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By Lucas Smalley

With the new FLEX schedule letting students leave before attending FLEX, with this new change student participation in all aspects seems to be at a lower level than previous years. 

Nation Ford offers a variety of clubs to pique a variety of student interests. As of this year, Fort Mill Schools has implemented the new FLEX schedule allowing students to leave at 3:04 p.m., instead of the previous 3:40 p.m. if they maintain the required criteria. 

 “It seems that more students wish to leave early, and are not dedicated to staying ‘after’ school for a club,” English teacher Megan Jensen said. 

 “For example, at Fellowship of Christian Athletes [meetings] last year, we would have to cap our attendance at 40, but this year, we haven’t seen more than 25 students at a meeting,” she says.

FCA isn’t the only club that is experiencing a huge decline in the number of students who are attending meetings. 

“Safe Zone had 50-60 students attending last fall–this year, only 11,” math teacher Jackie Whittemore said. 

A survey taken on Sept. 14th, by 83 NFHS students, found that around 33% of students are disappointed with the negative effect that the early dismissal has on the time they can do their school work and club participation.   

“As a club leader it’s discouraging when the club participation was cut in half,” says Rachel Studer, who leads both the Youth Commission International Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 

“The 30 minutes is a detriment to many clubs such as Model UN or Speech and Debate which benefit- from longer time allocations, ” Junior Eric Dykhuis said.  “Although we’ve seen a huge turnout rate, many of those freshmen and sophomores cannot stay after to experience the club to its fullest,” he said.

Although there are many perks to this new schedule, some believe that this new schedule is separating our student body. 

“FLEX at the end of the day will serve to separate our student body into groups: those with cars vs. those without; underclassmen vs. older students who can drive; good students and struggling students,” says Career Development Facilitator Bonnie Kleffman. 

This separation of our student body could cause a huge problem: students are so separated towards the end of the day that they may not integrate into groups and meet people that they would meet if the school day was back to our old schedule. 

While some students are upset about this new schedule, the majority think of this new schedule as a great opportunity to participate in other after-school activities -without affecting their school time. 

“I like the fact we can leave early–and if you are an athlete this helps when we have away games and you are not wasting class time when you have to leave early,” freshman Softball player Paizlei Ross says. 

A survey sent to all NFHS Teachers indicates that they mostly agree that this new schedule is working and helps them get students the help they need. 38 teachers responded and 70 percent of the teachers said they love the new schedule saying it gives the students who want the help the help they need in the classroom. 

“I think that now, for the most part, I only have students in my FLEX who are wanting to work and get help, math teacher Grace Burt says.  

“From a teacher’s perspective it is really helpful to have a smaller class size in FLEX and just students who need help in there,” she says.

“I think it’s accomplishing our goals, when we went into this we had two main goals, ” says Principal Christopher Chandler. “One was to give teachers at least 40 minutes to meet with each other once a week, which was accomplished, and the other was to give students a time where they could be helped whether they acknowledged that or not.

 The new FLEX schedule is just beginning so the problems that are seen by our staff and students will have the chance to be solved as the school year continues. 

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