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School Lunch

OWL ABOUT LUNCH!
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about Otis lunch!

What time is lunch?
Gr. K & 1 eat from 11:25-11:45, and then play until 12:10
Gr. 2 & 3 eat from 11:45-12:10, and then play until 12:30
Gr. 4 & 5 play from 11:45-12:10, and then eat until 12:30

Lunchroom transitions are quick, with assigned lines, lunch tables, and lessons on recycling.  It doesn't seem like a lot of time to eat, but most kids have time to spare. Sometimes we tell jokes, do "silent surveys," chant cheers, or have mini-assemblies to entertain the group until it's time to go outside.   When it is time to go, children who need more time to eat are encouraged to continue eating.

What do kids eat?
The school lunch is sold for $2.60, and credits can be purchased in advance online.  Parents can apply for free or reduced lunch each year.  There is a special entrée each day such as tacos, teriyaki chicken with rice, BBQ chicken or spaghetti.  There are also the daily favorites: Monday grilled cheese, Tuesday burgers, Wednesday chicken nuggets, Thursday turkey hot dogs, and Friday pizza.  A vegetarian meal, or yogurt with cheese stick is also a daily option.  A full salad bar is always included.  Otis kids appear to like the main meals, but they need encouragement to take advantage of the salad bar.

Kids who pack lunch eat a variety of foods, from sandwiches to sushi.  If you pack a Lunchable...Beware, often the kids just eat the candy and crackers and toss the baloney meat (not worth your money).  How can you help your child to eat his/her lunch?   The trick is to pack something you know they like, and not too much extra.  If there's junk food in it, that's what they'll try to eat first.  Consider items such as orange slices, sliced strawberries, dried fruit, veggie sticks, leftover cold pizza, or dried seaweed.  Frozen corn or peas will thaw by lunchtime and are a healthy item.  I see kids with happy notes, riddles and drawings on their napkins, or sandwiches cut into shapes with cookie cutters.  This helps to make lunches fun.  Please try not to pack items that require assembly, such as a make-your-own pizza kit or drink powder to put into a water bottle.  These items can get messy and distract kids from being efficient eaters.  Since we have 200 kids eating at a time, we do not have the capacity to heat up food in the microwave.

If you are concerned that your child is not eating, please contact the office so our staff can do check-ins.

What do kids play at recess?
Kindergartners and first graders like to spend most of their time in the play structures.  They are more involved in imaginary play and "kid adventures."  Second through fifth graders are usually more involved in organized school games. We know kids like to run, and some running is permitted. Sometimes kids try to play tag and chase.  This can get out of hand if kids are racing through the play structures and other blacktop games, and sometimes kids try to go into the bathrooms or hallways to hide.  Due to the high density of kids on the yard, they will be asked to stop when they are going faster than is safe, or if they are using the bathrooms/hallways as refuge.  Lately kids have tried to play a tag game called "Sandman" at the park (where the person chasing closes their eyes).  This is not allowed as it is unsafe.

On the blacktop, the main games are tetherball, four square, wallball, basketball and kickball.  Hopscotch, jump rope and hula hooping are also seasonally popular.  Every Fall our P.E. teachers teach how to play these games, and they teach the district-wide rules to the games.  There are rules about stepping over lines, who is the judge, and how players move through the courts.  Our P.E. teachers also teach about Bark Park rules and safety.   All students need to follow the standard recess and game rules during the school day.  It seems like a lot of rules, but that is what helps things to go smoothly.  Imagine if people learned how to drive, but there weren't any traffic rules!  It's all about safety.  Our Otis kids do learn the rules and are very good.

What is BOOST! Leadership?
BOOST! is a program paid for by PTA and led by Lissa Merit to support lunchtime safety.  BOOST! provides extra adults on our playground to help with student supervision:  Michelle and Joe on the K yard, and Tom on the large yard. BOOST! also provides training for 4th and 5th graders to serve as Kindergarten Buddies and Jr. Coaches.  K-Buddies help kindergartners with opening lunch containers, sorting their recycling, and transporting the class lunch buckets. K-Buddies also set up K-Yard equipment, teach the kindergartners new games, walk kids to the MPR bathrooms, and help with conflict resolution and problem solving.  4th and 5th grade Jr. Coaches assist on the larger yard with quieter "green table activities" (large legos, drawing, Lincoln Logs, board games, etc.), and they help to promote positive interactions on the yard. Lissa Merit coordinates all the training and schedules, including a schedule for additional parent volunteers to assist each week.

Who else is on the yard?
Otis has 8 paid AUSD staff who supervise lunchtime activities.  Dr. Clem is on duty at lunch and always stays in the lunchroom.  This way you can always find her in an emergency.  She carries a radio to the main office and a first aid pack that includes allergy medications.  Mr. Duncan is outside from 11:45-12:30 facilitating kickball games.  Mr. Jesse (also our High Street crossing guard) manages an equipment cart on the blacktop.  He checks out balls, hula hoops and other playground equipment to students.  Ms. Stephanie, Ms. Tiffany, and Mr. Derek provide supervision on the large blacktop and in the Krusi "Bark Park."  Mr. Derek can also be seen facilitating soccer or other games on the grass area (He's a local sports coach).  Ms. Thuy and Ms. Roxana are paraprofessionals who help our students with a variety of needs.

With BOOST! staff, 4th/5th grade helpers, the AUSD noon staff, and paraprofessionals, Otis boasts more lunchtime supervision than other schools.  That being said, we depend on volunteers to assist us, especially in the K-yard.  There are 592 kids at our school, and things like misplaced lunches, forgotten lunch money, and skinned knees occur on a regular basis.  That's where volunteers can really help us to ensure that everyone's needs are taken care of.  Please call the office if you'd like to volunteer!