6 Middle School Schedules with Flex Periods
Adding a Flex Period to your schedule is becoming increasingly popular in middle schools across the country. While they go by many different names, including Intervention Block, What I Need (WIN) Time, Mascot Time, among many others, they often serve a similar purpose: provide more support and opportunities for students, whether through tutoring, enrichment, clubs, or extracurricular activities. Many schools also try to build in some amount of student choice during these times to increase students’ investment and excitement about their experience each day. And while schools take many approaches to how they think about this time and find the space in the schedule for it, we’ve heard from many schools that it is helpful to see examples of how other schools are organizing it in their daily schedules. Given that, we’ve decided to share six different examples of approaches in this post, including some that are currently in virtual contexts, to help schools imagine some different options for what it could look like in their own school’s schedule.
New to Flex Periods but want to know more?
Check out our What is a Flex Period post for a summary of the basics or our Ultimate Guide to Flex Periods for a deeper dive.
Why is Seeing Example Flex Period Schedules Important?
While there is no right or wrong way to build a Flex Period into your schedule given how varied every school’s individual context is, it’s often helpful to see examples so you don’t have to recreate the wheel (after all, most great ideas are built off the ideas of others in some way). Seeing other examples can help give a school the confidence that a particular model is possible. It can also spark a new idea for making it work by seeing another model that organizes it in a way you hadn’t yet thought of. And while many schools believe it’s a best practice to avoid the first or last period of the day to house your Flex Period because of the logistics that come with starting and ending the day, other schools find that these options work best for them for other reasons and are willing to make that tradeoff.
At the end of the day, the most important part is that you know why you’re implementing a Flex Period in the first place and doing it in a way that best fits your school’s specific situation. While it might be challenging to move around parts of your schedule mid-year, it’s not uncommon to reorder and restructure your schedule between school years, so you’re not locked into anything forever.
6 Middle School Schedules with Flex Periods
And now, without further delay, below are six examples of middle school schedules with built-in Flex Periods.
Schedule 1 - 1 Flex, 6 Classes, + 1 Lunch
In this example from a California-based school, they have a single Flex Period, where they chose to schedule it for 27 minutes, compared to the other six 50-54 minute periods dedicated to traditional classes. They also chose to include it mid-morning, right after a short break which gives students a little extra time to know where they are assigned that day and socialize with friends. They also only have one lunch period, which is given 40 minutes.
Schedule 2 - 1 Flex, 7 Classes, + 3 Lunches
In this example, this Wisconsin-based school has a single Flex Period called Academic Focus. The school chose to schedule it for 30 minutes, compared to the 47-51 minutes given to their seven other periods dedicated to traditional classes. They also chose to include it late in the morning, right before their three 30-minute lunch periods begin, coinciding with their 5th period.
Schedule 3 - 1 Flex, 4 Classes, + 3 Lunches
In this example, the Utah-based school has a single 30-minute Flex Period, called Pride Time, in their hybrid block schedule that consists of 4 regular classes, three of which rotate on a block schedule between A and B days each day and have 95 minutes, while their 1st block is 55 minutes with the same class daily. This school also has three lunch periods built into their day, allocating 30 minutes for each coinciding with their 4th/5th block.
Schedule 4 - 1 Flex, 7 Classes, + 3 Lunches
This Utah-based school has a single Flex Period, called PROWL Period, in its seven-period schedule. They give regular classes 45 minutes each, except for the 2nd period, which gets a few extra minutes for announcements. They then give their PROWL Period a pretty standard 30 minutes in the mid-morning between traditional classes. This school has three lunch periods of 30 minutes each built into their 5th period.
Schedule 5 - 2 Flex, 3-4 Classes, + 1 Lunch (Virtual Schedule)
In this example of a virtual schedule from a California-based school, the school has two types of Flex Periods built into their day, with a more traditional Flex Period, called MTSS / RTI, that happens in the middle of the school day twice a week, as well as some Student Support & Office Hours built-in at the end of the day. The MTSS / RTI Periods typically see the same students on both days in a week and focus more on providing interventions to those that need it, whereas the Student Support & Office Hours are a little less formal and a chance for students to check in with teachers when they have questions on things. They also have an Advisory Period built-in once a week on Wednesdays where students spend time with the same teacher and group of students, with most of their day otherwise spent in asynchronous learning. Because they’re virtual, they build in a single lunch period of 45 minutes to break up the day and limit their virtual classes to 45 minutes.
Schedule 6 - 1 Flex, 4-6 Classes, + 1 Lunch (Virtual Schedule)
In this example of another virtual schedule from another California-based school, they have a single Flex Period, called Tutorial Period, in their schedule. They chose to put it at the end of the day as the only class that happens after their 35-minute lunch period, where it is followed by independent work time to end the day. The exception to this is on Mondays, where students do not have a Tutorial Period or independent work time, and instead of attending half their traditional classes for longer periods on alternate days, they have all six of their traditional classes for shorter periods and get out early.
We hope that these examples have been helpful as you consider your own schedule, whether or not you already have a Flex Period. As you see from the above examples from schools across the country, there are several approaches middle schools take to implement Flex Time in their schedules, even if there is often less variation than we see in high schools. But despite the differences, the purpose is often the same: to provide additional opportunities for students to get the support they need and have a choice in how they spend a part of their school day.
If you’re looking for more information on Flex Periods, don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Guide to Flex Periods here. If you’re looking for more examples or want to connect to find out how to make Flex Periods easier for your school, book an introductory call with us to discuss your specific needs and how we help schools.