Excellence in Flex Time Award Winners
Recognizing Teachers, School Leaders, + Schools that Go Above + Beyond

For more information on the annual awards purpose, criteria, timeline, + nomination​ process,

please visit the Excellence in Flex Time Awards page.

2021 Award Winners

Please scroll down the page to read the highlights from each winner or click an image below to skip straight to a specific highlight.

Mount Horeb High School

School-level

Winner

Carole Ebert

(New London High School)

School Leader

Winner

Robin Ryba

(De Pere High School)

High School Teacher Winner

Faren Huben

(Westside Middle School)

Middle School Teacher Winner

2021 Honorable Mentions

J.M. Steele Early College High

School-level

Honorable Mention

Talisa Corcoran

(Mount Horeb High School)

School Leader

Honorable Mention

Hugo Espinoza

(Wallis Annenberg High School)

High School Teacher

Honorable Mention

Abbey Painter

(Westside Middle School)

Middle School Teacher

Honorable Mention

2021 Winner Highlights

 

School-level Winner:
Mount Horeb High School

Mount Horeb Leadership Team.jpg

Overview:

PrincipalCody Lundquist

Assistant Principal(s): Talisa Corcoran + Kolleen Nesheim

District: Mount Horeb Area School District

Location: Mount Horeb, Wisconsin (Madison Metro Area)

# Students: ~800

# Staff: ~100

Flex Time Name: STAT

Flex Time Frequency: once per day, most days of the week

Pictured: Kolleen Nesheim, Cody Lundquist, + Talisa Corcoran 

Can you describe your goal(s) for and approach to flex time before the pandemic?
Before the pandemic, our goal with flex time was to provide the opportunity for direct face-to-face time between students and teachers in order for pre-teaching, reteaching, extended time opportunities during assessments, make-up labs, class meetings, small group review, additional interventions etc.

 

In what ways did your approach and/or goal(s) change or adapt during the pandemic?
Our goal was to find a way for students to connect with teachers whether they were in the building or participating virtually during the 2nd semester. The option to schedule students based on their grouping and participation code made it easy to communicate to families and allow flexibility for students that were not physically present in the building. In addition, this was a great opportunity for teachers to connect with students that they needed to see the most. With our entire 1st semester being virtual, we knew that our flex time was crucial to student success and learning when we began a hybrid learning program in the 2nd semester. We adapted our systems of requesting students based on data that was reviewed by our Problem Solving Team. Students that were missing multiple assignments or earning a D/F in class were requested to meet with their teachers. In addition, the absence report from Edficiency was reviewed as well and students that were all virtual and habitually absent during STAT were connected with additional school supports, and meetings were held with families to complete attendance improvement plans.

 

What impact, whether quantitative or qualitative, have you seen as a result of flex time in the last few years?
Edficiency has allowed teachers to organize specific sessions and request students that they need to intervene with most. It has also allowed for other school staff, i.e. student services staff, to connect with students while honoring their privacy. Now that we are two years in with using Edficiency, we are seeing that there is an increase in students making requests to see their teachers. This is wonderful as it is showing us that students are interested in taking control of their learning and are being self-reflective of their learning needs. When having wrap-around meetings to support student learning, it is often discussed that there will be a request for a specific day and students are now seeing this as an optimal learning tool. 

 

What are you most proud of in regards to flex time in the last few years?
We are proud of more staff members being specific with the sessions that they are creating and that they are becoming more independent with making student requests. This shows that they are truly seeing the value in flex time and how it directly impacts their ability to intervene with students in their classes. 

 

What role has Edficiency played on your campus in terms of the impact flex time has had on your building?
Edficiency has been an asset to schedule our flex time effectively. The overall format and ease of use of Edficieny have allowed us to fully engage with using this program. The response that is received when there are questions or hiccups is timely and beyond helpful. James and Joseph are extremely patient and solutions-oriented.

