Smart Lunch: Here to stay or on its way out?

FCCLA gathers for a club meeting during Smart Lunch. Besides getting extra help for a class, clubs hold meetings during the extended lunch period as well.

Smart Lunch, which was once just an idea that many were skeptical about, transformed into one of the best things that has happened to Leesville. This lunch period (that doubles as study hall) has been welcomed by countless students and teachers at Leesville but could now be taken away due to lack of grade improvement and poor behavior from students.

Dr. Muttillo, Leesville’s principal, cleared up the rumors circulating around the school about if Smart Lunch will be taken away or not.

“I haven’t made a decision yet. What I’m trying to determine is if it’s being effective. The information I’m looking at right now isn’t giving me a clear answer that it is,” said Dr. Muttillo.

Muttillo said that there are many factors being examined to determine if Smart Lunch is benefiting students. One of the factors being looked at is the number of students failing classes.

“When I look at the number of students failing its an indicator of academic success or not success. We have more students failing this year than last year but we also have more students enrolled,” said Muttillo.

Muttillo will also look at the percentage of student’s earning a C or better. He noted how the semester data looked better than the quarter data but it hasn’t shown a big enough improvement to say Smart Lunch has definitely impacted students.Grade distribution across the school is that last factor that will be looked at by Dr. Muttillo and his staff.

It is understandable from a principal’s perspective that if something doesn’t seem to be benefiting students, then it should be changed for the greater good of the school. But in this case, Smart Lunch is positively benefiting Leesville’s student body.

One of the main issues with Smart Lunch is it appears only a small number of students are taking advantage of Smart Lunch because few remember to sign in when they get to a classroom.

“I think the administration might not be seeing it as effective or as being used because I think that the kids are forgetting to sign in. I know a lot of the time my kids just come in, sit down and get to work but they don’t think to go over and sign in,” said Ms. Mendoza, a math teacher at Leesville.

Ms. Mendoza elaborated on how she sees students from all of her different classes come in every day to get extra help. “I would be sad to see Smart Lunch go. I think that the kids are enjoying the time. I have students who come in and sit down and eat, or come in and do their homework. I think they’re just enjoying the quiet time and the down time between classes,” said Mendoza.

Not only do the teachers advocate for Smart Lunch but the students as well. Students argue that Smart Lunch has been more useful than Pride Period ever was.

“For the students that have actually been behaving and doing work during Smart Lunch, I think it has been a large increase in productivity versus in Pride Period where we had a small amount of extra time that barely anyone used,” said Griffin McNamara, junior.

Other students such as Heather Crew, a junior, brings up another positive point about Smart Lunch.

“It not only helps people bring their grades up who are committed to doing well in a class, but it also help students build relationships with teachers where they wouldn’t have an atmosphere because we only have an hour and a half with someone for one semester,” said Crew.

Now that we know the students and teachers support Smart Lunch, how do we keep it?

Dr. Muttillo’s main complaints were increased numbers of fights, trash left around the school, students in non-permitted areas during lunch and students’ grades not significantly improving.

These are only minor problems and if all four grades work together and show the maturity to handle a privilege like this, Smart Lunch doesn’t have to go.


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