Hurricane Amplifies Potential Need For Flex Days

Clayton High School Principal Bennett Jones (left), teacher Katelyn Clifton (center), and senior Taylor Corpening (right) discuss the upcoming Flex Learning Day.

Clayton High School is piloting a Flexible Learning Days program to keep students and staff learning even when they can’t be physically present at school.

The school will hold its first Flex Day nest Friday, Sept. 28. This is one of six days built into their school calendar for both students and staff for the current school year.

A successful implementation could lead into Flex Days being used during periods of inclement weather when the school is closed in the future.

Flex Days will allow teachers to plan activities and learning assignments that will be facilitated off campus. Students will complete their assignments from a location of their choosing other than school.

All Clayton High School staff will use the Flex Day for professional development. The structure of the days will include “office hours” for teachers, where they will be virtually available to students.

“Flex Day isn’t a day off, but an opportunity for our staff to improve themselves and for our students to choose their learning environment and activities,” said Clayton High Principal Bennett Jones. “In addition, it will allow them to get out into the community and apply this knowledge and put it into practice.”

Flex Days tie into the district’s JOCO 2020 initiative, which aims to transform learning for students, by creating impactful learning experiences for all students in all courses.

The school’s plan is to create a flexible, comprehensive environment that continues to build digital learning platforms so that learners can utilize digital resources to reinforce and enhance classroom instruction.

During these days staff will also hone their skills as professionals and participate in classes ranging from leadership training to conflict resolution.

The school chose three days per semester, and they tentatively scheduled for Sept. 28, Oct. 31, Nov. 20, Jan. 28, Feb. 27, March 18, and April 8. These dates are near a workday, holiday, or early release day. This allows for the continuation of professional development concepts on the surrounding dates as well.

Clayton High is the first school in the district to implement the concept of flexible learning days. It will give students the chance to try something new, and it could potentially impact the ways teaching and learning occurs in the district.

The idea for the Flex Days came about as part of Clayton High’s initiative to create a culture of flexibility, personalization, and established relationships among students, staff, parents, and the community.

During the 2017-2018 school year, Clayton High implemented one Flex Day to test the initiative. Following the day, a survey was taken of all stakeholders. The survey data overwhelmingly reported (93 percent) that all stakeholder groups like the idea and format of the Flex Day and welcomed it as an option in the future. After reviewing this data the school decided to implement six days in the 2018-2019 school year.

During the Flex Days, students who do not have internet access at home will be provided alternate assignments that can be completed without the use of technology and returned to school on the following day.

“This is a real world example of personalized learning in action,” said Jones. “We are excited about what this means for our students and staff, and the future of our educational practices.”