Hackett High School is re-thinking the way they provide education to their students. In an effort to provide students with the best possible education, while maintaining the traditional educational components that have led to previous success, Hackett High School has incorporated a Flex Instructional Time into the daily schedule. The Flex Instructional Time occurs between third and fourth hour each day for all students in grades seven through twelve.
On Mondays during Flex, all students report to Flex homerooms for a life skills lesson taught in small groups. The life skills lessons are designed to prepare students with the everyday skills to be successful and productive in college, career, and the community. High School Principal Michael Freeman stated, “We saw a need in our students to understand the basic life skills that are needed to be successful and developed a method to teach those skills to our students.” The life skills lessons are consistent from group to group and are shared through Google Classroom. Some examples of lessons taught this school year to students are how to properly shake hands and introduce oneself, how to answer job interview questions effectively, and how to write requests through formal letters.
Following the life skills lesson on Monday, their homeroom teacher conducts grade checks for all students in the group. If a student is passing all classes, that student will be in ILT (Independent Learning Time) for the remainder of the week during Flex. During ILT, students have the opportunity to collaborate with any teacher on campus during Flex to get tutoring, assistance, or to make-up assignments or tests. The students in ILT possess the freedom to seek assistance where they feel is most needed. During ILT, the computer labs and library are also open and supervised for students to work on class projects, do research, or work on any needed assignment. Hackett senior Beau Nelson says, “ILT gives me time to get in the computer lab and do research that furthers my understanding beyond what I learned in the class.” Next school year, students will also have the opportunity to work with robotics and drones during ILT in conjunction with the new Computer Science courses that will be offered at Hackett High School.
If a student is failing a class, that student is assigned SLT (Scheduled Learning Time) with the teacher of the specific class that the student is failing. SLT allows the student to work with that specific teacher during Flex to assist the student with improving their class grade and overcoming learning gaps. Veteran Hackett math teacher Ron Pierce commented, “SLT allows me to go over questions missed on a test with a failing student and have the opportunity to work with them individually on math concepts they are struggling with.” Hackett District Curriculum Coordinator Vickie Webb added, “Parents have approached me to let me know how appreciative they were that our school was staying on top of missing assignments alleviating the need for them to do that at home.”
The workforce of tomorrow is ever changing and the Hackett School District understands the importance of making education relevant to the needs of the current students by preparing them for the unknowns of the future. According to Hackett Superintendent Edward Ray, “Flex time has proven to be a great tool for generating excitement with students. It has motivated many students to stay caught up in their classes so that they keep ILT versus having SLT. At the same time, it helps students learn to manage their time during the day, and the students really like that opportunity.” Hackett High School’s Flex Instructional Time is helping meet the needs of the students through innovation and flexibility with the hope of a bright future for all students at Hackett.