This year, Knightdale, Sanderson, and Athens Drive Highs Schools have joined Panther Creek in instituting a program called SMART lunch or Students Maximizing Achievement with Resources and Time.
SMART Lunch provides a new bell schedule which will give students an hour during lunch to study, do homework or attend tutorials.
According to a letter sent home to Sanderson students, the administration “realizes that many students have jobs and extracurricular commitments.” The school understands that students frequently are unable to receive the help they need directly afterschool. The idea behind SMART Lunch is that for the first thirty minutes, students eat lunch. The second thirty minutes are aimed towards school related work.
Andrea Minjikavis, senior at Sanderson High School, takes advantage of this time to do homework, allowing her to work at a job internship and attend cheerleading practice afterschool.
“It’s great because I can get home at a reasonable hour. I’m not eating dinner at nine anymore!” Andrea said.
Contrary to Minjikavis, Jessica Greenfield, junior at Athens Drive, enjoys SMART Lunch for other reasons.
“Honestly, I am a horrible procrastinator and will probably continue to do my homework at the last minute. For me, extra time means getting home in time to watch Desperate Housewives.”
Sarah Johnson, sophomore at Knightdale High School, feels differently about the extended hour because she is an underclassman. “The only people who are psyched about SMART Lunch are juniors and seniors because they can go off campus for extended time.”
While it is true that upperclassmen are permitted to go off campus, many decide to eat lunch at school. Paisley Cookson, junior at Sanderson, eats lunch with Amy Johnson, another junior.
“We have an agreement. Paisley helps me with math, and I help her with Spanish” said Johnson.
“We are already getting better grades. Like last week, I totally failed my Spanish quiz and now I’m starting to understand what my teacher is talking about” said Cookson.
Mr. Lyons, Leesville principal made a point that we already have an achedemic assistance program in place at Leesville. “Unlike the schools who decided to incorporate SMART lunch, we are fortunate enough to have Pride Period which according to the way students responded to last year’ s survey was very well received,” he said.
While some may argue that twenty minutes does not provide adequate time to complete homework, Mr. Lyons brought up a valid point. “We [the administration] feel that if we gave students a full hour, some students will feel like it is a punishment. On that note, we also believe that students who truly need help may say that they don’t need it.”
Mr. Lyons also mentioned that the timing of Pride Period is better suited for students who seek tutorial. “Pride Period is a great time for students who need assistance because it’s a time when everyone is on campus. If we decided to incorporate Smart Lunch at Leesville, we would have to revise our schedule drastically.”