By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester Schools is answering the question of, “What if your high school experience fit you and not the other way around?” with a flexible scheduling initiative.
Incorporating flexibility for passion, work-based learning, and volunteer work is affording students the prospect of choosing educational instruction that aligns more with their own learning style.
“New scheduling for next year,” said high school Principal Kirk Henderson in a video available to the public, “is going to give students a lot of opportunities. The schedule will allow for a lot of flexibility to help them actualize the three E’s of their choice.”
The three E’s referred to by Henderson are enrollment in higher education, enlistment in a military branch, or employment.
English teacher Crystal Groves said the scheduling process for the 2021-22 school year was encouraging and exciting to see the way students felt, their empowerment, and the ownership they had in the process in building a schedule that fits their needs.
“Students selected the courses they wanted and for many, they were allowed three options for some and for some, maybe two options,” said Assistant Superintendent Kiya Hunt. “We talked with our teachers for the last couple of years , but for this year we focused on how are your students going to learn best? How can you best teach the materials?”
Hunt said the administration relied on its own experts to determine content and then allowed students to determine their choices, whether a course is online, single block or double block.
“We may have offered a single block online, but due to numbers and selections, we may have had to minimize once we looked at the numbers,” said Hunt. “Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, we can start to build the schedules.”
Hunt said the staff is excited for the new school experience and believes it will aid the district in incorporating education, enlistment, or employment into the learning process.
“It really makes sense in preparing students for their future, whatever that may be,” said Hunt. “We’re hoping with the new schedule it builds flexibility. There is flexibility for students to have internships…to work if they need to after getting their classes done. It will be for all students but tends to weigh more for juniors and seniors.”
School board member Monika Talley said she likes the idea of flexibility and felt it encourages students to take an active role in their learning.
Hunt said the high school produced a video to visually introduce the new process to students before they started scheduling in classrooms where they could ask staff questions and talk to counselors.
“We’ll have safety nets (for students),” said Hunt. “We’ll be there to help them. In college, you’re on your own. We’re really, truly preparing students for whatever it may be that they want at that next level.”