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Jets students ‘refuel’ at midday

Jonathan Hartfield, a junior at James Clemens High School, constructs computer coding in Maker Spaces during Refuel.  (CONTRIBUTED)
Jonathan Hartfield, a junior at James Clemens High School, constructs computer coding in Maker Spaces during Refuel. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – For one hour daily, Jets at James Clemens High School are ‘refueling’ with extracurricular and academic options.

James Clemens modeled their “Refuel” time after West Port High School in Ocala, Fla.

“From 11:20 to 12:20 p.m., all students are released for Refuel. Students eat lunch, attend club meetings, receive tutoring, meet with advisors and mentors, form student-led interest groups and more,” instructional partner Kristi Combs said.

This time to refuel and recharge increases students’ productivity and emotional health, Combs said.

Principal Dr. Brian Clayton believes the key is flexibility “and teaching our students how to respond when time is given to them. The same scenario is replicated when students go to college.”

Mirroring college, Refuel gives free time to students between class. “We encourage freedom in Refuel,” Combs said. By year’s end, Ocala students reduced course failures from 37 to 3.8 percent, increased extracurricular participation by 50 percent and cut disciplinary referrals in half.

James Clemens’ “food-court style” cafeteria, courtyard and auxiliary lunch counter accommodate lunchtime.”Even though the lunchroom holds 500 and we have 1,600 students, lunch hasn’t been a problem,” Combs said.

Students cannot leave campus. However, on-site opportunities have expanded with Maker Spaces DIY sessions, computer coding, flying drones and crafts. Student can attend meetings in 51 various clubs.

However, Jets students can choose to relax, study with friends or complete homework. Detention levels have dropped because students want to be with friends during Refuel. On Thursdays, all students must attend Jet Advisory for half of Refuel’s hour with advisors for guidance sessions.

Refuel is not a free hour for teachers. After their 30-minute lunch, they attend club and department meetings, tutor and attend lunch-and-learn sessions in the Pilot’s Lounge on topics like Google Apps, Zip Grading and Twitter.

Julia Gorti, staff writer for the “Jet Stream” website, said classmates are endorsing Refuel. “It’s all a matter of adapting to this change: a skill we as a school are honing to near perfection.”

Bob Jones High School plans to implement Refuel in 2016.

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