Mo Flex program, SBE helps students academically and fiscally

Senior Alex Long prepares fast food at his job as a McDonald’s cook.

  Senior Taylor Bunch enters Warsaw High with a coffee in one hand and yearbook ads in the other. Bunch is known for her heavy involvement in academics and extracurriculars, so she considers her coffee to be a necessary evil to start out the day. Unlike other students, her day doesn’t end at 3 p.m. Bunch will spend five and a half hours at school before leaving early just to go straight to her job at Tracy Spry and Associates. This schedule is familiar to the dozens of students who participate in SBE and the Mo Flex program.

  The School Flex program – alternatively referred to as Mo Flex – is an opportunity offered to employed seniors who would like to spend an even amount of time focusing on work and academics. The Supervised Business Experience program (SBE) is an alternative option for the same school-to-work plan and is under the supervision of business teacher Bethany Siegel. While only a dozen or so students use these tools, administration has found them to be very productive in enhancing student ability and activity on and off of campus.

  “I see the [Mo Flex] program as a way to help students who might not think high school is for them, counselor Tyler Richardson said. 

  These programs allow the student to leave school for work whenever they need based on both academic and career needs. In order to be a part of the program, students have to fulfill the requirements of the contract, have the contract signed, and fill out a timesheet every week.

  Bunch is one of the few students who employ the Mo Flex program. When Bunch isn’t knee-deep in college classes and yearbook material, she’s working at Tracey Spry and Associates as an officer clerk.

  “This program is helpful because I just have to record my timesheet online to maintain the program. I can work more hours and do a lot more on the job. Since the office closes between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., a full day of school would really limit my hours,” Bunch said. “I think this is a great program. I haven’t had any problems thus far. If you meet requirements and you have all of your needed credits to graduate then it is a great opportunity. I think students probably utilize their time at school better, too, because it is limited.”

  Senior Mason Knox works for his grandma when he isn’t in school and finds that the program has allowed him more time and has also lifted his academic load.

  “I think everyone should have this option as soon as they are able to get a job because it’s awesome,” Knox said. “Of course, with anything that has benefits, people abuse the program and use it to jack around all day instead of using it for what it’s meant to be used for.”

  Despite Knox’s claim, Richardson and Siegel have worked together to ensure the most effective stance in protecting the integrity of the programs.

  “In the contract, the employer’s name and phone number is listed. If administration finds out that a student is taking advantage of the program or if a student does not work the minimum hours required, they fail however many sections they are enrolled in. So if a student had three sections of Mo Flex and they were not meeting the items on the contract, they would fail every section of Mo Flex they were enrolled in. In some cases this would prevent them from graduating, even though Mo Flex is an elective credit,” Richardson said. “Attendance is closely monitored through the time sheets. Every week a report is run and the administration visits with each individual.”

It [Mo Flex] helps students find a way to be successful in future endeavors while still earning high school credit,”

— counselor Tyler Richardson

  Siegel keeps the regulations on a stricter standard. Instead of having a digital timesheet, students have a physical copy that requires both the signature of the employer and the date it was signed for every week.

  “The program helps both students and the school. While students are able to make more money while gaining business and real life experience, the school still gets to include them in attendance,” Siegel said. “Students in the SBE program are allowed to leave for two hours, and students get a business credit, but they have to also be taking Business Technology. You have to work at least ten hours a week, including Saturday and Sunday

  While the program certainly does open up a world of opportunities, there are still some cons. Because the lack of regular school attendance, students are more likely to miss out on some of those high school experiences that make the teenage era of life special. It also restricts the amount of time available to work on education classes at school. If a junior were to partake in the work side of Mo Flex, they might miss some opportunities to broaden their horizons by choosing to be involved in more extracurriculars and electives.

  “Anytime there is a program that helps students be successful, and having the added benefit of helping the school and community, then it is a worthwhile program,” Morrison said. “We are excited to see how this program will positively affect students at Warsaw High School.”