There are few moments during the day as precious as lunchtime. Lunch is supposed to be a refuge from the day's obligations, a time to decompress, regroup and recharge.
Any grown-up with a hectic daily schedule appreciates this, but for young learners, lunchtime is even more vital. It's their time to fuel their brains as they learn about the world around them.
That means people like Joshua Poveda, chef and food service director at Evergreen Charter School in Hempstead, New York, play a vital role in students' education. When Poveda realized lunchtime at his school wasn't the nourishing respite it was supposed to be, he optimized Evergreen's lunch schedule with the help of synchronized clocks.
Chaos in the Lunchroom
Evergreen Charter School takes an environmentally conscious approach to education by emphasizing global citizenship and Spanish language learning for kids in Kindergarten through grade 8. Evergreen also puts high value on providing their students a nutritious meal. However, Poveda noticed that lunchtime was chaotic. The chef knew it was not only his job to fill plates with healthy foods, but to make sure students had the time they needed to relax, socialize, and silence their growling stomachs.
At the time, Poveda noticed the chaos in his lunchroom, Evergreen's campus consisted of two buildings, one of which was housing temporary classrooms while a new building was under construction to accommodate the school's growing enrollment.
The side-effect of that progress was that students weren't getting a full lunch period for their mid-day break, and there was a clear culprit. “None of our clocks showed the same time, so teachers were bringing down students early or late,” Poveda explains.
10 Minutes to Eat
The discordant schedules meant lunch lines got longer, while students were sometimes left with only 10 minutes to eat. The lack of a synchronized clock system also made it difficult for Poveda to do his job, which was to cook every lunch from scratch without ever relying on cans or a freezer.
Despite Poveda’s efforts, late-arriving students found their meals cold by the time they got to the cafeteria, while kitchen staff did their best to coordinate their process with the unpredictable arrival times of the hungry masses. “We’d try synchronizing the clocks on our own, but within a few days, they’d be five minutes apart. It was a frustration for the whole team,” Poveda says.
Wi-Fi Saves Lunchtime
After appeals to other school staff didn't yield a solution, Poveda took matters into his own hands. “I finally decided to search for a clock system that would fix this problem,” he says.
Poveda looked at three clock companies before deciding on Wi-Fi clocks from American Time. The food service director knows a thing or two about the value of promptness, and he picked American Time for that very reason.
“I chose American Time because they were so fast in responding and getting me quotes,” Poveda explains. “The other two companies took forever. By the time I got the quote from American Time, I was waiting to get my initial questions answered from the other companies. The pricing and products were great too, but the great customer service was the main reason.”
Poveda's search for lunchtime sanity wasn't over quite yet. He still needed the school board's approval, so he outlined the lunchtime problems for the decision makers and explained the benefits of having the same time displayed throughout Evergreen's two buildings. It was an easy pitch, and the clock purchase was approved immediately.
Ready Out of the Box
As Poveda made his case to the board, his recommendation was strengthened by the fact that the Wi-Fi clocks he selected would be easy to set up. When the 35 battery-operated clocks arrived at Evergreen, the school's technical staff didn't have to worry about installing a system controller, securing a radio license, or stringing cables across campus. Instead, a wireless router was all they needed to keep the clocks synchronized.
Plus, after American Time consulted with Evergreen's IT staff, the clocks arrived configured for the school's Wi-Fi network straight out of the box. “The clocks were so easy to install,” Poveda says.
He also knew that after installing the clocks, maintenance staff would rarely have to think about them, thanks to the clocks' five-year battery life and their ability to automatically adjust to daylight saving time. The staff could expect that the next time they would have to touch the clocks would be when they moved them to the new building.
And the kicker? Each clock came customized with the school's logo, a complimentary service provided by American Time.
Now, Poveda can focus on cranking out fresh, healthy meals for students that appreciate having more than 10 minutes to eat.
“Even the children notice it because they don’t have to rush through lunch anymore,” Poveda says. “The clocks just do their job, and we shouldn’t have to worry about it.”