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Press Perspective: Flex time? More like waste of time


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BACKGROUND

The Issaquah School District Superintendent Ron Thiele issued a charter that commissioned a high school scheduling committee be formed to discuss and ultimately propose a new common schedule for the three high schools (Liberty, Issaquah, and Skyline). While discussing pros and cons of different schedules, one thing that has come up is the possibility of flex time.
Flex time is an allocated time at school that is not structured academic instructional time. Put simply, that means time you are not required to be in a classroom with a teacher teaching you. How often flex time might occur, how long it may be, what exactly students could do with it, or whether we should even have it at all are all things the committee is still working on deciding. Flex time could range from ten minutes once a month to one hour everyday. All options are on the table.

HOW WE’D USE IT

Schools could use flex time in a number of different ways.
Some of these include putting things such as LSN, assemblies, safety drills, handbook videos, health surveys, Social Emotional Learning lessons (which surround topics such as anxiety, motivation, and procrastination), and any other administrative interruption that alters the usual bell times throughout the day.
On days when there aren’t any kind of administrative interruption to put into flex time, it would be a students’ choice time. This means the students could go anywhere in the school to do whatever they please. They could work on school work in the library, talk to a teacher and make up a quiz, or simply hang out with friends in the commons.

WHAT’S BAD

One issue with flex time is the possibility that students will end up wasting that time everyday. On days when students don’t have an assembly or an SEL lesson, they have the choice of doing whatever they want. While it is possible that some students may be productive during this time, it is also plausible that a large portions of kids will simply spend 30 minutes talking to their friends everyday, and we will have lost 30 minutes of valuable instructional time.
Students may also become reliant on flex time in order to get their work done. This could lead to students not getting their work done or done well if they save too much for flex time.
We also believe that flex time is a waste of valuable academic instructional time. We already have less hours of contact time with an eight period schedule compared to other schools and giving up additional possible 30 minutes a day could be detrimental to many classes.
If a student needs to talk to a teacher or make a quiz, then there is the activity bus after school that allows a student to stay late and do those things.
Flex time seems redundant of classes like waiver and Guided Study. If students want the opportunities of flex time, they can take those classes.

WHAT’S GOOD

Flex time gives students who cannot stay late because of sports or other commitments a chance to connect with teachers. Schools such as Issaquah, which is currently implementing 30 minutes of flex time four days a week called “Nest Time,” report that lots of students utilize the time to talk to teachers.
Additionally, keeping a consistent schedule and not having to adjust it for things like assemblies means things are always fair between A day and B day, and teachers are able to plan lessons without ever having to worry about an unplanned last minute adjustment to the schedule for the day.
Also, flex time puts the power in the students’ hands, giving students more responsibility and independence that will prepare them more appropriately for the future.
30 minutes a day only takes away about seven and a half minutes from each class. This is a rather insignificant amount of time.

OVERALL

We at the Patriot Press mostly believe that flex time is not worth the cost. We believe that it takes too much time away from teachers without offering enough new opportunities for students. Overall, we do not believe that Liberty should enact any kind of flex time in the future. Come tell us what you think.

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Press Perspective: Flex time? More like waste of time