Additional blended classes offered in 2019

Additional classes are being offered as blended classes for the 2019-2020 school year. This is the result of administration emailing staff, asking which courses seemed the best fit for this change. Several classes have been added to this year’s pilot program which offers a new way of using class time.

Sydney Franklin
The installation of ID scanners in common areas throughout the building allows students enrolled in “blended” classes to record their attendance in the building when not meeting with their teacher.

Blended classes blend traditional instructional days with flex days – a scheduled day where it is not necessary for students to physically be in the classroom. These flex days the teacher informs students of prior to the start of each new week.

“This class had a lot of days built in where there was work time for people to get help when they needed it,” Mr. Tyler McWhorter, Dual Credit English 101 teacher, said. “So those are the days that I have turned into flex days.”

The purpose of offering this new form of classroom instruction is to expose students to a schedule similar to a college or the workplace, to provide a built-in time to meet one-on-one with teachers, to provide time to complete more long-term or project-based assignments and to build in more internship-like experience time.

Some courses offer students independent work time in the classroom, for those courses with an above average amount – flex days are ideal. Students may stay home during their class period or check into an alternative location in the building on a flex day to work on assignments instead of physically attending the classroom.

Normal Community has installed devices in common areas around the school such as the library, the fishbowl, the greeter station and outside of the main office for students who are entering or leaving the building to check in or out with their student ID card. Blue stickers with the word “Blend” are issued to students enrolled in flexible attendance classes, so there is no question of which students are allowed to leave.

“I work most nights, and I intern at two different places, so I’m really busy during the school week,” Savannah Henson (12) said. “Flex days allow me to get the homework that I need to get done for completion the next day.”

With average class sizes of close to thirty students, flex days give additional chances to have one-on-one time with teachers.

“A lot of our students in this school have outside responsibilities like extracurriculars or sports,” Mrs. Nicole Maurer, Associate Principal, said, “so staying after school or coming in early doesn’t always work to get that help or do those reassessments so having that built into the week has been good.”

“We just got the midterms turned in,” Mr. McWhorter said, “so we’ll see if having that flexibility and getting extra help paid off for the people who took advantage of it.”