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Meeting the needs of students in a flexible, timely manner may be one of the most difficult components of personalized learning. Students are at all different levels of learning, emotionally and academically. As a teacher, how your students learn and how quickly they process information may not go as planned. But a system that would allow you to adapt might seem to good to be true. Or is it?
Enter responsive scheduling. What is it exactly? A way of scheduling students that enables you to quickly adjust to student needs. For example, let’s say you have a few students really struggling to meet a competency, and you simply don’t feel like you have enough class time to give them the help they need. Or maybe you have a student who is facing an emotional crisis, but also shouldn’t be missing too much class time. Responsive scheduling allows you to put students where they really need to be, when they need to be there.
Instead of worrying about pulling kids out of class for social-emotional supports, or juggling things so that you can help them before or after class, responsive scheduling allows you to schedule them to get the help they need. How?
Responsive scheduling allows schools to create a flexible period of time within the school day called a Flex Block, Activity Period, WIN TIME, Enrichment/Intervention block, etc. Generally lasting 30-45 minutes, this time is dedicated to giving students the extra academic help, intervention, emotional supports, or enrichment time that they need. During this time, teachers create special offerings for students, be it test prep in one class, an art project, or just a space for them to work on a Genius Hour project. Additionally, some students may be able to meet with their guidance counselor one on one or in small groups to address their concerns or discuss post-high schools plans.
Being able to quickly and flexibly schedule students into this time period is important. Enriching Students software allows staff members to schedule students into specific flex time offerings in a matter of clicks, in advance or even the day of. Why is this helpful?
Going back to the examples considered before, let’s say you have a student in your class who seems upset, or stressed. You could very quickly schedule them to go see the school counselor, that day and get help. The same could be done with students who have behavioral issues. Consistently sending them out of class won’t solve the problem, and will result in them missing more and more instructional time. Scheduling them into your school’s flex block instead to try and work and the problem will result meeting with staff who can help work out the problem, while missing 0 minutes of instructional time. Students who seriosouly need academic help can similarly benefit by going to see the teachers from whom they actually need help, without the often ineffective strategy of trying to see them before or after school. Specifically at the middle school level, this type of responsive intervention is extremely helpful.
So, why choose this form of scheduling? Consider the benefits. Students will be getting help based upon their actual needs. They will have opportunities to work on projects or pursue an idea that interests them. Teachers and students will develop a better bond. Behavioral issues will decrease, and academic achievement will increase (Check out the results from a couple of high schools in our video Why Create a Flex Block). Overall, school culture will improve. It doesn’t get much better than that!