Steamboat Springs Tim Bishop, principal at the Steamboat Springs Middle School, said at the board of education meeting Monday night that two students at the middle school placed in the state Anne Frank writing contest this year.
Next year with the new flexible scheduling at the middle school, he said he expects to see more students excel in competitions like these, as students will have the time to explore a wider range of electives as well as focus on areas of interest.
"These students had to take time out of class to be in this competition," he said.
With flexible scheduling students will have 45 minutes a day to pursue their gifts and talents, catch up with studies and receive help in subject areas needing improvement.
With flexible scheduling, students will get to enhance their talents without taking away from their core academic study time.
Bishop said at the middle school level students often chose their classes based on what their friends or parents think they should take.
He said by expanding the exploratory electives into the eighth grade, students will discover any hidden talents they have and will know what areas they want to pursue by the time they reach high school.
For those that do not have extraordinary talents or do not need extra help with their studies, Bishop said there are many other options available such as band or reading programs.
Jerry Buelter, vice principal at the middle school, said the schedule is a combination of block scheduling and the traditional 45-minute class periods.
"It's the best of both worlds," he said.
The new scheduling will allow teachers to work as a team and decide how they want to break up the core academic time to implement lessons or projects.
Teachers will plan in advance how they want to spend the entire core academic time that will consist of approximately four hours each day. The amount of core academic time with flexible scheduling will increase by almost an hour a day, said Bishop.
He said teachers will be able to integrate subject matter and have longer amounts of time to do science projects or other engaging activities.
"The neat thing is that academic teachers will get to work together," he said.
To allow for the new scheduling staff changes were necessary.
Bishop said the middle school is hiring four new teachers that can teach math and science. Through the teacher's knowledge in more than one discipline, integrating subjects will be much easier to do and will provide a more integrated and well-rounded education for the students.
"We're excited about the possibilities," said Bishop.