Transitioning to Assigned Seating During Lunch: A Step by Step Guide

For Schools, Students, Teachers and Staff / /

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To assign seats in the cafeteria or not to assign seats in the cafeteria? Now that is the question

Sarah Besand, a teacher and Possip Reporter, shares steps to transition to assigned seating during lunch!


Administrators across the globe grapple with this same question as the school year gets rolling and students become more and more comfortable with each other. We are simultaneously thrilled they are making new friends, but we also strive to create a lunchroom environment where everyone can thrive.

Ultimately, the best practice for your decision on assigned seating during lunch is to respond to your individual student body. The needs of staff members and students will vary wildly from school to school, and responding to those needs will be critical to your lunchtime success.  This resource could be helpful if you are looking to provide more flexible cafeteria procedures, but we also know some campuses may require structure in the form of assigned seating for these routines. This practice has been proven to help facilitate more opportunities for student connection and can improve overall school culture as well. Read more on that research here

Here are some steps to implement a plan for assigned seating during lunch:

Step 1: Ask Your Staff

As you begin brainstorming about what assigned seating during lunch can look like on your campus, asking your staff or utilizing a Possip bonus question for your staff Pulse Check can be very helpful. Garnering staff feedback can go a long way in showing teachers you are continuing to value their input, and it will demonstrate your commitment to considering their voices when making decisions. An example bonus question could look like: “Would you like to see assigned seating during lunch?” or “What lunchtime procedures would you like to see re-imagined?” Asking these important questions will help you continue to gauge ideas and may shine a light on any other places for improvement in the lunchtime routines as well.