Dentime Replaces Flex


Written by Brittany Nelson, River Stone, and Bridget Vasta

Woodgrove High School students were greeted by an unfamiliar term this year with the introduction of “Den-Time.” Den-Time replaces the sixth block Flex rotation system of previous years.

In years past, students had Flex during sixth block, and they were allowed to “Flex” out of class with a pass to visit teachers for make up work or tutoring. There were two 45-minute flex rotations each period, so students could work with two teachers each period.

While the Flex system had its merits, many Woodgrove staff members noticed too many students in the halls during Flex block and club time. Teachers were reporting numerous tardies, so Principal Shipp formed a committee to study the situation and to offer solutions.

Shipp said, “We felt that there were different ways to utilize the time, so a team of teachers really started looking at the situation and having conversations about the best use of that block of time. We looked for a more structured environment where we could find the best of all worlds.”

In the Den-Time format, sophomores, juniors and seniors return to their homeroom for a sixth block study hall. The period begins with D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) time for the first twenty minutes, and then students are allowed study time for the remainder of the block. Students can still request to see a teacher for help during the period but are only allowed to leave class with an emailed request from a teacher.

As for the decision to add D.E.A.R. time, Shipp said, “We know D.E.A.R. is a very good instructional strategy, as students are exposed to more vocabulary. It’s really just simply reading time, which is a good, healthy thing!”
Students are still adjusting to the changes and have varying opinions. For instance, senior Elyse Morris said, “Originally, I preferred Flex, but now that I’ve gotten used to Den-Time, I actually like that we no longer have to change classes in the middle of the study time. I do wish that we could still use paper passes though, so that we could more easily visit teachers with less planning involved.”

In contrast, sophomore Kevin Crandall enjoyed the Flex system more because “the flex schedule gave you more of a chance to catch up on work you may have missed in classes. Dentime, I believe, is not lenient enough for students to be as productive as they were in Flex,” he said.

Freshman also have Den-Time, but due to the addition of Freshman teams, they do not have Den-time during sixth block. The Freshman class, the largest class in Woodgrove’s history with 420 students, is split up into three teams. Teams meet during their respective Den-Time blocks in first, second, and sixth periods.

In the past, clubs also met during the Flex block. Snow days and other scheduled activities often forced club time to be cut. To accommodate for the loss of time, clubs have been rescheduled to Thursdays before open lunch. Under the new system, if there is conflict with the schedule, then clubs will be rescheduled for Friday.

This year the number of clubs has increased to 78, which is the most the school has ever had. Jeff Schutte, the SCA and School Activities Director said, “It’s a really big balancing act between trying to accommodate clubs with rooms and space.” With a copious amounts of clubs and lack of necessary space, some clubs are still forced to meet during open lunch, or before or after school, although most are able to meet during the Thursday club period.

So far, Schutte feels the changes have been effective, but staff will review all new procedures at the end of the year.