Flex update: Assistant Principal addresses student concerns

    Assistant Principal of Teaching & Learning, Adam Paulson, hard at work, typing away in his office. Photo: Sophia Muys

    Assistant Principal of Teaching & Learning, Adam Paulson, works in his office. He and the Paly administration are still working through kinks with the new flex system, though believe it is a good working solution to past problems, such as keeping students on campus. Photo: Sophia Muys

    Weeks after the Palo Alto High School administration announced changes to how the Flex system, many students and teachers still have questions about many aspects of the new changes. The Paly Voice sat down with Assistant Principal Adam Paulson to clear up remaining confusion.

    Q: What do students do if they have to go to more than one class?

    Paulson: “I wanted to let you guys know that I am working on it [the ability to go to more than one class]. I got 272 responses from students, and the majority were questions about how to go to multiple classrooms. We are going to work that [the ability to go to multiple classes] out digitally so that we can do multiple checkins and checkouts, but until we get there, I just made some Flex passes. If you meet with a teacher and you need to move onto another class, they [the teachers] will still have the ability to say yes or no. We’re using the passes until we can figure it out digitally.”

    Q: If a teacher requests that you go to their class during flex, but you request another teacher, do you have to go to the teacher that requested you? Why?

    Paulson: “If a teacher makes an appointment with you, you have to go. You can’t check in with another teacher. It will pop up red [on TeachMore, the new attendance website for flex] if you try to sign in with another teacher. If you get requested, check in with the teacher who requested you and then move on to your next class.”

    Paper passes like these will allow students to move on to different classrooms. The passes will serve as a temporary solution, and will soon be phased out once the ability to switch is integrated into the digitized system.

    Paper passes like these will allow students to move on to different classrooms. The passes will serve as a temporary solution, and will soon be phased out once the ability to switch is integrated into the digitized system. Photo: Sophia Muys

    Q: Is this change related to the instructional time deficit? 

    Paulson: “In part it is, but I think that Flex has always been instructional time. Last year, we told kids that they couldn’t just go home. This year, we are just making it [the Flex system] more of a strict protocol, where you have to check in and check out.”

    Q: Why wasn’t this change implemented at the beginning of the year? 

    Paulson: “First, we had to get the technical part down. We are also now using TeachMore, so there was a technical adjustment.”

    Q: Why wasn’t there a way for students to have input on this change ahead of its implementation?

    Paulson: “We do ask for student input a lot, but in this instance, it’s pretty much a logistical thing. One of the pieces is that we want to align with Gunn [High School], but two, we really need to be accountable for where students are at.”

    Q: Why do students have to stay on campus? 

    “It’s a big safety issue. We have had a few instances where a parent would need to pick up their kid, and as an administrator, I didn’t have a way to say where they [the student] were. That’s a big problem, especially in an emergency. Right now, I’m taking student input and I’m reading it. We have been getting some good feedback; about 85 to 90 percent of kids are actually going to a class and checking in.”

    If students have any further questions or feedback, contact Mr. Paulson at [email protected]

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