For Andrew S., 18, it was the pandemic. He liked going to school to spend time with other students, he loved to learn, and he was close with his teachers. His home life was good with close-knit family, and he enjoyed a great childhood exploring and playing in the woods. But when COVID hit, his school like most, was ill-prepared to transition to distance learning, slow to adapt to technology and at a loss for how to maintain a personal connection with students to keep them motivated.
“For me, the most disruptive part was not being physically present in a school,” explained Andrew. “It was very hard trying to learn on a computer where I can’t have one-on-one help and have a teacher in the room with me. I struggled to understand how the curriculum worked while doing remote learning – it was extremely difficult.”
So, he just stopped attending. He was failing to the point where dropping out and finding an alternative school seemed a better option. “I tried a community college which had a GED program, but it just wasn’t for me,” he said. “I learned about Flex through Facebook and thought it sounded nice. I’m happy every day – Flex High is the perfect fit for me.”
Because of Flex High’s model of personalized instruction and a flexible schedule, they were able to quickly transition to remote learning. Teaching was still one-on-one, unlike the mass Zoom classes traditional schools were experimenting with. Throughout the pandemic closures, Flex continued to graduate students and help hundreds of students catch up on credits.
Andrew is on track to graduate next year and while he was working toward his high school diploma, he earned his Private Investigation license. He plans to work for a while and then join the National Guard.
“My life is a roller coaster of things and it’s only barely begun,” he said. “I have a lot to learn but also a lot to give. I’ve been told I’m a very wise man for my age and that I inspire people both younger and older than me, which makes me so happy.”