Cary, NC – Crossroads Flex, Cary’s newest high school, will start teaching students for the first time this Autumn. But as its name suggests, the school will give students the opportunity to learn outside of traditional hours.
Crossroads Flex, located on Dillard Drive, offers what Drew Cook, Wake County schools’ senior director for high school programs, described as blended or “personalized” schedules, mixing both online and in-person classes.
“We’re looking into a baseline of face-to-face hours in classes on site, but it may vary,” Cook said. “There may be more face-to-face requirements for younger students and for upperclassmen, we’d give them more independence. But we would still monitor students and make adjustments based on what we see as their need.”
The idea behind Crossroads is to give students with schedules that may not fit into a typical school day the chance to attend classes.
This could be students who are participating in high-level athletics and arts who devote much of their day to practice or students with work or family commitments.
“These kinds of students need flexibility but at this school, we also need them to be independent thinkers with good time management,” he said. “It’s not about students having less time in school, it’s where that time is spent.”
A New Kind of Public School
Crossroads is not technically a magnet school, according to Cook, though the staff who specialize on magnet schools are helping with the start-up process. But, Crossroads is a public school students must apply to and through the application process, by way of teacher references and essays, Cook said the school will determine whether incoming students will be a right match for this different kind of schedule.
In addition to the mix of online and on-site classes, Crossroads will be open in the early morning and late afternoon. All students will have to take the 22 courses Wake County requires for graduation – all a part of what Cook called “structured flexibility.”
“This won’t be a model where students just show up for a few hours,” he said, adding the example of having students show up in person for lab time.
Students will also have electives to chose from, though Cook said there are some limitations, given the small space of the new school.
“For something like physical therapy, we don’t have the space and equipment students would need,” he said.
North Carolina’s virtual public school has a full catalogue of courses and electives available to browse.
Application Deadline this Friday
The plan is to have 100 students, grades 9-12, for the first year and gradually work up to 150 total. The deadline for applications to Crossroads Flex is Friday, April 29, 2016. Visit Crossroads Flex High School.
Story and photos by Michael Papich.