Asset Notebook Warehouse SecurityAccess PDC-final PDC Upcoming AdjustedSection AttendanceType ClosedSection Comment CurrentOpening DiscardScore DroppedAssignment DroppedSection InProgress MissingScore NoCount NotConnected OpenConflicts OpenSection RetainGrade ScheduledClass ScoreClarifier TransferGrade Unused VerticalSplit StudyHallScheduler SaveStyle SaveRun RunReport Rounded Link FoodMenu Diploma ClassMessage ChangeSection Bus Books Book Attachments RestrictedAccess Unpublish Publish Number0 Lightbulb GradPlanReq AVID Levels Headstart Military Number9 Number8 Number7 Number6 Number5 Number4 Number3 Number2 Number1 LetterZ LetterY LetterX LetterW LetterV LetterU LetterT LetterS LetterR LetterQ LetterP LetterO LetterN LetterM LetterL LetterK LetterJ LetterI LetterH LetterG LetterF LetterE LetterD LetterC LetterB LetterA Exclamation Ellipsis Cart-new Guidance History Unsubscribe Timespan ApproveDeny Noncritical PendingChanges CartLoad CartUnload ClearLeft nextArrow IHP Keyboard Email Unlink NSE AtRisk LEP Substitute Hourglass AddPlusLines QueuePeople Release Currency Percentage Comma IncreaseDecimal DecreaseDecimal ReleaseCompleteLater WOOF-Tile Out-Tile In-tile Break-Tile SwitchJobs-Tile TOOF-Tile Stethoscope ClipboardPencil CourseRequest Contact EmergencyContact AddPage ChangeLog Paintbrush Hide DeselectAll SelectAll UpdateBack UpdateAccounting Reselect Unschedule RollbackBudget AdvanceBudget Adjust AdjustDrop NSFCheck Private Rebuild Build AddHeader2 DontSave Draggable Stop GraduationRequirements Password Aggregate SpecialEducation Section504 PartiallyEnrolledDropped Import ReplaceReport InsertImage DropClass ScheduleChanges PartiallyEnrolled Activate Deactivate Split StudentProfile Impersonate TestScores AddCourseRequest AutoSchedule ReplaceSection Selection Revert Export DesignReport AddMainSection AccountReceivable Transparent Twitter Uncompress Underline Undo Unlock Update Upload User Utilities Vendor VerticalBottomAlign VerticalCenterAlign VerticalTopAlign View ViewCourseList Void Warning Workflow YearEnd AccountPayable ActivityAccess AddCourseList AddNote AddPlus AdminAccess AdvancedSecurity Analytics ApplySchemaChange ArrowDown ArrowLeft ArrowRight ArrowTriangleDown ArrowTriangleLeft ArrowTriangleRight ArrowTriangleUp ArrowUp Attendance BatchAndConfirm Bold BorderBottom BorderColor BorderLeft BorderRight BorderTop Breadcrumb Budgeting Calculate Camera Cancel Cart CenterAlign Check CheckBox CheckBoxPartial CheckBoxUnchecked CheckmarkConfirm ChevronDown ChevronLeft ChevronRight ChevronUp Clear ClearFilter Clone Close ClosedFolderAlt ClosedGrading Collapse CollapseAll ColumnHeight Columns ColumnWidth Community Compress Conflict Consolidate Curriculum Customization Date Default Delete Demographics DialogPrompt Discipline District Dock DockClose Download DropDate Edit Education ELogoColor Employee EmployeeAccess Enrollment Error Excel Expand ExpandAll Facebook Family FamilyAccess Fee FileSettings FileUtility Filter FontBackgroundColor FontColor FoodService Globe GooglePlus GradeBook Health Help Home Image In Info inlineEdit Italicize LeftAlign Legend Lock Lunch MainMenu ManageFiles MassAssignClose MassAssignOpen MassChange MenuCollapsed MenuExpanded MissingAssignment Money NewStudent NewStudentImport NewWindow NoImage Number OneToMany OpenFolderAlt Out Override PaddingBottom PaddingLeft PaddingRight PaddingTop PageBreak PagerArrowBackward PagerArrowForward Pause Payroll Position PrintAvailable ProcessInBackground Purchasing Queue Redo RemoveAllStudents RemoveCurrentStudent RemoveDocument Reorder ReportCard Reporting Reports RequestEdits Resume RightAlign RowAction RowOpen Save SaveAndBack SaveAndForward ScheduleBuilder School Search SecuritySmall Select Separator Settings Signature SignIn SignOut Speedometer SportsLink StarOutline StarShortcutMenu StarTenPoints StateReporting StudentAccess StudentGrades StudentSchedule StudentViewAll SubReport SuperUser TeacherAccess Text Ticket TileBrowse Time TimeOff Transfer Account

Flex Mod Scheduling Makes a Comeback

Looking for an alternative to the 7- or 8-period daily schedule? We’re taking a closer look at the Flex Mod schedule and the possibilities and challenges of this growing scheduling trend.

