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Implementing a Flex Time Period

Creating flexible learning time for students to focus on high-value instruction

Overview

Flexible time offers students a chance to work on school assignments, meet with teachers to review content, or choose to attend enrichment offerings. Teachers can assign students to intervention or review work if needed. Otherwise, students can choose an enrichment class to attend, complete homework, or work on class projects. When used for Advisory or Tutorial (a block of time set aside for additional or targeted instruction), flex time periods are typically shorter than a regular class period. While the format might vary from school to school, the purpose remains the same: to give students a chance to follow their own interests and manage their own learning time.

At Sanborn Regional High School, a flex period is a part of every student's day and aligns with the school’s competency-based learning model. Students can get help with standards they are struggling with or work on enrichment or honors projects. The school’s bell schedule operates on a six-day (A-F) cycle. “A” and “D” days are reserved for the students to engage in traditional advisory activities with their adviser, while B, C, E, and F days are reserved for focused learning activities. On the first day of the cycle (“A” day), students meet individually with their adviser to develop a schedule for where they will spend their focused learning time for the rest of the six-day cycle.

Variations:

  • Advisory: Between 25 and 60 minutes can be built into the schedule on a daily or weekly basis to support students with social-emotional learning, school culture, study skills, or other enrichment opportunities. Some schools create small class sizes for Advisory and assign students to the same teacher for multiple years to foster stronger student-teacher relationships.
  • Flex Time Hour: Provides a daily or weekly time for students to self-select the learning activity they want or need. Schools may use Flex Time Hour for on-campus virtual learning opportunities, electives, tutorials, community meetings, career exploration, or other options which students freely select.
  • Flex Days: A weekly Flex Day may be an early release day, where students have a completely flexible day to do work based on their individual needs, interests, and community goals. Students work independently or in groups, across grade levels, on interdisciplinary projects or activities. Some schools with Flex Days work with students to build individual learning plans or conduct internships or service learning off campus.