 

School Leader Winner:
Carole Ebert

Ebert Carole.jpg

Overview:

TitleAdministrative Assistant

School: New London High School

District: New London School District

Location: New London, Wisconsin (Fox Cities Metro Area)

# Students: ~650

# Staff: ~75

Flex Time Name: I/E (Intervention/Enrichment) Period

Flex Time Frequency: Once per day, most days of the week

Can you describe your goal(s) for and approach to flex time before the pandemic? 

Our goal at New London High School was to provide a time period each day in which students could request extra help from their teachers, or teachers could provide extra instructional time to students who needed their attention.  We also wanted a more unintrusive system to schedule activity meetings, enrichment events, and class meetings.  We created an I/E (Intervention / Enrichment) period into our daily bell schedule.  Schedule templates are created so our teaching staff also have 2 specific days without students each week to meet for PLC time as a department during I/E. 

In what ways did your approach and/or goal(s) change or adapt during the pandemic?

Our approach did not change very much during the pandemic.  When our students were in a virtual or A/B learning setting, the schedule still included an I/E period at the end of the day.  Students could use this time to meet virtually with teachers or to do group study.   

What impact, whether quantitative or qualitative, have you seen as a result of your flex time in the last few years? 

The scheduled I/E period has created a space into our daily schedule for things that used to cut into our learning time.  It can be used for club activities, class meetings or if expanded, enrichment or 'fun' events without taking students away from class time learning.  We have had the opportunity to use an extended I/E schedule on testing days for the remainder of the afternoon, dividing it into 3 different slots for students to attend.  Staff would provide creative sessions and the students really enjoyed it. I feel that I/E has also created more awareness of offering opportunities for students to improve their grades by giving them time to reassess, relearn or study.

What are you most proud of as a result of your flex time in the last few years?  

I like the fact that you can do so much with the program once you delve into it.  It gives us such opportunities to think outside the box to expand on what we can bring to students in the school setting.

What role has Edficiency played for you (or on your campus) in regards to the impact resulting from flex time?

Edficiency has given us the tool to schedule students to get the additional help they need, along with providing time for staff to have PLC/Department meetings each week during the school day.  Edficiency is easy to use, runs itself once set up and help is always just an email or phone call away!

 

High School Teacher Winner:
Robin Ryba

Ryba Robin.png

Overview:

TitleTech Ed Teacher

School: De Pere High School

District: De Pere School District

Location: De Pere, Wisconsin (Green Bay Metro Area)

# Students: ~1350

# Staff: ~160

Flex Time Name: Flex Period

Flex Time Frequency: Once per day, most days of the week

Can you describe your goal(s) for and approach to flex time before the pandemic? 

One of my goals with flex is to provide additional time for students to work on projects in the woods and metals shops as well as allow students a place to have a more "non-traditional" classroom setting to get away for the short flex period. Another goal for flex time is to allow students to get extra help on assignments. I also request students who may not seem to be as comfortable working on some of the large machines in front of large groups.

 

What impact, whether quantitative or qualitative, have you seen as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

I have noticed students signing up for my flex sessions. When I go in to request students, I notice my sessions are already"full"  from student requests. It makes me feel as if students WANT to be in my classroom more than they already are.

 

What are you most proud of as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

I am proud of the amount of females I am able to work with in smaller groups in the shop setting during flex time. It allows me to give a very positive experience in which they are able to open up and be themselves. They are able to work more one on one and become more comfortable with their skills.

 

What role has Edficiency played for you (or on your campus) in your work during flex time?

Edficiency is a reliable and organized way for me to request students when I need them.

 

Middle School Teacher Winner:
Faren Huben

Huben Faren.png

Overview:

TitleMath Teacher

School: Westside Middle School

District: Westside Community School District

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

# Students: ~1000

# Staff: ~150

Flex Time Name: Warrior Time

Flex Time Frequency: Once per day, most days of the week

Can you describe your goal(s) for and approach to flex time before the pandemic?

