5 Most Popular Flex Period Names in Middle & High Schools
Updated: May 18
Flex Periods are becoming more common in middle and high schools across the country. Roughly half of middle and high schools across the country’s 50 biggest metropolitan areas have one as of late 2019 (according to a random sample study conducted by Edficiency). In some places, like Kansas City, Washington DC, and Denver, approximately two of every three schools have one. It’s no surprise this is happening, as schools find many benefits from these periods in giving students more opportunities, whether for academic intervention, enrichment opportunities, study halls, or other types of clubs or extracurriculars. While they’re becoming more common across the country, they can go by many names. Knowing the different names can be helpful to middle and high school principals (or teachers and other leadership team members) when looking for resources to support them in your school, whatever you decide to call it. In this article, we’ll list the top five most common Flex Period names we’ve found from our research of more than 8,300 middle and high schools across the United States, the slight variations of each, where they tend to be most popular, and briefly discuss the common reasons schools choose that name.
If you’re looking for more about what a Flex Period is, why they are important, or some examples of how schools implement them, check out our post: What is a Flextime Period?
General Findings + Methodology
Before we jump into the list, it’s important to note how we arrived at the ranking for the list below. We looked into middle and high schools across the United States to first find out if they had a Flex Period. We started with a random sample of schools in the top 50 largest metropolitan cities (by population), diving deeper into the 10 metro areas with the largest percentage of schools with a Flex Period. We also included any other school that we came across along the way that had a Flex Period, whether it was a school that reached out to us or one we happened upon while searching online. While not perfect, it was the most efficient way to obtain a sizable sample, mostly at random. Given it appears that Flex Periods are more popular in the western region and less popular in the southeast, the west is over-represented and the southeast is under-represented in our sample when compared to the population of each region (whereas the northeast and midwest are more closely represented to their share of the US population). In our sample of 8,362 schools, 29% did not have a Flex Period of any kind, while another 29% it was uncertain whether or not they did, leaving 42% with a known Flex Period of some kind. Lastly, we combined similar names to the most popular name of its type to generate more cohesion across names (for example, we included Flex Time and Flex Block under Flex Period).
And without any further ado, here’s the list:
Honorable Mention(s): Intervention/Enrichment Period
When categorizing names, we kept Intervention Period, Enrichment Period, I/E (Intervention/Enrichment) Period, and RTI (Response to Intervention) Period separate, capturing 2%, 2%, 1%, and 1% of the sample, respectively. If we were to combine them, they would’ve overtaken the fifth spot, with 6% of the sample total. It felt only right to include these on our list somewhere, as many schools have goals around providing additional enrichment or intervention to students that motivate them to start a Flex Period. This grouping of names was most popular in Tennessee, New Jersey, New York, Idaho, and Ohio.
#5: WIN (What I Need) Period
With 3% of the sample, the fifth-place spot on our list is WIN Period, where WIN stands for “What I Need.” The most common alternative is WIN Time, though the occasional WYN (What You Need) Period was also included in this group. Most schools that use this name for their Flex Period have a philosophy of student choice that leads the culture around this time, where students choose the option they most need among the list of offerings. The offerings are still usually in line with those in the more popular names below, like tutoring, test retakes/makeups, study halls, and an occasional club offering. Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Wisconsin are the states where WIN Period is among the most popular choices.
#4: Activity Period
Activity Period comes in fourth, with just under 7% of the sample using this term. There weren’t any common variations of this name, but it is likely that schools choose this name because many schools focus on using this time to provide access to a variety of activities that are often challenging to fit in during the day otherwise. Clubs tend to be among the most common uses (which was true of my high school in Oklahoma, which still calls it Activity Period to this day), but other activities like retaking or making up a test, study halls, and tutoring are often acceptable “activities” as well. This name was most commonly used in Louisiana, Arkansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Alabama.
