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Friday Lunch Bunch: Building Middle School Character and Responsibility

Author: Devone McKie - Leavelle McCampbell Middle School


Middle school is a critical phase in a student's life, where there’s significant emotional, social, and academic growth. During this time, it's essential to provide students with the tools and support they need to develop strong character, responsibility, and positive behavior. One innovative approach to achieving this is the Friday Lunch Bunch program, where I (Assistant Principal) eat lunch with students, fostering a sense of community and accountability. This intervention began at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School after having a student who had accumulated an abundance of office referrals before the month of November. It was time to decide if this student should be placed in an alternative program. As an administrator, I did not feel that our school community had given this student every intervention and opportunity possible to be successful in our building. After this student became a part of the Lunch Bunch program, he went from having 12 office referrals in October to not receiving a single referral for the remainder of the school year.

As part of the Leader in Me school philosophy, this program empowers students to set behavior goals, track progress, and celebrate achievements. In this blog post, we will delve into how the Friday Lunch Bunch program transformed behavior intervention at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School, an award-winning middle school.

The Leader in Me School Philosophy

Leader in Me schools are grounded in Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This philosophy emphasizes the development of leadership skills, personal responsibility, and a growth mindset among students. It empowers students to take ownership of their actions and behaviors, aligning perfectly with the goals of behavior intervention programs.

Friday Lunch Bunch: An Overview

The Friday Lunch Bunch is a creative and effective behavior intervention program where the Assistant Principal or other school leaders eat lunch with students on Fridays. This seemingly simple act fosters a strong sense of community and trust between students and school administrators. But what truly sets this program apart is its structured approach to behavior improvement.

1. Setting Behavior Goals (X to Y by When)

Students are encouraged to set specific, measurable behavior goals. These goals follow the X to Y by When format, which means students define what they want to achieve, set a clear target, and establish a timeframe. For example, one of my students created a goal that states, “I will decrease office referrals from 7 to 0 by 2-24-23.”

2. Scoreboarding Behavior

To keep students accountable, a scoreboard is created to display their progress. This scoreboard tracks the student goal, current goal status, and the progress made towards achievement. Students quickly learn the importance of self-assessment and understanding how behavior impacts goals.

3. Selecting an Accountability Partner

In the Friday Lunch Bunch program, students choose an accountability partner. This partner helps keep them on track, offers support and encouragement, and ensures they are making consistent efforts to meet their goals. This peer-to-peer support fosters strong relationships and adds an extra layer of accountability. Oftentimes, students will choose a peer or me as an accountability partner.

4. Identifying Lead Measures

Lead measures are the specific actions or behaviors that have the most significant impact on achieving a goal. Students work with their accountability partners, teachers, and administrators to identify lead measures. For instance, if a student's goal is to decrease the number of office referrals, lead measures might include a check-in-out system with the assistant principal, meeting for Lunch Bunch weekly to monitor progress, and seeking help when needed.

5. Creating Celebrations

One of the most inspiring aspects of the Friday Lunch Bunch program is the celebration of achievements. Every four weeks, students receive their personal celebration if they have met their behavior goal. These celebrations can be as simple as a 10 piece chicken nugget meal from McDonalds. The key is to make students feel proud of their accomplishments and motivated to continue positive behavior.

Benefits of the Friday Lunch Bunch Program

The Friday Lunch Bunch program offers a multitude of benefits for both students and the school community.

  1. Improved Behavior: The structured goal-setting process motivates students to make positive changes in behavior, leading to a more respectful and productive school environment.

  2. Accountability and Responsibility: By tracking progress and partnering with peers, students develop essential life skills of accountability and responsibility.

  3. Building Relationships: Eating together fosters stronger connections between students and school leaders, creating a more supportive and trusting school culture.

  4. Goal Achievement: Students experience the satisfaction of setting and achieving their goals, promoting self-confidence and a growth mindset.

  5. Leadership Skills: The program encourages students to take leadership roles in planning and hosting celebrations, enhancing their leadership skills.

The Friday Lunch Bunch program, aligned with the Leader in Me philosophy, is a remarkable behavior intervention initiative that empowers middle school students to take control of their actions and make positive changes. It not only improves behavior but also builds essential life skills, enhances relationships, and fosters a culture of celebration and achievement. By implementing such innovative programs, schools can play a significant role in shaping responsible and capable individuals who thrive academically and personally.

About the Author:

Devone McKie, brings a wealth of experience in the field of education. Currently serving as the Assistant Principal at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School, he works alongside teachers, students, staff, and community members to positively impact students during a critical phase of their educational journey. Devone has a strong background in elementary education, having previously worked as a dedicated kindergarten and second-grade teacher. Connect with Devone on Twitter @DevoneMcKie or through email




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