The Flexible Scheduling Program was created in 1964 as part of the Birmingham Plan for Excellence. The goal of this plan was to encourage "new ways to individualize instruction and to professionalize teaching" by funding innovative programs. This resulted in the implementation of the Flexible Scheduling Program, commonly known as Flex, which today is the only surviving component of that plan. After fifty years of adaptive growth and several thousand graduates, the central goal of Flex remains identical to that at its inception: care for the progress of the individual student through a challenging curriculum taught by a qualified staff. Consistent with current research on secondary education, the Flex Program continues to argue for a core of knowledge which is responsive to the needs of students in a complex society. But perhaps even more significant is that in its preparation of students for participation in a global society, Flex assumes an excitement in the lifelong learning process that makes learning its own reward.
Goals of the Program
The Flex Program is committed to the attainment of the following goals through an integrated interdisciplinary approach:
1. The integration of literary, historical, aesthetic, and philosophical movements into a coherent view of the world and its people.
2. Development of students who are intellectually curious, compassionate, courageous, and civically engaged.
3. Development of skills in the oral and written expression of ideas.
4. Application of analytical skills in the discussion of literature, the arts, and the social sciences.
5. The promotion of flexibility in the design of curriculum to accomodate the needs of the student body.
6. Encouragement of the development of lifelong learners through the active participation of students in the learning process.
7. The creation of a community of learners.
8. The development of values of appreciation for cultural diversity and democratic citizenship.
9. The professionalization of teaching through team planning and curriculum development.
While controversial during his life in the 20th century, Mortimer Adler was responsible for the creation of the Great Books of the Western World program which celebrates not only the reading of classic literature, but equally important, the discussion of classic literature in order to widen the reader's world view, no matter the time period. Flex is proud to be a novels based program that includes not only what Adler would call 'great books' but also books that expand beyond the traditional literary canon and is inclusive of women and minority authors, as well as influential non-fiction narrative.
Dewey's work as an educational theorist and practioner in the 19th and 20th centuries continues to influence Flex's daily practices in the 21st century. Dewey, associated with the University of Michigan, the University of Vermont, and the University of Chicago, believed schools should be places where students didn't just learn content, but instead experienced and practiced democracy in order to prepare them to maintain and lead a civil society. Flex is proud of our students who practice participatory democracy through our regular Town Halls, our elected Student Advisory Board, and our community based Program Advisory Board.
Swiss Developmental Psychologist and Philosopher
Known for his work with developmental psychology and cognitive development, Piaget believed in the importance of play and a 'child-centered' approach to education. Flex is intentional in its efforts to ensure time for community building, play, and giving back to the Seaholm community and beyond. Flex also prides itself on being student-centered, giving students choice within the curriculum and in the development of the curriculum itself.