Is SMART Lunch working?

Fewer write-ups, low tutoring attendance leave opinions mixed. 

Eight weeks into the school year, everybody has an opinion about SMART lunch. 

Created to help Riverside students academically; some have utilized tutoring, others have used this time for socializing.

English teacher Chris Meglin thinks it’s a pleasant surprise.

“At first [I was] not happy about it, but now I think it’s an excellent idea.” he said. 

Science teacher Jeffrey Harris thinks that inside the school will be crowded as the weather gets colder. 

“I think we’re going to see more kids packed inside. It’ll be interesting to see what the kids do.” Harris said.

Kids are clearly moving about campus, but most aren’t using the extra time and freedom for academic support. A Pirate’s Hook Instagram and Twitter poll conducted in late September found that roughly 12 percent of RHS students attend tutoring during lunch. 

On the other hand, 59.5 percent of students said they spend their time socializing and leaving campus during the lunch period. 

“[Students] don’t want to waste their time during lunch to do work,” said sophomore Kaire Ryland.

Many students believe there are more fights this year during SMART lunch.

 “We have freshmans [acting up],” said senior Keilani Scanian.“It’s what people want to happen,” freshmen Kiontae Martin said.

However, the data suggests things haven’t changed much from one year ago. 

“In September 2018, we had eight physical altercations, and in September 2019 we had 10,” Principal Tonya Williams wrote in an email to The Pirates’ Hook. 

“Fighting is at about the same rate as without SMART lunch,” assistant principal Craig Carlson wrote in an email to The Pirates” Hook. “We may have better data at the end of the semester to make a more meaningful comparison.”

Only four percent of the students who responded to The Pirates’ Hook poll indicated they are involved in fights.

In some ways, student behavior has actually improved. The number of administrative referrals, or “write ups,” decreased significantly. 

“Overall, referrals went from 317 in September 2018 to 254 in September 2019,” Williams said. “Skipping referrals also decreased during the same period from 178 to 114.” 

Teachers hope the school can make minor adjustments to boost the time students spend on academics and keep the campus safe. 

“We need to do something with the students that cause problems, I don’t want to see everyone get punished because of them.” teacher Mary Foster said.

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