NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches High School is introducing what's called a "megalunch" to students and staff.
No, it's not an extra-large burger with all the trimmings.
Instead, it's an hour break for students to meet in clubs, get some tutoring, or even catch up on their sleep.
In the past, when the bell tones sounded for one of three lunches it usually meant students had to stand in line for food, wolf it down, and get to class all in 30 minutes. Say goodbye to that. Nacogdoches High School now has an hour-long megalunch.
"It seems to be a bit of, kinda like a recess, almost a kinda break from the normal schedule," said Ryan Munro, the student council president.
During a megalunch, all of the students in the high school eat at the same time.
"You have to understand," said Kenneth Wooten, the principal of Nacogdoches High School. "We have 1700 students here. This cafeteria can only service only about 350 kids at once."
So students can choose where to dine. Friend circles plop down in hallways. Others have a working lunch in classrooms while attending a variety of clubs from French Honor Society to what Alyssa Tilley, a student, described as "the Chill and Relax Club."
It's the student's choice. For 30-year veteran teacher Penny Long, it's new.
"You know, I wasn't one of those that was really questioning whether it would work," Long said.
Long is sold on the idea because of one thing in particular.
"This is our y and this is our x," Long said to a student she was tutoring during the high school's megalunch.
Students are encouraged to spend at least half their lunch hour with a tutor. Long's math department is impressed.
"The first week and the second week has been over 300 students have attended tutorials for the week, so that is a huge benefit," Long said.
About 1,000 tutorial hours occurred in all combined subjects. Megalunch tutoring has a far better record than early morning or after school tutorials.
"It's very difficult for students and even parents to find time to allow their kids to stay late after school or to come before school," Wooten said.
There are financial benefits too. It's projected about $10,000 per semester will be saved in after school transportation costs.
Teenage freedom comes with its risk, but Wooten hopes his students will rise to the expectations.
Before making a decision, a team of 15 visited urban schools that use the creative schedule method.