Voices of Change

Hear from principals, teachers, parents, and students who have changed their schools' cell phone policies to "Away For The Day."

 
 
 
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Teachers

Students honestly said they were surprised at how much less stress they felt knowing they couldn’t check their phone during class. They hadn’t realized how distracting their phone was until they didn’t have it. Even if it was in their backpack – it was always calling to them to sneak a peek.
— CASSIE SINICHKO, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, GW COMMUNITY SCHOOL, SPRINGFIELD, VA
We’ve seen positive results due to the change.
— KAREN METCALF, TEACHER, CORNERSTONE LEARNING COMMUNITY, TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA
I have been impressed with how well this has worked with many of our students. It has decreased the number of cell phone related incidents with my grade level.
— LUCAS LAUER, SCHOOL COUNSELOR, FREDERICK COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL, WINCHESTER, VA
Our kids never complain. It is just the way it is.
— CHRISTINE LAFFERTY, TEACHER, MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF EVERGREEN, EVERGREEN, CO
Initial resistance but parents love it, and kids are doing great with it now.
— LEAH NIEHAUS, SCHOOL COUNSELOR, MANHATTAN BEACH MIDDLE SCHOOL, MANHATTAN BEACH, CA
The change has been positive - having clear and firm boundaries has been a relief to all of us.
— DEB BYRD, TEACHER, UPLAND HILLS SCHOOL, OXFORD, MI
The new policy is going great! Students feel relieved and there is less drama during the day.
— JUNIA ZIBLAY, LIBRARIAN, MARIN PRIMARY & MIDDLE SCHOOL, LARKSPUR, CA
It is going extremely well. We are very happy about our new policy
— CHARLOTTE OLIVER, TEACHER, FERNDALE HIGH SCHOOL, FERNDALE, CA.

Principals

Things are much better! Parents who attended the orientation before school started applauded when I announced the change. Teachers are raving about the better classroom atmosphere they feel the new policy promotes. Kids are not balking and I truly think they enjoy the forced down-time, but at dismissal, they are like “flies on sugar” to check their phones. I would still say 80%+ of the conflicts we deal with have some social media/cell phone component, but almost always it occurs off campus and outside of the school day.
— ROB THOMAS, PRINCIPAL, TWELVE CORNERS MIDDLE SCHOOL, ROCHESTER, NY
Kids started talking to each other again! Even though the kids complained at first, and some tried to skirt around it, overall the student’s are happy we have the policy.
— JEANNE BORDERS, PRINCIPAL, CORNERSTONE PREPARATORY ACADEMY, ACWORTH, GA
We the faculty, parents, and many of the students have found it to be a salutary tweak.
— JOSHUA ABRAMS, PRINCIPAL, MERIDIAN ACADEMY, JAMAICA PLAIN, MA
We recommend that parents do not permit their child to have social media accounts at this point in their development. This is especially true for 6th grade students. If a family has decided to permit their child to use social media, we recommend that you keep track of all log-in information and that you monitor them regularly. If your child has been subject to, or party to, previous incidents of bullying through social media, we strongly recommend that families remove all social media from their child’s phone and any other mobile devices.
— SONHANDO ESTWICK, PRINCIPAL, TOMPKINS SQUARE MIDDLE SCHOOL, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Cell phones and electronic devices will not be used in the classroom, cafeteria, other common areas, lunch/recess, bathrooms or hallways. We ask that families and students use the main office when communicating messages from home or school
— ASHLEY GILLINGHAM, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, LAKE HARRIET COMMUNITY SCHOOL, MINNEAPOLIS, MN
It took us only a matter of months before we realized the need to back up and slam that cell phone freedom gate shut. Since then, we’ve continued to have our share of cell phone drama, but it is very much reduced and often not during the confines of the school day. We work more with students who, the night before, were attacked via SnapChat, etc.
— RYAN WILSON, PRINCIPAL, DAWSON MIDDLE SCHOOL, SOUTHLAKE, TX
We promote student interaction while at school and thereby do not allow headphones to be used on campus, unless guided to do so by a teacher for instructional purposes. Our students interact with each other, they find alternative activities to screens and they are not as distracted by excessive pinging and vibrating.
— JEFFREY JONES, PRINCIPAL, K. INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, TOKYO, JAPAN
This is our second year, and teachers and parents love it. Students follow the rules and the teachers and parents appreciate the leverage it give them with the students.
— A. ROBERT JESSEN, PH.D., PRINCIPAL, MONTE DEL SOL CHARTER SCHOOL, SANTE FE, NM
We think it is going great. Students have gotten used to it and teachers LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!.
— MICHAEL DEVOLL, PRINCIPAL, OLD ROCHESTER REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL, MATTAPOISETT, MA

Parents

I can’t speak to how it’s been in the school, but I do see more kids interacting with each other outside before school
— KARA MYERS, PARENT, DEER CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL, LITTLETON, CO
They now have Power Down Thursday where students are not allowed to use their cell phones, technology on Thursdays. I love it! I wish they would make everyday at Power Down day.
— GAIL GOULD, PARENT, CORNERSTONE ACADEMY, HOUSTON, TX
Love the “Away for the Day” approach.
— DANA PINGATORE, PARENT, PINE VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL, SAN RAMON, CA