Photo by Kaelin Hughes

By: Kaelin Hughes/Content Editor

By now, everyone has started to/attempted to come to terms with the new structure of flex. Its purpose is to make sure students are using this period wisely, compared to previous years.  Admittedly, I definitely misused the flex period, and now I feel like it’s better than ever.

Monday’s “character development” objective allows us students to come out of our shells! It allows us to consider different aspects of ourselves and even find new things! Personally, in my flex period, we’ve discussed what kind of learners we are (audio, visual, or kinesthetic), if we are introverts/extroverts, and, although simple, our feelings. It really allows our student body at Blue Ridge to connect more with themselves, and the others around them.  

Tuesday and Thursday’s flex period as a test/class makeup period makes it easier for teachers to plan when they’ll have their students take tests/quizzes, and allows students to see them for help prior to a test.  AP US History (APUSH) and English teacher Ms. Katie Brown really likes the new flex, because it is more structured and students have to use their time wisely.  Brown does think, however, that the flex period may be trouble to her APUSH students, because they don’t have an AP Study period like the upperclassmen AP students, so they won’t have a lot of extra time to complete assignments.  Essentially, these two days of the week ‘force’ us to focus on our academics, which has potential to boost our grades and push us further in the right direction to academic success.

Wednesday, even though I dislike reading a majority of the time as do a lot of students, is beneficial for all of us. According to USCB Geography, benefits from reading include vocabulary expansion, memory improvement, and even stronger analytical thinking skills. Skills like that are important to our English classes at Blue Ridge, especially our AP English courses. Keeping Wednesdays as Sustained Silent Reading day aids us students in developing skills that will overall help us in our courses.

Fridays are at heart another Tuesday or Thursday when there are no club meetings, or when it isn’t the Career Advisement Period (CAP).  It’s a period to work on homework and consult with our teachers on topics in our courses, so why not take advantage of it? Besides working on homework, a CAP can be very beneficial to us students, as it allows us to dive into many different careers under a generalized subject.  This year, students were given two options for their career advisement period, and they will be put in both, one for the first semester, the other for the second. It may seem a little redundant for some juniors and a lot of seniors, but it can be extremely helpful to the underclassmen. Club meetings, well, are club meetings, and allow the student body to plan/discuss events that have potential to benefit us students and our community.

Although flex’s new structure has nothing but good intentions, I cannot ignore that there ARE some problems that students have brought up.  Student athletes, sports managers, and other students in extra-curricular activities may be having a difficult time balancing their work with their sports because they are given only two or three flex periods out of five days a week to complete any work that they cannot complete the night before. I completely understand this. I help out with/am in theater productions, and staying till eight or nine o’clock at night during show week is difficult, but I always manage to do some homework with my free time during events and after. Just remember, do not overwork yourself, and everything will be alright.

Another point that can be made is the reveal of the new flex structure locked students into classes that may be too much to handle with their extra-curricular activities. If students were notified at the end of the 2018-19 school year about the new structure, it may have helped them make decisions about Honors/AP classes, or any elective course that could’ve had more work than a usual class. I understand the problem with that, but the structure of flex being changed was not with ill-intention, it was only to help us students stay on track with our academics and overall help us.

All in all, our administration at Blue Ridge wants nothing but the best for us in our academic careers, and they’re doing what they can to ensure success for us by changing the structure of flex. It may seem awful, but it really does have potential to help the student body.

To see why some students prefer the old flex, visit Carissa Zawiski’s article “Is the New Flex Actually Helping Students?”

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