Clovis High students given extra lunch time as grade incentive

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Adapting an old adage, Clovis High officials are hoping the best way to a student’s brain is through their stomachs.

Effective upon the release of report cards later this month, Clovis High School students with grades of C or above will be released 20 minutes early for lunch. Those with a grade that falls below C will remain in study hall.

“Whenever I let students have five extra minutes for lunch, it’s like Christmas,” Clovis High Principal Jody Balch said.

“The only thing that seems to be of real value to students in the school day seems to be time,” he said.

CHS administrators hope giving students with good grades longer lunches will motivate students to do well. Balch and CHS teachers said poor grades are more common at the high school than they used to be.

Balch estimates about 60 percent of his student body will earn a longer lunch.

Traditionally, CHS students have been given about 40 minutes for lunch. They have the option of staying on campus or going off campus to eat. Many walk across the street to a convenience store where they munch on snacks and mingle with friends.

The lunch incentive will give students who have C’s and better an hour to eat lunch. Those with grades of D or F will remain in third period for an extra 20 minutes to study and do homework with their third-period teacher.

“It’s not punitive. It’s a way to reward students who are doing well,” Balch said.

Clovis High science teacher Carl Armstrong is a fan of the lunch plan.

“I think it’s a good idea. There are plenty of negative incentives at schools. This is a positive thing they’ve done for students,” said Armstrong, who has had students check on their grades since the initiative was announced last semester.

The plan does have its skeptics.

“In my opinion,” wrote CHS junior Jena Bender in a letter to the Clovis News Journal, “(the lunch incentive) is degrading to anyone who just can’t get math, English or any other subject for that matter. Not everyone can get a 4.0.”

CHS report cards for the first semester should be released the week of Jan. 15, and the lunch incentive will go into effect thereafter, according to Balch.
“This is just an experiment,” Balch said.

“We are not married to it. If it works good, we’ll stay with it. If not, we’ll get rid of it,” he said.