• Sabina Csak


Over the past 4 years, GHS has had free time at the end of each school day. The usage of this period has evolved numerous times, from Opportunity Block, to Social Emotional Learning, and finally to Flextime.

During an interview, Vice Principal Dana Tulotta explained that this free period was due to the school start time changes back in 2017. “School originally went until 3:15,” Tulotta stated. “That was an issue because of all the athletes that were missing too much class.”

The following year this time was changed to Opportunity Block. During this time period, students were required to stay in their last block class unless they were a senior or had GHS athletics. However, this was no longer a teaching period; it was a time for students to get work done, go on phones, or socialize with classmates. Students also had the ability to sign up for clubs through aspen by selecting which ones they wanted to attend. Opportunity Block was utilized for two years before changing again.

After COVID-19 hit, Opportunity Block changed as well. It became Social Emotional Learning, and similar to its name, was designed to help students with their mental health. “We felt strongly that students more than ever, really needed some time to just connect with their teachers and other staff members and not have such a rigid structure for the last half of their day,” said Tulotta.

This year the block has changed yet again, and is now known as Flextime. It is accompanied by an app MyFlexLearning, which students can use to sign up for different activities and communicate with teachers. When interviewed, Thomas Pereira said that he thought Flextime has been very successful. “I think the way we have Flex structured now benefits students the most because they now have a choice, an opportunity so they have some enrichment that's offered: they can do silent study in the library, they can participate in clubs, etc.” said Pereira. “Everything is electronic now, so kids have that ability to see all the variety of offerings” he said regarding the app.

Flex may seem similar to Opportunity Block, but it has its differences. “The idea is the same, however the way that it’s been structured is different,” said Pereira. “When we had opportunity block,” said Tulotta, “ I don’t believe we had scheduled extra help, I think that's the biggest change. Opportunity Block was just clubs, whereas with Flex time you have your clubs, you have library study, and you have extra help.”

Students have varying attitudes towards Flex. Nicole Orlofsky, a Junior at GHS, felt that it wasn’t a good use of time: “While Flex has its merits, I think that ultimately the disadvantages outweigh the possible benefits.” She went on to comment on the technical issues that students have encountered: “It's not confusing, but it is frustrating that you have to sign up for something by 2:15 or wait in class if you don’t.” She explained some of the teachers were strict about signing up on time: “If you don’t remember to switch or you're not able to switch before 2:15, they won’t let you leave, and there tends to be nothing to do in Flex if you're not participating in a club.”

Others think that Flex is very helpful. “I use Flex every day,” said Emma Steinman, a Freshman at GHS. “I think it's good because we can learn time management and have time to do our homework at the end of the day.” She commented on how it helped to relieve her workload: “When I do work in Flex block, I don’t have to do as much when I get home and I have a free afternoon.”

Overall, Flex block seems to be a step in the right direction. When asked how she thought Flex would change in future years, Tullatta said that it was likely that Flex would remain the same. “The feedback we’ve received so far for the past month about Flextime has been relatively positive from students and staff. I think that if it is working, why change it?”

It finally seems like students and staff are able to take advantage of the thirty minute period at the end of the day. Despite minor drawbacks, Flex has provided students with many opportunities that can help to further their academic growth.

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