A new school year often brings changes-changes in classes, teachers, and sometimes friends. This year, the Flex program will be undergoing changes that will alter the structure of Flex in a new way for the first time in its 48 years.
“For the first time we will have two teams,” Flex teacher Robin Moten said. “We will have students during first and second hour and students during fourth and fifth hour.”
Mr. Wicker, Miss Moten, Mrs. Whitehead teach in the morning. Ms. Olsen, Ms. Meleca, and Mr. Harwood, teach in the afternoon. Mr. Stein and Mrs. Passarelli will teach during both sessions.
According to Moten, the center of Flex has always been the community. Rather than splitting up a community, having two groups of Flex students was an idea to build communities in Flex closer together.
“Our administrators felt that if community is what we are trying to get, it would help if we were smaller,” Moten said.
Assistant Principal Deb Boyer believes that the changes to the Flex program will be beneficial for students learning as well.
“It was getting to a point where Flex that had a class bigger than many college lectures,” Boyer said.
According to Boyer, the problem with these 200 student instruction periods is that they featured a teacher-to-student ratio too large for students earning both their core English and Social Studies requirements through Flex.
“In order for there to be a legitimate teacher to student ratio we needed to break it in half and bring some additional teachers into it,” Boyer said.
While junior Carly Taub sees the benefits of taking a new approach to the program, she currently feels that the modifications could result in a loss of that community feel.
“I was upset by the changes because one of the most important parts of Flex is the community and it’s being taken away when we are split up,” Taub said.
Taub started to see a division in the Flex community when she noticed she would not be in the same Flex class as her friends who she has been with for the past two years.
“It’s hard because all my friends and I are split up,” Taub said. “I’m really going to miss being with them this year.”
Senior Masha Parfenov said no matter the circumstance, Flex will remain a community.
“Flex is still a community together, just because we are separated between am and pm we are still one community,” Parfenov said.
Although there are mixed feeling about how the new structure of Flex will affect the community, Taub is excited for a new element of Flex the changes will allow her to experience.
“I’m one of the kids who gets to be in one Flex for a trimester and the other flex for the rest of the year so I’m excited for that,” Taub said.
Junior Abbey Centers said the personalization students will get with the way Flex is set up is something she looks forward to.
“Hopefully by being in smaller hours, we will be able to function better and have a more enjoyable learning experience,” Centers said.
Moten said she was apprehensive to changing the program at first, but is willing to try her absolute hardest to ensure the best possible outcome.
“I’m going to do the best I can, first and foremost for the students of Flex, because that is what they deserve,” Moten said.
It is important to note that these changes are not set in stone. According to Moten, this year will just be seeing how these changes work out.
“This will certainly be an experimental year,” Moten said.
One positive thing Moten has already seen come out of the changes is the way they are bringing the students together to make them work.
“The student reaction has been tremendously positive,” Moten said, “and I’m very proud of them.”
Moten said she was especially proud of the way this year’s senior class came together to insure they would keep their Flex community functioning.
Parfenov feels that, together, the senior class is ready to take on whatever can be thrown at them.
“We just said ‘bring it on’,” Parfenov said.
She even sees the changes as an opportunity for a challenge and believes the program will benefit from the experience.
“Experiencing this transition is the biggest learning experience we can take out of [the situation],” Parfenov said.
Centers believes no matter what the Flex program goes through, the Flex team will be able to get through it and maintain the best interest of the students
“Although the changes are controversial, the Flex team always has the best intentions,” Centers said.