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Flex Time rolls out school-wide

Cassie Ales, Layout Editor

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Alternative Copy Story and Photos by Luke Dickinson

In addition to the new building expansions and upgrades and a larger school student body, students can also expect a change to their schedules with Flex time; a free period of 40 minutes which will take place between third and fourth hour every Tuesday and Thursday.

Flex time is expected to build relationships for staff and students, provide academic equity and improve the social and emotional well-being of students. With the new EDU Pass app, students can choose to be a part of clubs, study hall or even socialize with friends during Flex time.

With the ninth graders being brought up to the high school this year,  a lot has been changed in the school in hopes that the transition will be easy for all grades. Flex time is one of those changes.

We formed a ninth grade transition committee and flex time was a product of that. We thought it would be a helpful time for not only ninth graders but for all the grades.”

— Katie Barre

teacher Katie Barre, who also is a member of the Flex time committee,  said.

When students are allowed to choose their location for Flex time, they can do so by checking into a teacher’s class or location with the EDU Pass app, which can be downloaded on their phone. The app allows students to search for teachers to go to during Flex time and it even allows them to see where their friends will be headed during the free period. However, the app does offer a “stealth in” feature, which allows students to pick a location without their friends being able to see where they are if they desire a quiet study.

With the app crashing in the first week of it being used by the roughly 3,000 students of Stillwater, it was put under question whether the app would work for the school at all. However, counselor Kate Nelson explains that if the app is used throughout the week by students over different times, the app should work.

“The app was discovered when Principal Bach was visiting other schools, it was what those schools were using. It was developed by students who were computer whizzes and have now graduated. If the company does not fix the problem, students using it during the week and not all at once should still allow us to be able to use the app,” Nelson said.

If the app does work for the school, it will be essential to students when they are in the process of planning what they will do for their Flex time.

While the majority of Flex times will be free for students to choose what activities to participate in, one-fourth of the Flex times will be dedicated to personalized planning, such as ACT Prep, MCIS planning or registrations. For these sessions, students will be placed into their scheduled rooms, which they sat in on during the first day of Flex time, with the teacher who is meant to be their students’ adult advocate for all four years of high school.

When asked why Principal Robert Bach, decided this was a necessary change to our school, Nelson recalled Bach’s visits to Mahtomedi High School and Centennial High School, which took place in last April, “He researched and visited quite a few schools and received a lot of positive feedback. He wanted for students to be able to alleviate stress and have a time during the day to access teacher,” Nelson said.

Bach’s visits to these high schools, which have their own versions of Flex time, was where he got the idea for Flex time at our school. Bach decided providing students with a free time, where they could choose what they do, would be a beneficial change for Stillwater students.

However, with Flex time being new this year, many returning students to Stillwater Area High School were skeptical of the idea, even after first trying it out, “It definitely makes things more rushed [in regular class] which makes teachers and us students slightly more stressed,” senior Katy Hohenstein said.

Despite Hohenstein admitting that she feels her classes are more rushed, she does feel that Flextime is a good thing because it allows her to do her homework in school without getting distracted and says she would have liked it if Flex time had always been offered to students, “But I wish I could have had it when I was in the beginning years of high school.”

Flex time was a carefully thought out free period for our school and has already received many positive reviews from students. While it has encountered a hiccup or two during its first takeoff, many staff members like Nelson, remain hopeful and are excited with what the school will learn from Flex time in the future.

“I have already heard from an overwhelming amount of students that they like Flex time. But it is new and we all, including the staff have a little bit of learning to do.”  

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “Flex Time rolls out school-wide”

  1. Mason Wylie on October 29th, 2017 7:46 pm

    This comment is for the alternate copy story by Luke Dickenson. I picked this story because flex time is something I can connect with, due to me being a student that exercises this time. I thought that the interview questions and responses are very well scaled out. Also, the writing was very easy to understand, and it was very concise and brief. I liked how this was written out and organized. Good job!

    [Reply]

  2. Kaitlyn Kirby on November 10th, 2017 9:16 am

    I chose to read this story because it is something that affects everyone at Stillwater High School. Your story is very well written. I like how you had the benefits and some negative effects of Flex Time. Your description of Flex Time was very good and detailed. The quotes really help to bring the story together and showed many different perspectives that staff and students had on flex time.

    [Reply]

  3. Mikayla Cousineau on November 13th, 2017 7:53 pm

    My attention was brought to this article by the unique headline. As a student experiencing flex time first hand, I especially found this story refreshing because it is a current hot topic at the school, therefore much of the same information is repeated in community discussions. However, this article did a wonderful job of balancing information that would appeal to both new learners of this information and experienced students. The writer did a strong job of bringing resolution to the story in the concluding paragraphs by acknowledging that flex is still going through a process of experimentation, and by following up with a primary source that gives readers insight as to what the future brings. I also thought that the alternative copy story did a great job of utilizing the background to draw in the attention of readers. Well done!

    [Reply]

  4. Fotini Kloos on November 27th, 2017 9:13 pm

    You make every part of flex descriptive to the readers which makes it very resourceful to the students who don’t know anything about flex time. I like how you have the EDU pass app linked to the app store for people to download it. There is also no bias or opinions which is great!

    [Reply]

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Flex Time rolls out school-wide