My approach to flex time is to utilize the time for reteaching and reinforcement of Math topics. I use it to work with students who did not complete a Math assignment because they did not understand how to or to request a small group of students who scored poorly on a formative check for understanding so they have an opportunity to get clarification before a summative test. My goal for every class period I teach is to be aware of each student’s level of understanding of the day’s lesson and the goal of flex time is really no different. Any student who I know could not teach the concept to the peer next to them will be pulled in for flex time to get the additional practice needed to master the concepts. If at the end of flex time a student is still not understanding a concept, they will be requested again until we can make strides.

 

In what ways did your approach and/or goal(s) change or adapt during the pandemic?

During the pandemic there were days when flex time was used to help students get caught up who had missed school due to quarantine. Flex time during the pandemic provided a built-in time of the day to explain anything they did not comprehend from watching a video while at home. At times, the approach during the pandemic (for some students) was providing them a structured place to work and get help as needed if that wasn't possible while they were at home.

 

What impact, whether quantitative or qualitative, have you seen as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

I have seen the amount of missing/incomplete work for students decrease. I have seen a decrease in the number of students needing to retake an assessment because of the review and reinforcement that the flex time allows. When students take a formative assessment such as a quick check for understanding, I have them turn it into green, yellow, or red bins based on their self-rating for how they understand the content. Flex time allows me to utilize the self-feedback from students to pull in students in yellow/red before a summative assessment to reteach and clarify any misconceptions. Students often use the bins as a way to communicate with me that they want help since they know it will result in being requested for flex time. Finally, I have been able to provide enrichment opportunities that are not always possible during a normal class period for students who are ready to push their learning further. 

 

What are you most proud of as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

I am most proud of student success as a result of flex time - less missing work, increased proficiency on tests, and an ability to request help during flex time. In addition to being more available to help students outside of direct instruction, it allows me the opportunity to connect with students and show them that I care about them.

 

What role has Edficiency played for you (or on your campus) in your work during flex time?

Edficiency allows me to request students who are in need of extra support for Math. I believe students are more willing to work with me during that time because it doesn’t take on a consequence role that spending time with a teacher at lunch or after school does. It provides a student who is struggling with the content the opportunity to get help without singling them out or missing social time with friends. Edficiency also allows me to work with the student who won’t advocate that they need help by allowing me to request to work with them as I then have time to sit down and find out what they need from me to be successful. Often, once I break down that barrier then the student feels comfortable requesting it on their own.

2021 Honorable Mention Highlights

 

School-level Honorable Mention:
James M. Steele Early College High School

Steele_Power-Hour_Edficiency (1).jpg

Overview:

PrincipalTodd Rogers

Assistant Principal(s): N/A (Tom Horn, Math Teacher, oversees flex time)

Location: Roanoke, Texas (Dallas-Forth Wort Metro Area)

District: Northwest Independent School District

# Students: ~200

# Staff: ~30

Flex Time Name: Power Hour

Flex Time Frequency: twice per day (w/ lunch), most days of the week

Pictured: teaching staff from 20-21 school year 

Can you describe your goal(s) for and approach to your flex time before the pandemic?

Our goals were to have a flexible tutorial period (Power Hour) that allowed students choice and personal ownership into their learning. In addition, we needed the flexibility for teachers to mandate tutorials when needed. Our flexible tutorial period needed to meet the needs of tutorials, clubs, organizations, peer-to-peer tutorials, lunch, and more.

 

In what ways did your approach and/or goal(s) change or adapt during the pandemic?

Before the pandemic our students had two days a week to select what they needed. During the pandemic, we adjusted it to three days a week.

What impact, whether quantitative or qualitative, have you seen as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

It’s had a huge impact on allowing us to offer a lot of different options for our students to select, students to take ownership in their learning, and for teachers to work with students needing additional learning opportunities.

What are you most proud of in regards to your flex time in the last few years?

The impact it’s had on our campus, students, and teachers. I’m so proud of our students and teachers for how they have embraced our Power Hour with Edficiency.

