New way to learn: separation at lunch
A school in Tennessee offers students who need it, extra help during lunch.
But this doesn't make everyone happy. Some students and parents say the separation makes them uncomfortable, to say the least. It's happening in Rutherford County.
"It's like going back in time where everybody was being separated, that's how I feel."
Lavergne High School 11th grade student Ximena Jimenez says she would rather spend her lunch period socializing with friends.
"And we just want to sit with our friends."
But lunch at the Rutherford County school has taken on a whole new meaning.
"If you have like a low grade in a certain class you have to go to the auditorium to do the learning lab so it can help you, I mean, I know it's a good reason."
But when those students come to the lunch room for the remainder of their lunch period, they are separated from the so called smart kids and those with special needs.
"It's cutting their lunch down."
That doesn't sit well with parent, Paul Morcroft, whose special needs daughter is in the tenth grade.
"I call it a civil rights violation and definitely segregation, no doubt."
School district officials say this is in no way to segregate students in its traditional sense, but to help those who may be struggling to make the grade.
James Evans, Rutherford County Schools, "Well as parents, we all want our kids to be successful and that's exactly what this school is trying to do. They're giving students additional intervention time in areas that they're struggling with and that's a good thing. I don't see how anyone would be against that. Students are still getting their lunch time, I think there's a misconception that they're not able to eat lunch."
But some students feel lunch period should be just that, eating lunch.
"They want to sit with the other people, like I want to sit with my friends. I just, they think it's not right."
This is part of the Tennessee Department of Education's program "RTI Squared" - response to instruction and intervention initiative, which will be rolled out in all high schools in the state in July 2014.
However, it will be left up to the schools on how to implement it.
School officials say this concept has been a success.
Two years ago, the graduation rate at Lavergne High School was about 77 percent, and it's now almost 90.