Eagle Time is failed experiment for daytime tutoring


Desmin Curry

The current Eagle Time system isn’t working. At the beginning of the school year, the Akins administration announced that students would no longer have their Flexible Instruction Time (FIT) period that allowed students to have in-person tutoring with their teachers during the middle of the school day. At the time, they said it was because they wanted to cut down on student movement in the building because of the problems with contact tracing related to the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

Instead of in-person tutoring, students were told that they should log in to Zoom meetings with their teachers to receive help on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that Wednesdays were supposed to be focused on “team building.” Mondays were supposed to be the day that students made a plan for their tutoring needs and Fridays were supposed to be focused on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons.

I understand why Eagle Time was the successor of FIT; however, it is not a suitable replacement. I haven’t seen any students join any Zoom calls during Eagle Time, including myself. Eagle Time sounds good on paper, with students planning out their week and joining Zoom meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, it was never realistic, especially when talking about high school students. The problem with this idea is that what students actually do during Eagle Time is mess around either on their phones or with their friends. Simultaneously, the students who need to talk to their teachers to get help with their work can’t do that because we can’t go to the teachers directly. Instead, the school wants students to use Zoom during Eagle Time, which clearly is not an attractive option for most students. In my experience, I have never seen a student actually join a Zoom. After a whole year using Zoom, it’s clear that in-person learning is much more effective than Zoom.

Recently, campus administrators have notified teachers that there are plans to restore FIT periods, starting in January on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. This is a positive change because students desperately need to receive in-person tutoring during the school day because of how many students are struggling academically and need help.

The one question that teachers and administrators are still deciding is what to do during this time on Mondays and Fridays: do we go back to grade-level and academy-based advisory classes or do we stay in our 1st or 5th-period classes? Restoring FIT in January will be a big improvement, but sadly it will be too for some students.

At this point, we must recognize Eagle Time to have been a failed experiment. To be fair, it did help limit bad behavior in the bathrooms and hallways, which has been problematic this year, but hopefully we can learn from this experiment to further improve tutoring opportunities for students.