What role has Edficiency played on your campus in terms of the impact flex time has had on your building?

We had a vision of a flexible Power Hour that allowed students numerous options, choice, and targeted interventions. Edficiency allowed us to make our vision come true.

 

School Leader Honorable Mention:
Talisa Corcoran

Corcoran Talisa.jpg

Overview:

TitleAssistant Principal

School: Mount Horeb High School

District: Mount Horeb School District

Location: Mount Horeb, Wisconsin (Madison Metro Area)

# Students: ~800

# Staff: ~100

Flex Time Name: STAT

Flex Time Frequency: once per day, most days of the week

Can you describe your goal(s) for and approach to flex-time before the pandemic?

Before the pandemic, our goal with flex time was to provide the opportunity for direct face-to-face time between students and teachers in order for pre-teaching, reteaching, extended time opportunities during assessments, make-up labs, small group review, class meetings, additional interventions etc.

In what ways did your approach and/or goal(s) change or adapt during the pandemic?
Our goal was to find a way for students to connect with teachers whether they were in the building or participating virtually during the 2nd semester. The option to schedule students based on their grouping and participation code made it easy to communicate to families and allow flexibility for students that were not physically present in the building. In addition, this was a great opportunity for teachers to connect with students that they needed to see the most. With our entire 1st semester being virtual, we knew that our flex time was crucial to student success and learning when we began a hybrid learning program in the 2nd semester. We adapted our systems of requesting students based on data that was reviewed by our Problem Solving Team. Students that were missing multiple assignments or earning a D/F in class were requested to meet with their teachers. In addition, the absence report from Edficiency was reviewed as well and students that were all virtual and habitually absent during STAT were connected with additional school supports and meetings were held with families to complete attendance improvement plans.

What impact, whether quantitative or qualitative, have you seen as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

Edficiency has allowed teachers to organize specific sessions and request students that they need to intervene with most. It has also allowed for other school staff, i.e. student services staff, to connect with students while honoring their privacy. Now that we are two years in with using Edficiency, we are seeing that there is an increase in students making requests to see their teachers. This is wonderful as it is showing us that students are interested in taking control of their learning and are being self-reflective of their learning needs. When having wrap-around meetings to support student learning, it is often discussed that there will be a request for a specific day and students are now seeing this as an optimal learning tool.

What are you most proud of as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

I am proud of more staff members being specific with the sessions that they are creating and that they are becoming more independent with making student requests. This shows that they are truly seeing the value in flex time and how it directly impacts their ability to intervene with students in their classes.

What role has Edficiency played for you (or on your campus) in regards to the impact resulting from flex time?

Edficiency has been an asset to schedule our flex time effectively. The overall format and ease of use of Edficieny have allowed us to fully engage with using this program. The response that is received when there are questions or hiccups is timely and beyond helpful. James and Joseph are extremely patient and solutions-oriented. 

 

High School Teacher Honorable Mention:
Hugo Espinoza

Espinoza Hugo.jpg

Overview:

TitleHistory Teacher

School: Wallis Annenberg High School

District: The Accelerated Schools Network | Los Angeles Unified School District

Location: Los Angeles, California

# Students: ~500

# Staff: ~55

Flex Time Name: Workshops

Flex Time Frequency: 6 per day, once per week

Can you describe your goal(s) for and approach to flex time before the pandemic?

I thought of focusing on some subgroups of students that could potentially be more affected by distance learning, such as English Learners and students with an Individualized Education Plan. I created workshops for those specific subgroups and left other intervals in the flex time for the rest of the student population. 

 

In what ways did your approach and/or goal(s) change or adapt during the pandemic?

I had to invest time in following up with the students who were missing the flex time (workshops). Many of them were taking care of their siblings or lack adult guidance to connect on time, given that their parents were at work. After communicating with families, students were more consistent in attending the sessions.

 

What impact, whether quantitative or qualitative, have you seen as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

I think it provides a significant opportunity for further differentiation. During distance learning, with so many aspects left to students' own initiative, that personalized assistance proved essential.

