knowing and having an opportunity to discuss and come to agreement.

The second breakfast at WSHS was changed (from 15 minutes to 5) over the summer without that opportunity. Around 200 kids a day ate at second breakfast.

Since long lunch lines create multiple problems for both students and staff, a good compromise was reached.

Anyone see the PI story this week about Ingraham students breaking into houses during their one lunch period? Another of "multiple problems".
dan dempsey said…

Yup the morning breakfast move to 5 minutes was ridiculous. How well thought out was that?

In regard to Ingraham ... Blaine High School was largely a closed campus. There was one brief experience with open campus that lasted less than three months.

A large increase in shop lifting during high school lunch time occurred. Thus ended open campus for Blaine High. A very limited number of BHS students continue to have open campus privileges due to running start etc.

Note I never heard of these types of problems with WSHS open campus .... maybe a bit of weed smoked under the happy tree however.
Erica said…
I guess we come at this from a different perspective.

I want my child to make better eating choices and the less time she spends in Taco Bell or the like, the better.
SP said…
Dan wrote:
"As soon as the change was made math scores declined at WSHS."

You must really be cherry picking your data there. Where is the conclusion that a change in WSHS's schedule specifically caused the Math scores to dive? Wouldn't you have to wait 2 years after the schedule change to properly look at the 10th grade scores with the new schedule in effect? Wouldn't any decline in WASL scores have something to do with the new math adoption? Weren't you the one who made a nice chart a couple of years ago titled, "Why You Should Not Trust WASL Scores"?

Besides WSHS being below the District ave. for math WASL scores annually (in the last 10 years, before & after the schedule change), how about looking at SAT & AP Test score scores, "N" and "D" grades in core subjects, attendance, suspensions, etc?

For a very interesting discussion of the uses/misuse of data connected to WSHS specifically, please look at this 2007 link from this Blog:

In particular, Charlie Mas has some strong arguments in both of his responses about cherry picking & manipulating data.

Tell me this also- why was WSHS "rewarded" a 3 year, $1M+/year grant from the Seattle City Levy (along with Franklin & Sealth) which were identified by the city to have the most struggling/at risk 9th graders? This was rewarded during the old 4-period day schedule.

The school is still struggling with the same problem, so I don't think there's a convincing connection with the effect of a specific type of schedule. A lot of other reasons must be in play also.
SP said…
The WS Blog now has an update as to the Union 609's role in this lunch schedule change at WSHS
Ann in WS said…
I see by the WS Blog update that some students are "protesting".

When I went to high school in the 1960's there was a war on.

We had better things to do than "protest" the lunch schedule becuase we couldn't see our friends.

My oh my.
dan dempsey said…
My point was not that WSHS is not still struggling or was never a struggling school.

My point is that the musical schedules game has improved nothing. It has produced an environment where unstable administrative actions and changing schedules are the norm.

I certainly did not mean to imply that correlation was causation.
dan dempsey said…
I thought that the plan was to provide better nourishing breakfasts in 2010-2011. Eliminating Breakfast is not a path to better nutrition. Hopefully every WSHS student can get a nutritionally sound breakfast at home.

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