Local News

Wake Students Get Lesson In 'Flexibility'

Posted August 13, 2004 10:41 a.m. EDT

— Most students under a traditional calendar went back to class this week. Parents with children in many

Wake County

middle schools are finding it is anything but traditional.

Middle schools in Wake County are making schedules flexible. Students at schools like Davis Drive Middle spend more time in each class and have fewer classes a day.

Teacher Wanda Johnson said the flex-schedule is an adjustment, but she likes it. Students spend about 80 minutes on three core classes a day and then have an elective, such as art.

"There are always skeptics. It just takes a little getting used to," she said.

Linda Bird, principal at Davis Drive Middle School, said it helps teachers pack more in at one time.

"Teachers, traditionally, could not answer all student questions," Bird said.

"It really has given us a chance to incorporate more practice time into the schedule," Johnson said.

Some people may compare the flex-schedule to the block schedule that high schoolers use, but there is a distinct difference. Middle school teachers have more freedom to start and stop their clocks.

"The time is in their hands. The middle school teachers can say, 'Well, we need to have a 90-minute period today or we need a 2-hour class today because we have an engineer building bridges. The high school teachers don't have that option."

The flex-schedule was first implemented in Wake County about 4 years ago. Eighteen of Wake County's 28 middle schools have made the switch.