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Students take ownership of flex spaces

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.

The new flexible learning spaces at Edina Public Schools are a popular site for students to extend their learning in a variety of ways. However, since they are not a designated classroom and are used by many, making sure the spaces are maintained throughout the day can be a challenge. South View Middle School (SVMS) has come up with a solution for this by having students Adopt a Flex Space.

Every Advisory, which is home base for students, is assigned a flex space close to their classroom. Each space, which was named by the marketing/design class at SVMS, is maintained by a group of students that rotate throughout a four-week period. The students clean whiteboards, wipe tables, and readjust furniture.

Sixth grade teacher Sherry Klehr originally came up with the idea to adopt a flex space and it quickly gained support. “We have these beautiful spaces that our amazing community helped support getting into our building and we want students to think about how they can maintain and honor them,” said Michaela Loo, grade 8 teacher and personalized learning coach.

Flex spaces are used as a collaborative learning environment. Students are able to use the spaces during class under close teacher supervision for working collaboratively with classmates or to work independently on assignments. “They help leverage the work we are already doing,” said Patricia Pettis, grade 8 teacher and personalized learning coach.

Since flex spaces are an important piece of learning, students at SVMS understand the need for maintaining the spaces. Cole Brazel, grade 8 at South View, said, “If you’re keeping up the space, you’re more likely to take care of it.”