Testimonial is a regular feature of the new IMLA website. This is where we’ll share reflections from IMLA members about what they’ve taken from our conference and implemented in their schools.
The following Testimonial comes from Zach Dwello, Principal of Nampa Christian Middle School.
Last year at the IMLA conference at Lone Star Middle School, I attended a session about using a “Flex” schedule. A “Flex” schedule is a time during the week where the school tweaks the schedule so that students can break away from the normal aspects of the day and either get extra help or enjoy an activity with their friends. I thought this was an idea that we could implement into our middle school, so I went to our superintendent to discuss our options. After some conversation, we decided to implement a “Flex” day during our Friday advisory. Advisory is a 20 minute period at the end of the day designed to build rapport between students and teachers, provide discussion opportunities, and create more accountability for students.
Our “Flex” day begins when my secretary runs a report that showing which students have a grade lower than 70% in any class. She also runs a report that shows which students have missing or incomplete assignments. If a student’s name is on this list, he/she will go to a specific teacher during the advisory portion of our “Flex” day to get extra help where needed. The students whose names are not on the list are broken into groups to participate in different activities that we plan.
The “Flex” day is working well for a number of reasons. First, it lets students know, on a weekly basis, what assignments they are missing and what class they are struggling in. Second, it allows the student to get extra help from the teacher during the school day. Third, it rewards students who consistently turn in their assignments and keep their grades up. Finally, it motivates students who are in the classroom to get their work done on time so they can socialize with their friends.
The “Flex” day provides a brief reprieve from the academic structure of school. However, it also
provides accountability so that struggling students are not losing, but gaining individualized instruction from the teacher. The “Flex” day has been a great asset to Nampa Christian Middle School.
Way to go IMLA!!
Mr. Zach Dwello
Nampa Christian Middle School
A big thanks to Zach for sharing this with us. We hope you’ll share your implementations and successes with us, as well.