[youtube height=”315″ width=”560″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DZp1i79Tdc[/youtube]
Students at Vernon Middle School are in their second year of FLEX, a program designed to support student instruction, and the results are starting to show.
Since the beginning of sixth grade, Dolores Martinez, has seen a 40-point jump in her District Curriculum Assessment grades.
“I’m glad for the extra help during the school day because my parents only speak Spanish, so they’re not able to help me with some of my work,” said Martinez. “I used to have a lot of trouble with my reading, but with the help of my teacher Ms. Miranda, I have been able to understand a lot more.”
Teachers at Vernon are able to reach out to students like Martinez by restructuring the advisory period (10:32 A.M.-11:05 A.M.) Tuesday through Friday during the school day in order to provide intervention for students who need additional instruction and to provide motivational counseling.
The goal of the program is to help students achieve success by providing support immediately during the learning process and not after students have failed.
Sixth grade student Damian Garcia uses his time to visit the computer labs or study hall to work on projects and assignments.
“I usually go to the computer lab during FLEX time to work on assignments that have to be completed on Word or Power Point,” said Garcia. “If I have homework to finish, I go to study hall because it helps me stay focused, and with the extra study time, I’m proud to say that my grade in math has gone from a 75 to a 95.”
Every three weeks, students who are already doing well in class have the chance to participate in enrichment activities. An enrichment pass is handed out to students, allowing them to select from a list of available activities. The enrichment pass opens the door to learning opportunities such as, playing the piano, book club, iPad fun, and so on.
Diego Johnson, seventh grade student, has been participating in piano class, which is new to the FLEX program this year. He has been learning from orchestra teacher Yram Rodriguez. Having taken piano lessons in the past, he’s been relearning a lot of the notes and scales he used to be familiar with.
“It’s been interesting to say the least; in band I play the alto saxophone, which only uses the treble clef, and in piano you get to play both the treble and the bass clef at the same time,” said Johnson. “The FLEX program was a great choice for Vernon, and I’m glad that they brought it back for another year. It has been really cool having all these different things you really don’t normally get to learn in school.”
Some extracurricular groups have even taken advantage of FLEX time for additional practice with their musical instruments or to prepare for UIL.
Bridget Horta, eighth grade student, says that she gives credit to FLEX time for contributing to her success in UIL Spelling and band.
“FLEX gave me more one-on-one time with my UIL coach since she’s a seventh grade teacher and I’m in eighth grade,” said Horta. “I don’t really get to see her as much. It’s a lot easier when all the team is together because there are fewer distractions, everyone is actually studying and it’s quiet. Because of this, I received second place at the UIL competition.”
With the extra practice time, Horta also earned ninth chair in the Region 28 Middle School Band, and she recently made it into the Harlingen High School honors band.
Promoting Vernon Pride in everything they do, administrators at the campus are hopeful that the program serves as motivation and continues to enrich student learning for many years to come.