RV’s outlook on FlexTime Manager and I/E Periods

After the implementation of FlexTime Manager and I/E periods, students and staff voice their opinions on it


Photo courtesy of Sherm

A sample tutorial schedule on FlexTime Manager

Andre Dominic Faigal, Student Life Writer

FlexTime Manager is the newly enforced program allowing RV students and staff to stay organized with scheduling for tutorial and intervention and enrichment periods (I/E). This was introduced towards the end of the 2020-2021 school year and is now being enforced in full motion this year.

Back in 2019, the idea of I/E periods was first pondered in the strategic planning for utilizing all of the minutes in a school day. As part of the Vision 2020 plan, RV formed a task force to research and find better Staff who are part of the project’s task force visited two schools in Pennsylvania that had I/E periods, which allowed students to personalize their schedules. Now in 2021, the initiation of the seemingly useful tool has brought both skepticism and optimism across the board. The Holly Spirit spoke with a variety of stakeholders from the RV community to paint a bigger picture of how the program is working.

“I/E is sort of rebranding what has been known as ‘student prep’ or ‘grade room’,” history supervisor Mrs. Jean Marie Seal, one of the leaders in the committee, explained. “Part of the strategic plan that we were responsible for was evaluating our schedule to see if we could make better use of the minutes in the day. And one of the parts of the day that we thought we could utilize differently was student prep or grade room. And we wanted to make it so that students could customize it into their individual needs and interests.” 

Furthermore, with the introduction of I/E periods, Wednesdays would be a sort of “reset day” to start off the week. “Basically on Wednesday’s kids go back to their grade room which is organized by grade–from 9th to 12th. Now every Wednesday, students would pick their I/E for the following Thursday, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, and then the cycle would ‘reset’ on Wednesday,” Mrs. Seal said. “Additionally, on Wednesday, RVTV might be doing an extended program to make the grade room hub a good source for announcements or for voting for things such as Homecoming or RAWN. Wednesdays will be utilized similar to what homeroom was used in the past.”

The timing for many students and teachers can seem a bit “odd,” Mrs. Seal notes. The program was was intended to be launched in February of 2019 with a greater focus on helping students academically. However, the current rollout includes a number of different “enrichment” opportunities that students can choose to attend based on interest. 

“For example, Mr. Marmarou is doing an I/E period on a television show called ‘Lost’ and other teachers are doing stuff on meditation or current events,” said Mrs. Seal. “I think as we get more comfortable, teachers will find little niches and it will overall help the SEL [social and emotional learning] initiative to help connect with people in different waves.

I think as we get more comfortable, teachers will find little niches and it will overall help the SEL [social and emotional learning] initiative to help connect with people in different waves.

— Mrs. Seal

Mrs. Panter, an English teacher, utilizes FlexTime Manager through tutorial. “I hope to offer students peaceful activities like coloring,” she said.  “And I’ve read articles and found that for composure and mediation, and sense of balance, coloring with some classical music playing in the background can help keep the stress levels down. Additionally, I might do sessions with Scrabble to help students that face challenges with spelling.” 

Mrs. Panter believes that there are positives with the program, considering that it teaches students time management skills and responsibility, since they take charge of their own days. But she also raised common concerns from a teacher’s perspective.

“I simply miss providing a safe space for students to work or seek aid for research, studies and vocab because I hoped that tutorial would continue to be like an SEL place, and maybe it will grow over time–but right now I don’t see it,” she said. “In a previous school year, a large group of individuals would come to my tutorial for quiet time. Quiet time and safe space were taken away because FlexTime Manager feels too structured and that SEL environment is kinda eliminated.”

There are other safety and health concerns that many teachers seem to agree on. “As a teacher, we were instructed to have seating charts ready prepared for contact tracing purposes and all of that,” said Mrs. Panter. “The nurse will be aware of who is in the room but based on tutorial, kids are all over the place…I know that there is documentation sent out to every kid who was signed into that particular session but I believe there is still a valid concern with COVID.”

Like teachers, many students have mixed review. “I think the intention of the program is great because it lets people know where they are going,” said freshman Miracle Brown. “But just like everything new, it’s been pretty confusing at the beginning. I’m actually involved in eight different extracurricular activities here at RV…and honestly, it will suck deciding on which spot to go to.”

Freshmen have the advantage of starting RV with FlexTime, but many upperclassmen are struggling to see the purpose of the program. “To me, FlexTime Manager seems very unnecessary,” said senior Seth Tavormina. “As a senior, both using FlexTime and Turnstile [through Genesis] seems like overkill and I do not really understand the need for both at the same time, especially for something like lunch out. If [they are] filling it out on FlexTime Manager, why do seniors still have to turnstile out? Also, I think it is challenging because I may not know what I would need to do at prep one day, but I could already be signed up for a different activity.”

While some students are overwhelmed by the daunting task of deciding all on Wednesday, Mrs. Seal emphasized the flexibility that FlexTime offers. “Remember that every day you can change it in tutorial or block one so don’t get too stressed out on committing with something that you may wanna change your mind on,” she said. “We want the flexibility to be a big part of it, but we lock it at the end of block one so that everyone has a home instead of students wandering around. It will take some time and most of the underclassmen don’t know what grade room and student prep were like prior, and we are hoping that this can be the new normal as they progress through high school.”

However students and teachers look at the program, it appears to be here to stay…for now. And changes to schedules and “new normals” should be, by now, expected in a time when education looks anything but traditional.

“If anything, the past 18 months have taught everyone to adapt to things on the fly,” said Mrs. Panter. “We have to be adaptable and adjust to the different challenges. It is important to realize that when the anxiety is rising, take a step back, take a deep breath and realize that this too shall pass, meaning that the nerves will dissipate and this will become second nature.”