CCA's flexible schedule benefits families and teachers

The flexibility in the schedule means breaks can be used as an incentive for getting work done.

One of the biggest benefits for families who choose Commonwealth Charter Academy is the flexibility the school provides for their children's education. The flexible schedule has benefits for students, parents and teachers. That's why the subject of this month's podcast is the perfect fit.

Tricia Carnes is a CCA family mentor, parent and learning coach. She's also a former teacher. Tricia has served as a CCA parent and learning coach for five years. She has been a family mentor for the past three.

Tricia has seen firsthand the flexibility CCA provides and how it can benefit students, families and teachers. She has students in each grade level — elementary, middle and high school — and she has seen how flexibility works differently for each student.

“I see it in my own children,” Tricia said. “What works for one child may not work for another.”

The flexibility allows high school students to pursue jobs or internships, sports and extracurricular activities and to keep up with their academic work if their family needs to travel.

In her own family, Tricia takes advantage of the flexibility in the school schedule by using breaks as an incentive for getting schoolwork done. For example, her eldest enjoys being rewarded with a break in which she can read books of her choice, and her youngest enjoys puzzles and academic video games. The ability to change up the schedule and create breaks that engage students’ brains in activities that make learning fun and create opportunities for quality family time is one of Tricia’s favorite parts of CCA.

“Even though we spend so much time doing schoolwork together, my kids still want to do other things with me outside of school as well. So it’s the quality time that can come out of flexibility that is great too.”

In her experience as a family mentor, Tricia has encountered students from urban areas who take advantage of the flexibility to maintain part-time jobs or to work around the schedule of a parent who works during the day, allowing for catching up in the evenings or on weekends. For students in rural areas, the flexibility gives the students freedom to assist with any outdoor activities around the house and eliminates the travel time it would have taken for them to bus to the nearest school.

From her teaching background, Tricia can speak to the ways in which teachers have more flexibility at CCA. For example, if a teacher is sick, he or she normally would have to make plans for substitutes and return to school the next day having to reteach that lesson.

“The teachers have the flexibility to use prior LiveLessons, which allows the students to still continue along without a substitute teacher,” Tricia said. “A lot of times, a substitute day is a wasted day for students.”

With freed-up time, teachers can provide parents and students with other tools to make things easier on both ends. Whether it is through step-by-step instructions or recorded demonstrations, they take the time to go the extra mile.

Finding the best way to use flexibility at CCA sometimes takes time for new families, Tricia said. Every family’s situation is different, and creating consistency in students’ schedules is important. Mentors are there to help families find what system works best, even if it takes a few weeks of trial and error to find the right fit.


Commonwealth Charter Academy


October 4, 2017


Family Voices

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