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Learning to Flex: How High Schools are Thinking Like Colleges


***For our 5th installment in the Flex Mod series, I share with you the words of a student who researched and considered carefully the implications of change.***

Learning to Flex: How High Schools Are Thinking Like Colleges­

By Elijah Marcum


Watch out teachers, students are coming at you, but during class. It’s called “Flexible Modular Scheduling,” or “Flex Mod” to be easier on the tongue. Flex Mod is a relatively new type of high school class scheduling that allows for students to have more creative freedom and personal responsibility in managing their time at school. 


Students go to different classes at different times on different days, while also working with teachers to decide what classes take priority at any given moment in the year.


 “Flex scheduling gives high school students a chance to experience a more college-like atmosphere,” said high school English teacher Mr. Tompkins, “where more responsibility shifts from the teachers to the students on prioritizing their schedule.”


Using this schedule splits class periods into “mods,” which typically last around thirty minutes long. This means no more bells, no more “periods,” and no more mindlessly plodding to the same class at the same time every day.


 “High school class scheduling hasn’t changed in decades, but the way we teach and the way we learn has changed,” Tompkins added. “Flex scheduling is a modern attempt to work with students on best using the time they have here at school.”


Throughout the week, classes shift from anywhere between one to three mods long. This allows for classes, such as science or art, to have extended amount of time, rather than fitting a 90-minute science lab into a 45-minute class period. 


This is similar to block scheduling, but it differs in that every weekday is a different schedule, opposed to just an A and B rotation.


“As a junior high teacher, I can see it being beneficial if we [the class] can agree that the first twenty minutes of class is directive learning or directive teaching, and then the rest of that time is open independent time,” junior high Language Arts teacher Mr. Straight explains. “That could be used to work on another class’ stuff. I think that’s a good idea.”


If a student misses one class due to a different extended class, the student is responsible to communicate with the teacher and go to the missed class at a different time to make up the homework.


Logan-Magnolia has been contemplating adopting this schedule for the last two years now and has looked to another area school, Van Meter, for counseling on best practices. Van Meter implemented Flex Mod Scheduling years ago, and it seems to be working well. 


I threw some questions at our mildly well-known friend Chase Bucksbee about the possibility of Flex Mod coming to Logan-Magnolia. 


I looked at Chase and asked the deep question do you know what flexible modular scheduling is?

To which he quickly answered:


<awkward pause>

He continued.

“It could be a great idea, but also bad for kids who aren’t good at scheduling,” Bucksbee concluded. 


Overall, Flex Mod has a lot of possibilities, but could inherently cause a lot of problems as well. As with anything new, it will take time to adjust and learn what works best.  However, for a school that consistently promotes preparing its students for college and the "real world," doesn't it make sense to start with mirroring a typical student's day with the type of schedule he or she might find in college or at the workplace? 


Flex Mod Scheduling seems to be on the horizon, are you ready for it? 

Learning to Flex: How High Schools are Thinking Like Colleges

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