Monomoy Regional High School's visionary Jawsome Hour returns
Students, parents, faculty, and administrators are celebrating the return of Monomoy Regional High School’s beloved Jawsome Hour.
The Jawsome Hour concept at Monomoy High School began in 2016 when art teacher Deb Donovan brought an article to share with the faculty -- “What Happens When a Large High School Has a Single 1-Hour Lunch,” about West Port High School in Florida, which had instituted the program with dramatic success.
Since that day, a small group of teachers worked collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, and school and district administrators to design the Jawsome Hour program for Monomoy students. After extensive research and design, the Jawsome team presented the program to Monomoy teachers and teaching assistants, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of piloting the program in the spring of 2017.
Instead of having rotating lunch blocks, and the associated administrative logistics that requires, there would be one schoolwide hour-long lunch block. During that window, half the student body would eat in the first half-hour and the other half in the second. The other portion of time was available for students to explore a number of support or enrichment activities -- all without encroaching on after-school commitments or transportation conflicts.
This visionary program benefits students academically, socially, and emotionally. Jawsome serves as a systemic intervention that ensures students receive additional time and support for learning when they struggle, and extends and enriches learning when they have mastered expected outcomes.
Activities undertaken during Jawsome could include making up a test after being absent, getting extra help on a homework assignment, studying with peers and the teacher for an upcoming test, practicing with the Jazz Band, holding a meeting of one of the many clubs available at MRHS, or even shooting hoops in the gym.
After the three-month pilot in 2017, data indicated strong improvement in student grades, reduction in failures, improvement in attendance figures, and overall improvements in social-emotional well-being and school culture. Survey results declared overwhelming support of Jawsome Hour by students, parents, staff, administration, and the school committee. However, since this shift in the day’s schedule was not accounted for in the existing teacher contract, Jaswome was set aside for part of the 2018-2019 school year until it could be officially written into the contract.
During that hiatus, MRHS administration worked hard to refine the program to ensure that all students would be taking full advantage of the opportunities for support and enrichment offered by Jawsome.
The Jawsome Hour is slated to return to MRHS on March 11, 2019, with a new software program in place to better manage student requirements and commitments during that time.
The goals of the Jawsome Hour include increasing opportunities to support all learners, allowing time for student choice and involvement in enrichment/extracurricular activities, fostering more efficient use of staff and student time during the lunch block, personalizing education, focusing on student academic growth, and providing opportunities to support students socially and emotionally.
“It is our belief that students, given time during the school day to focus on individual improvement and the ability to work with teachers eager to support them, will demonstrate improved academic performance and commitment to their education,” says Principal Burkhead.