#3: Tutorial Period
Tutorial Period comes in just above Activity Period as the third most popular, with just over 7% of our sample. Tutorials Period and Tutoring Period were the most common alternatives here. Schools that use this name likely choose it because pairing students with teachers they need more help from, usually in smaller groups, is among the top priorities for how to use this time each day. Many schools even start a Flex Period with this idea in mind specifically so students (and teachers) don’t have to stay after school to get additional help, which we know is often prohibitive and causes other logistical problems. This name was most popular in Arkansas, California, Texas, Washington DC, and Washington (state).
#2: Flex Period
Next on the list, in the number two spot, is Flex Period, at 9% of our sample. Most variations were pretty similar here, with Flex Block and Flex Time being the most common iterations. It’s likely no surprise to see this as number two, as it is often the generic term given to these periods in the education space (it’s what we call it after all). No matter how schools utilize these periods, they’re flexible compared to the other periods on the daily bell schedule. This name was an especially popular choice in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Utah.
#1: Mascot Time (e.g. Eagle Time)
And finally, with 21% of our sample that had a Flex Period on their daily schedule, those named after mascots came in first. This was the most diverse group in terms of name, which makes sense, as every school has a different mascot. Wondering which mascots were among the most common? Eagle Time was most popular, followed by Tiger Time, Panther Time, Titan Time, and Falcon Time. It’s not surprising to see this one top the list in popularity, as many schools view Flex Periods as a way to build a sense of community and school spirit while accomplishing an array of activities. It also seems that school pride is strongest in Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina, and Massachusetts, where over 25% of Flex Periods in each state are named after mascots.
Notable Omission: Advisory Period
It’s also worth noting that we did not include Advisory Period on our list. While in many regions this can be a common name for a Flex Period, it’s also frequently used for a different purpose more similar to a homeroom. Often Advisory Periods are used for the same group of students to see the same teacher (their “advisor”) over the course of their time at the school. This model is especially common in high schools, but can take place in middle schools as well. It’s worth noting here, though, because many schools do have an Advisory Period that they start shifting into a Flex Period over time, possibly keeping the advisory structure on specific days (e.g. on Mondays you go to your advisor during flextime, but mix it up the rest of the week for a more true Flex Period). If Advisory Period would’ve been included, it would have overtaken Mascot Period in the number one slot with 27% of the sample. The use of Advisory Periods are especially high in New Mexico, Washington DC, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington (state), though it had a strong presence among many other states as well in our sample.
Additional Consideration: “No Theme”
Lastly, it’s worth noting that Flex Period naming varies so widely that the group without any particular theme (dubbed “No Theme” in our categorization) collectively outnumbered our leader with 22% of the sample, compared to Mascot Period’s 21%. The most common names here were often acronyms, though there were a small handful of schools that used Community Time, STEP Period, or Discovery Period. It’s likely that the acronyms were chosen for items related to their specific school culture or a piece of their vision, whether for the school as a whole or for Flex Periods specifically. Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Indiana, and Maryland were the states with large percentages of schools falling into this category, showing that these states had less cohesion in naming their Flex Periods as compared to the rest of the country.
Names That Didn’t Make the List
Do you call it something else that didn’t make the list? Here are the rest of the names that had enough to have a category, even if it remained small: Pride Time, Academic Support Period, Collaboration Period, Resource Period, Advocacy Period, Power Hour, Connections Period, ACCESS Period, ELT (Extended Learning Time) Period, Study Hall, SOAR Period, SMART Lunch, Lunch & Learn, Clubs Period, Mentoring Period, Team Time, X Block, Smart Period, FOCUS Period, PLUS Period, Office Hours, Academy Period, REMEDIATION Period, STAR Period, and MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support) Period.
Whatever you decide to call a Flex Period for your school should be a reflection of your school and help move forward the purpose you started it for. It’s also worth not overlooking the opportunity to learn from other schools, even when your Flex Period has a different name. While each school is different, it’s worth knowing what others are doing differently to make sure your school continues to maximize the time as well as possible. Don’t know of other schools with a Flex Period? Feel free to let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help connect you to one.