The school lunch period is changing in some high schools across the country. Instead of the traditional lunch period where students eat in the cafeteria and converse with their classmates, the “lunch and learn” program gives them the opportunity to choose how they want to spend their time. This can include anything from meeting with a teacher to taking part in extracurricular clubs.
Marlboro County High School in South Carolina switched to Lunch and Learn at the beginning of this school year. All students now have the same 50-minute lunch period. During this time they can choose to sit with their friends and eat lunch wherever they want. But, they can also use their time to meet with a teacher or check out an activity or club.
Marlboro County School District Superintendent Dr. Gregory McCord told WPDE the goal of the redesigned lunch is to allow students to make the most out of the school day without having to come back for after school.
But, not everyone is on board with the Lunch and Learn program. WPDE reports some parents are complaining that long lines from hundreds of students on the same lunch schedule is leaving many students with little or no time to actually eat.
McCord told WPDE when he visited the school, every student got the chance to eat their lunch and many students said they liked the new lunch schedule.
Lunch and Learn is a concept that’s being introduced at schools around the country. In Pennsylvania, the concept was launched in 2017 at Kiski Area High School. The idea there is the same — give students more flexibility with their lunchtime by letting them decide how they want to spend their free time.
The feedback there has been generally positive. Students like the program because it gives them more options and lets them make decisions instead of having them already made.
Jacksonville, Florida’s Douglas Anderson School of the Arts has also jumped on the Lunch and Learn bandwagon. Students there can use the program to participate in club meetings, get together with friends, and meet with teachers.
The overall goal of the Lunch and Learn concept is to give students a taste of what college life is like where they have more free time and must learn how to manage it wisely.