Smart lunch takes a bite out of busy school days

May 20, 2014

A new lunch system that may be coming to Tuscola and Pisgah high schools would give students a chance to get more involved and become more focused in school.

In conjunction with its transition to a block schedule, Tuscola has turned its attention toward implementing the SMART Lunch — a setup that will give students a 30-minute lunch break in addition to another 30 minutes of free time that otherwise wouldn’t fit into the regular school day. Pisgah has also shown interest in making the change.

During SMART Lunch, some students will grab their lunch and head to a quieter classroom to get started on homework or revisit a question with teachers. Others may head to the media center. Some might choose to eat their lunch outside while visiting with their friends.

But one SMART Lunch option that’s not voluntary is extra class work for students who are struggling academically. In those cases, the school creates a SMART Lunch tutoring schedule that will help students struggling in the classroom.

The tutoring schedule will give students extra time to study, complete makeup work or tests, which in turn may help bring up any below-average grades. In addition, the media center will be open each day, thus providing an ideal location for computer use, study groups or schoolwork.

The SMART Lunch may also prevent students from having to choose between sports, clubs, academics and the arts by allowing enough time for students to participate in a wide array of activities rather that just one. For student athletes, the gym or weight room will also be open for intramural sports and physical activities. Plus, riding the bus would no longer thwart students from getting tutoring help or from participating in extracurricular activities.

If implementing the SMART Lunch provides extra help to students, offers time for social interaction, clubs and physical activities, then it’s a change that can only benefit our Haywood County students.

In a time when so many rigorous curriculum changes are being forced on our students, it will be nice to finally offer them choices rather than choosing for them. The flexibility of SMART Lunch, even if it’s only 30 minutes a day, is a much-needed breather for our hard-working students, and we should support any change in the schools that might bring students’ grades up while bringing teacher stress levels down.