Minga Case Study

Mastering “Flex Block” Schedules and Hallway Management to Keep More Kids in Class

Discover how Houston County High School significantly improved its flex period and hallway management to keep more students engaged in learning.

“Flex Block” activities created

students checked into “Flex Block”

decrease in monthly hall pass usage

About Houston County High School



The Challenge 

Orchestrating Student Movement: Getting Kids to Where They’re Supposed to Be

Houston County High is a small and rural Title I school where money is tight. Lacking extra funds for additional tutoring, the school had to find creative solutions to support students who were falling behind. So they shortened each class by ten minutes to create a new daily period called “Flex Block” — where struggling students attend study hall to improve their grades and students who are doing well attend their choice of any flexible activity, such as band or basketball.

“Flex Block” offers highly personalized learning pathways, however, organizing this was a big headache. Principal Josh Rutherford used a detailed Google Sheet with complicated functions to email students where they needed to be each day. Although his spreadsheet wizardy was impressive, the process was a lot of work and took far too long to manage. On top of this, the question always arose, “What do we do with students who don’t need the extra study time?’” These kids were just sent to a class with any available teacher, often ending up in lessons they weren’t interested in, simply because they had no other choice.

In addition, Houston County High had a problem with too many students wandering the hallways. Without clear hall pass procedures, some teachers would just let kids go, some were handwriting notes, and some were giving out actual passes. There was also an added layer of concern — in the small town of Erin, a lot of home life issues would bleed into school life. For example, if kids from the same extended family would get into an argument over the weekend, they would carry that animosity into school on Monday. So Houston County High was looking for a way to somehow separate these students, keep them in class, and prevent fights in the hallways.


Limited funding and the need for effective resource allocation

Difficulties in assigning students to study halls and “Flex Block” classes

Using spreadsheets and multiple tools to record if students were attending study halls and “Flex Block” classes

Too many kids wandering in the hallways

No system to manage and monitor student movement

Lack of a clear and equitable hall pass procedure

When you have 40% of your population that you’re trying to put into study halls, you’ve got 60% that need somewhere else to go. How do we get these kids to know where they have to go and how to get there?”

Josh Rutherford

The Solution

A Flex Scheduler and Digital Hall Passes That Keep Students Engaged in Learning

Principal Rutherford was initially drawn to Minga’s digital hall pass and check-in solutions for managing student movement. However, he soon discovered that the real game-changer was the FlexTime module. This system allows for easy duplication of flex and study hall templates each week, making “Flex Block” management at Houston County High much quicker and easier. In just a few clicks, struggling students can be swiftly assigned to study halls, while high-performing students enjoy the freedom to choose their preferred activities.

Minga’s other digital tools complement FlexTime in streamlining daily routines. The Check-In module, for example, centralizes and simplifies attendance management for special occasions, such as “Virtual Days” where some students come in for testing and the rest attend online classes. Instead of individual teachers doing a manual roll call for testing students, an attendance clerk efficiently manages check ins at a central ‘Minga Station’ in the front office. In addition, digital hall passes have enhanced visibility and control over student movement. This system plays a crucial role in easing hallway congestion and preventing certain students from causing trouble together in the halls — helping to keep more kids in class and maintain a more focused learning environment.

What Minga Offered:

A robust Flex period scheduler that efficiently manages personalized student schedules

A way to easily record and monitor “Flex Block” attendance

Hall pass data that provides better oversight of student movement

Digital hall passes — no more paper passes!

Hall pass data that provides better oversight of student movement

A “No Party Groups” feature in the digital hall pass module that prevents students from meeting up

A campus management platform that streamlines daily operations across departments

We are having far fewer issues with “Flex Block”. Before, I had to keep track of where kids were originally assigned, where they’re currently assigned, and then switch them back and forth. Now, I have my “Flex Block” template, and once I have all the people assigned, I just duplicate that for the week. Then I get all the study halls assigned and just duplicate that for the week. And then, we’re done! Minga has taken what was quite a chaotic time by nature and design and given a layer of order to it all.”

Josh Rutherford

The Outcomes

Increased Efficiency Paves the Way for Richer Educational Experiences

“Flex Block” Schedules are Far Easier to Manage

The FlexTime module has streamlined the process of assigning students to study halls and activities. This has saved administrators a ton of time, easily created personalized learning paths, and helped students stay on track and reduce the risk of falling behind.

The Success of “Flex Block” Can Now Be Measured

FlexTime’s detailed attendance reports allow quick monitoring of student attendance in flex and study hall classes. The school secretary can now verify attendance with FlexTime check-ins, streamlining the process that previously relied on manual tracking with Airtable.

Providing Choice has Boosted Student Engagement

Giving students the option to pick their own flex activities has led to a positive shift in attitudes towards learning. This newfound freedom has reduced complaints and made students less likely to skip class, because they’ve chosen the lesson themselves.

More Opportunities for Additional Learning

Teachers now have the option to use part of their planning block to host flex activities, offering extra help or guidance to students. This flexibility also extends to hosting special events, such as guest lectures by visiting professors — creating richer educational experiences without adding administrative burden.

A Better Picture of Student Movement

Digital hall passes have equipped Houston County High with detailed insights on student whereabouts, making it easy to ensure every kid is where they’re supposed to be. With just a quick glance at their phone or computer, teachers and admins can effortlessly confirm a student’s location, eliminating the need to search through the halls.

A Unified Campus Management Platform That Provides Clear Data

Replacing multiple systems like Google Sheets and Airtable with a single suite of digital tools has made daily operations far smoother and more efficient. The big added bonus is that the school now has extremely clear data on important things such as how many students are out in the hallways or how many kids are actually attending their study hall lessons.

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We have to try to remove obstacles that can get kids in trouble, cause when you write a kid up for being in the wrong place, it just kinda sucks. Giving kids a lot more choice in their schedules has given them the opportunity to do something that’s their doing. It removes that level of control in education — now the kids are choosing where they’d like to go.”

Josh Rutherford