 

What are you most proud of as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

Because I was moved one grade up, I had the opportunity to teach the same cohort of students two consecutive years, and I observed gains in academic performance in some students who took advantage of the flex time and mentorship sessions.  

 

What role has Edficiency played for you (or on your campus) in your work during flex time?

We used it to schedule workshops (our flex time) and to communicate to students that we required their attendance for specific sessions.

 

Middle School Teacher Winner:
Abbey Painter

Painter Abbey.jpg

Overview:

TitleSpeech-Language Pathologist

School: Westside Middle School

District: Westside Community School District

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

# Students: ~1000

# Staff: ~150

Flex Time Name: Warrior Time

Flex Time Frequency: Once per day, most days of the week

Can you describe your goal(s) for and approach to flex time before the pandemic?

Before the pandemic, I utilized the flex time to instruct students in their social skills across grade levels. The flex time allowed me to group students solely based on their skill levels verse their grade level’s master schedule. During the flex time, I worked with students who needed both intense intervention targeting their social skills and those who just needed additional structured practice with modeled peers. Almost all of the targeted students had the verification of Autism. I would focus 3/4 days of the week towards working with these students. On the other day, I would rotate between grade levels to work with students on their language skills such as their reading comprehension and writing deficits.
 

In what ways did your approach and/or goal(s) change or adapt during the pandemic?

Once the pandemic hit, I was not able to group students across teams to target their language skills. I had to schedule those students during their regularly scheduled language arts block. The pandemic also impacted the social skill interventions when our school was operating at 25% and 50% capacity. When were were under these conditions, the students were unable to get additional practice with their general education model peers. This made it difficult for those friendship skills because we couldn’t access as many peers to support our students. My goal during the pandemic continued to remain the same, provide social skill instruction and practice for students; however, the amount of students I was able to consistently reach each week was limited due to the pandemic.
 

What impact, whether quantitative or qualitative, have you seen as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

I’ve seen and heard students using the verbiage and skills within the classroom setting that we’ve discussed during our flex time social skill groups. Not only have students started using the language and skills more, but I’ve also provided quick coaching to our general education teachers when students are showing inappropriate social skills. For example, we were talking about expected classroom behaviors (i.e., raising your hand, not blurting out). A student who struggled in this area was talking with me and said, “You know when I blurt out in class, I think it really annoys my classmates”. This type of awareness, especially at the middle school level, does not always happen, especially with students who exhibit such rigidity in their social skills. I think providing thee students with this additional intervention during the flex time, helps them feel successful and gives a safe environment to specifically work on these skills. Often times, students who do not have additional challenges, pick up these skills just by watching their peers. Students with Autism need this direct instruction and practice and the flex time has allowed me the capacity to reach these students.
 

What are you most proud of as a result of your flex time in the last few years?

I’m most proud of not only the growth of my Circle of Friends groups but also the acceptance of our students who struggle socially by their typically developing peers. I think that because of this flex time work, students who struggle are not only accepted more but redirected by their peers verse the adults. When the model peers are in our groups, they also hear the verbiage and are provided the instruction of how to redirect their peers within the classroom setting. When students who struggle socially are redirected by their peers, research and our work during flex time has shown a greater increase in the independent use of the instructed skills. I often have model peers reach out to me asking to be part of the group to help their fellow students.
 

What role has Edficiency played for you (or on your campus) in your work during flex time?

I know if it wasn’t for Edficiency, trying to schedule 25-30 different students, 4 days a week, would be a nightmare! The ease of the program and flexibility to create groups, makes the logistical work an area I do not have to focus. Rather, I am able to schedule the students I need in about 2 minutes and focus my other time in creating lessons and activities for my groups. My school is very large, with over 900 students. If I was having to track down all of these students based on their class schedules, I do not feel I would have the time to plan such targeted and impactful social skill lessons for the students of Westside Middle School.