Jacob Baumann

Product Owner

Our schedule doesn’t have room for anything else.

There’s not enough time for collaboration.

Enrichment? Remediation? When would we fit that in? 

In this era, when adaptability is just as important as knowledge, a flexible approach almost always triumphs over a rigid one.

That said, the average school schedule today remains remarkably inflexible. The Breaking Ranks II guidelines from the National Association of Secondary School Principals include flexible scheduling and grouping as a core recommendation for improved student performance, but many schools still operate within the limits of a traditional 7- or 8-period daily schedule.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at Flex Mod, an alternative scheduling option that’s making a comeback and changing the way schools use one of their most valuable resources: time. 


What is Flex Mod?

The Flexible Modular schedule (“Flex Mod”), a scheduling concept that’s being revived from its late 1960s origins, scraps the standard scheduling grid in favor of one that’s custom built to meet the needs of the students and to better fit the courses. With a Flex Mod schedule, you don’t have to cram an hour-long science lab into 45 minutes just because that’s the standard class length.   

In practice, this means flexible class times and varied student groupings. The schedule is made of modules (“mods”) of time – 15, 20, or 30 minutes, perhaps. Classes can meet any number of days per week and for different numbers of mods each time. With a Flex Mod schedule, teachers and students can enjoy a variety of class types – large and small group sessions, labs, and personal or individual learning time.


The Possibilities

Flex Mod calls for a mindset shift and a schedule overhaul, but it can bring big benefits. Here are some of the positive results schools are seeing with this innovative setup:

Future readiness: With built-in individual learning time and varied class days and lengths, Flex Mod helps students become better prepared to handle any type of schedule after graduation. The flexibility also makes it easier to arrange work or college experiences and begin the transition into post-secondary life. 

Teacher collaboration: The combination of large group classes, labs, and small group sessions makes teacher collaboration essential. Since students from any class section might attend large group lectures together, curricula must be consistent and teachers must plan so that course content, delivery, and assignments are in alignment. When co-teaching is part of the school culture, teachers have more opportunities to refine their practice, learn from each other, and have rich discussions about student progress.     

Built-in time: You can build in time for, well, anything. RTI, enrichment, extracurricular activities… These important programs don’t have to seem like add-ons when they are incorporated into the rhythm of the week.

…And more! Students can fit more courses into a Flex Mod schedule. There is more time for one-on-one interaction between students and teachers. Some students report a decreased workload outside of school. Every day is different. No more bells! 



The Challenges

School leaders who have led the transition to Flex Mod can tell you that it’s not easy to pull off a change this large without overcoming a few hurdles. But for a school that’s committed (and backed by district leadership), most of these challenges represent additional opportunities for learning.

Schedule conflicts: Scheduling conflicts do happen, and it’s up to the student to communicate with teachers to make up missed work or attend class at another time. This is a level of responsibility that some students are more than ready to take on, but others may find it difficult.

Need for communication: When Flex Mod works well, it’s because administrators, parents, teachers, board members, and the community are committed to the idea and know how to support students. It takes proactive communication and open dialogue to help your community understand the ins and outs of Flex Mod.  

Other logistics: The logistics of scheduling can be daunting, especially during the first year. Schools must be prepared to handle the inevitable bumps in the road, such as teaching hallway etiquette, finding space for large group classes, and making a plan for substitute teachers.   


Tips for the Transition

As with any building-level change, you can take steps to help your community embrace a new normal. 

Gain parent buy-in: Our number one tip for schools interested in the Flex Mod schedule is to gain parent buy-in – or better, parent advocacy – before the transition. It’s also important that staff, students, and community members understand the reason for the switch and have a forum for voicing concerns and learning more about the practice before it is launched. A community that’s ready for change will be able to help you get the most out of your new schedule.

Do your homework: Reach out and learn from schools that have already made the transition. See how they anticipate and respond to frequently asked questions, distribute information to their communities, and provide support throughout the transition.

Pay it forward: If you do decide to make the leap, pay it forward by sharing what you've learned both online and in person.

Is Flex Mod a good fit for your school? If your community is on board to support the transition to a student-centered schedule, it could be just what you need to breathe life back into your school culture and prepare your students for a successful future.


Recent articles