Natural Resource

2016.03.09_Resource_Rathsack

Online tool FlexiSched will roll out in April

By Justin Scherzer, Current Staff

Resource time is about to have a sudden jump in technology and efficiency with the implementation of the new FlexiSched program.

FlexiSched is an online scheduling program that allows teachers and students to adjust where the students will attend resource time on a day-by-day basis. The program has been piloted over the past several weeks in order to find out student and teacher opinions of the system as well as to test its technological aspects. FlexiSched will go schoolwide April 7.

The overall intention of FlexiSched is to provide better academic monitoring of students, additional advisement opportunities for the counseling department, and to give students choice in enrichment opportunities, according to assistant principal Ryan Tomczyk.

On Fridays, all resource teachers will check student grades, and then discuss with students what they should strive to academically achieve. Struggling students will be placed in resource classes where they can receive extra help, and students performing well will be presented with opportunities to expand their knowledge or interests.

A major goal is to remove the hassle with the current pass system, Tomczyk said. Students have to receive a pass ahead of time from the teacher they would like to see, and then they must go to their resource teacher, and give the pass to them before they are allowed to leave and go to their destination.

2016.03.09_FlexiSched

The FlexiSched online student interface. Click to enlarge.

“Right now as we see it, we have these passes where you have to go to your homeroom teacher and then back to your class and quite honestly we need to utilize every minute during the school day and when you’re taking 5 to 10 minutes out of the resource it really cuts down on your opportunity for learning,” Tomczyk said.

Tomczyk said the pilot stage was about working out the kinks and making sure all questions about the system and attendance issues could be addressed.

“I think we’re going have less kids in the hallway, and kids’ time with the teachers are going to be maximized, so I think that’s just an advantage all around for everybody,” said Terry Brace Krueger, an East English teacher who is piloting the program. “There was a little bit of miscommunication initially, but other than that it went very smoothly. I had my kids sign up for themselves on my computer, it’s a very user-friendly system.”

So far, beyond a few minor technical and communication hiccups, piloting teachers seem to appreciate the FlexSched program and have high hopes for its future.

“One of the things that I like about it as a teacher is when I have students that I know are struggling, I can create a group of those students, and with the click of a button address that whole group to report to resource on that day, so that way if I want to focus on something, I can very quickly and easily get to kids who need it,” Brace Krueger said.

“Once it gets going, I think everybody’s going to really like it.”
– Travis Riesop, physical education teacher

“I think it’s really good for kids to get help when they need it and the teachers can monitor and see where kids can get help academically, and also that it can provide other opportunities for kids who are excelling in classes to go do something that they enjoy or go to places that they like to be,” said Travis Riesop, an East physical education teacher who is also helping pilot the program.

Riesop and Brace Krueger believe once the kinks of the program are ironed out, and students are given more options in places to choose from, students will appreciate FlexiSched.

“Once it gets going, I think everybody’s going to really like it,” Riesop said.

FlexiSched is completely online, and is designed to make the resource sign-ups as efficient as possible. On grade-check Fridays, students will have access to the program, and they will either be assigned a resource schedule, or their teacher will help them choose one for the following week. Students will be able to access their resource schedules from anywhere through their school email accounts in order to see what options are available for sign-up for upcoming days, as well as what they are currently enrolled in during that week.

“So far the change is kind of working, and I haven’t seen too many issues so far, but we’re still new into this so it’s difficult,” said Chris Huesemann, an East ninth grader participating in the pilot program.

Enrichment opportunities may be limited at first, but the plan is to add more opportunities as the year goes on, building a strong base for the program in years to come.

“The hope is that some teachers are going to develop some more creative things to do like offer stretching or relaxation. We’re not limited just to scholarly things, I think there will eventually be something for everyone,” Brace Krueger said.

(Top image: East ninth graders study during resource time in Gail Rathsack’s classroom on Wednesday. Right now resource time is similar to a traditional homeroom, but the FlexiSched program will allow students to attend different places to address learning needs and interests. Photographs by Justin Scherzer, Current Staff.)

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