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How can a school create a flexible schedule and which students benefit from a custom curriculum?

Authored By: 
George Higgins, Headmaster

Parents and students think of the school day in much the same way everyone thought about it decades ago.  Classes begin early in the morning and students finish in the mid-afternoon.  While this plan may work for a majority of students, there are a significant number of students who have difficulty with fitting into the traditional school day for a number of reasons.  This is why some schools have developed the ability to create an individualized curriculum.

There are students with professional obligations that interfere with the school day, students who change schools mid-year and the syllabi don’t match with the new school, students with health or personal issues that cause conflicts with a school’s schedule, and students who move to a new city from different countries where the educational systems doesn’t match ours in the United States.

Being able to create a custom curriculum becomes the key to success for many of the students struggling to fit into more traditional school settings.  At The Beekman School, we have students who begin their day anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  There are also students who finish their day as early as 12:30 p.m. or as late as 7:00 p.m.  Sometimes, a student can be taking courses over a 3-year span.  For instance, a 10th-grade English, an 11th-grade math, and a 9th-grade Spanish class may be best because each of these levels are academically appropriate for that individual student.  Although most students are taking five or six subjects daily, it may be more suitable for a certain student to take two or three classes, or even seven classes, if that is advisable.

The private school year in U.S. generally begins in early September and finishes in early June, but there is often a need for students to use the summer months to enrich, repeat, or advance their knowledge in certain subject areas.  For that reason, The Beekman School offers two summer programs so that everyone is able to develop a program that supports the learning needs of a wide variety of students.

When a flexible curriculum is created around the individual needs of a student, he/she has the optimum advantage of begin about to perform well and achieve the greatest learning.  And isn’t this the goal of every school?