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Cafeteria furniture, buffet style prove challenging to littlest students

Concerns about the school’s new cafeteria and lunch service brought nearly a dozen parents to the board of directors’ monthly meeting, Sept. 10.

Parent volunteers, who have been helping with lunch service over the past two weeks, reported that the cafeteria’s acoustics make the room very loud and that many students need help with the buffet-style arrangement. Tables and chairs are too big for the smaller students, they said.

“The small kids are falling through the back (of the fold-up chairs) and sitting on their knees,” one parent reported.

She suggested the school sell some of the tables and chairs and buy smaller ones for the 4- and 5-year-olds.

Jean-Jacques Grandiere, general director of Lycee Francais, introduced the school’s new cafeteria manager and said he was open to suggestions, including new furniture.

The school has hired Revolution Foods to provide meals. Board members said over 70 percent of the students are participating in the lunch program.

“It’s a new environment for the kids, and it’s a little rough at the beginning,” said board chairman Jean Montes.  “We went with that (buffet-style) because it fits in with the French culture. The students will eventually serve themselves and understand portions and food groups.”

In other news, Grandiere said that more than 90 students are enrolled in extracurricular activities and after-school programs, including gymnastics, soccer and study hall. He said the school soon will add a music program. Student volunteers from Tulane University are helping with after-school care, Grandiere said.

The school is planning for first- and second-grade students to spend October doing classroom studies at the Audubon Zoo.

The total enrollment at both campuses stands at 340 and there are five spots open in the lycee’s kindergarten, board members learned.

Grandiere said the school plans to hire an assistant principal or supervisor with responsibilities for both campuses.

Three new board members were introduced at the meeting: Dan Henderson, Jacqueline Simon and Joel Vilmenay. All board members will attend a training for charter school directors, Grandiere said.

The next board meeting is Oct. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

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