Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3.0 GPA Gives Lee Seniors Lunch Out

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3.0 GPA Gives Lee Seniors Lunch Out

Article excerpt

It's just a 3-by-5-inch yellow card, but to seniors at Robert

E. Lee High School, it symbolizes 12 years of achievement and a

pass to freedom.

For 30 minutes, that is.

For the first time in years, Lee seniors with a 3.0

grade-point average and no referrals are allowed to leave campus

for lunch.

"When we first made the announcement, everybody jumped and

cheered," Principal Josiah Bartley said. "It's very special to

those students who've worked hard for the privilege."

Officials at Lee, the only Westside school with the policy,

also hope it will motivate other students to bring up their

grades.

Going OTL -- out to lunch -- was proposed by the senior class

officers. They met with Bartley in July, and he took it to Lee's

shared-decision making committee, made up of parents and faculty

members, and its School Advisory Council.

After everyone agreed, the policy was set up the second week

of school based on the students' GPA from their junior year. Of

Lee's 285 seniors, about 20 were eligible.

It was the students who established the criteria. The cards,

which a parent must come to the school to sign, have to be

renewed each nine-week grading period.

Eating out also eases the cafeteria lunch crunch, students

said.

"The cafeteria is extremely overcrowded," said Tara Raines,

senior class chaplain. "The senior class prior to us had a line

specifically for seniors, but there are so many kids that we

couldn't have it this year. Nor do we have a senior section in

the cafeteria anymore."

Lee's enrollment, now at 1,575, has increased by 250 students

during the past two years, Vice Principal Don Price said. The

school hopes to expand the cafeteria in a few years, he said.

So far, Price said, the policy is working well with no fender

benders, no tardiness and no one failing to return to class.

To the students, it represents a welcome break in the day.

"If I have my car, I'm probably not here," said Julie Dial,

who has a 3. …

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