FLEX: From the students’ perspective

Brianna Ivey

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Change is in the air this school year in the Mechanicsburg school district, such as the splitting of elementary school into first to third-graders and fourth through fifth-graders, along with the new start and end times, but for MASH, the most prominent change could quite possibly be the implementation of the new FLEX schedule.

This year, each class is forty-five minutes long, with two lunches instead of three, and a thirty-five minute period at the end of the day for students to sign up for club-like activities to attend before school ends for the day.

An interesting idea, but the question stands: Do the students like the new changes?

I took it upon myself to create a school-wide poll to find this out for myself. At the time of writing, I have a sample of two hundred and five students, all of which with their own opinions.

The results are as told below.

 

Q: What is your opinion on FLEX as a whole?

A: 62.9% of students who voted have a positive view on FLEX, which is a fairly good percentage. 25.2% are neutral, 8.4% have a negative opinion and 3.5% who voted attend Vo-Tech, therefore being inexperienced with the FLEX activities. Overall, fairly promising results.

 

Q: What do you think of the class length?

 

For context to those who are new to the school classes used to span across about fifty-one minutes, though they are now forty-five minutes long each.

 

A: 67% of voters prefer this shorter class length, while 23% find it too short to get much done. Surprisingly, that leaves 10% who believe classes are still too long, despite being shorter than years previous.

 

Q: Do you think there is adequate variety in FLEX activities thus far?

 

A: A whopping 80.9% are satisfied with the abundance of FLEX activities so far, which is admirable. Putting aside Vo-Tech students, the remaining 16.6% believe more variety would be desirable.

 

Q: What do you think of lunch size?

 

To preface, for new students to MASH, there used to be three lunches, though this year, it has been downsized to two.

 

A: On this particular question, the population is very split. 50.5% see no problem with the abundance of students at lunches, the remaining 49.5% find it too crowded for comfort. Out of all questions, this one had the most conflicting opinions.

 

Q: What do you think about lunch length?

 

A: My apologies to the Vo-Tech students, but I’m going to set you aside for a moment. Out of students who stay for the entire lunch, 71.6% like the longer lunch length, which, once again, is fairly good. 13.4% find lunch too long, and the remaining 12.4% wish it were even longer. I was honestly surprised by the ladder- I’d figured, if anything, the remainder would find it to be too long for students’ liking.

 

Q: Do you have any ideas for the future of FLEX? If so, please explain.

 

A: To my chagrin, I got far too many people simply typing in ‘no’ for my liking, but I digress. Here are a few of the responses I found most interesting, though there were many more:

 

Many want the opportunity for Juniors to go home early.

Spikeball is a popular idea for a FLEX activity.

 

“The arrangement should be through grades. Seniors choose first then juniors, etc.”

 

“In CV, they have multiple flexes throughout the day. Maybe we could incorporate this? I would also like to have longer flexes because the length right now is too short.”

 

“Increase flex size student size. I want to join something but it only holds 25 people. “

 

“Take a survey on what student want instead of just adding random flex classes.”

 

“Allow more freedom. Instead of having everyone in an assigned place allow us to float around and visit teachers or clubs or commons as we need to. It would allow flex time to be used more fully (theoretically). “

 

Flex could be used to explore courses. Instead of committing an entire semester or year to find out if you really wanted to take a course, students could get a taste of what the course is like in a flex period.”

 

“Make a list of students who attend a specific flex period a lot like Mario Kart and have a cut off for them so other people can get a turn.”

 

“Please add more activities- More physical activities, too!”

 

“I feel that there should be more freedom, such as a gym time, where you can just go to the gym and hang out. I also think that you should allow for more time to pick flex blocks.”

 

“I think that students that share similar passions should be able to form their own club/group during flex with permission from the counsellors/principals.”

 

On the other side, here are a few unconventional responses, that were an experience to read:

 

“We need to have a school-wide American Ninja Warrior competition all students and staff must compete.”

 

“Nap time”

 

“Eliminate it and go back to the way it was.”

 

“Get rid of FLEX and make it advisory because we never can actually get a FLEX period with the teachers we want, when we want.”

 

I also asked for complaints, and these are the few that I found most prominent and logical:

 

“The FLEX get filled so fast and it because people don’t have access or immediate access to internet all the time and many of the FLEX classes are not able to be done with friends because of how it is set up.”

 

“Some FLEX’s don’t let us do anything, they don’t let us use computers or phone, even for music or homework.”

 

“There are way too many people at lunch at once.”

 

“The lunch is way too crowded, the FLEX is pointless because the whole idea was so teachers could call down students during it but it has the same effect if teachers just asked students to stay after school like we used to; also, the shortened class time puts more homework on students because not enough is done in class. Then, most people either have early release or a study hall… It is a pointless system with only negative effects.”

 

“Those involved in sports and after-school activities cannot access the portal till later, and miss a lot of the good slots. The portal should open at 6 or later.”

 

“School is for class; the administrators can move the school day back 30 min and I get that people get out early for sports, but sports are EXTRAcurricular activities. They don’t come before class. They call it Flex, but all I see is the middle school’s study hall system.”

 

Interestingly, despite the nature of the questionnaire, I got complaints about completely unrelated topics such as the location of the breakfast carts, lack of urinal dividers and the agony inflicted on to one unfortunate anonymous student by German III, but overall, most of the criticism was on topic and insightful toward the minds of the student body.

Overall, most students don’t mind the new FLEX schedule, although they certainly see aspects that they’d like to have changed. Hopefully, writing this article will help give the higher-ups some insight to the students’ point of view that they rarely genuinely receive, and will benefit everyone as the school year progresses.

Love or despise FLEX, the new schedule is a great change, and will certainly take time for everyone to grow accustomed to, students and staff alike. Hopefully the kinks are smoothed out as the months go on, and everyone involved will be able to benefit from this change, but for now, everyone will just have to wait and see where the implementation of FLEX takes MASH as a whole.

 

1 Comment

One Response to “FLEX: From the students’ perspective”

  1. Matthew Brath on September 28th, 2018 1:49 pm

    There’s still no Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide viewing party!

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FLEX: From the students’ perspective