Over the years many new studies have shown that without cellphones in the classroom, students are more productive. This year, the MRUSD School Board has instituted a new policy regarding cell phones.
Dr. Dirth, Superintendent of Schools, helped develop the new phone policies.
“We are finding that more and more students are bringing their cell phones to school and are not having success focusing on their school work because of this distraction,” the MRUSD letter sent out on June 17, 2019 says.
Teachers like this policy better because it brings students’ attention to the class more, rather than to their phones. More and more schools around the country are now enforcing stricter phone rules.
Why take action now within the MRUSD?
“A decision from a few years from staff and hearing around that cellphones were becoming an issue,” Dirth said.
The elementary and middle schools in the MRUSD are handling it differently than BFA.
At SATEC, City and Fairfield, students should not even bring their phones to school, and if they do, their phone is locked up at the beginning of the day, and given back to students at the end of the day in homeroom.
For BFA, on the other hand, using phones during appropriate times is okay, like Advisory and lunch. During classes, teachers are expected to have students place their phones in a “shoe holder” as they come in to class. Teachers can let students use their phones for legitimate learning purposes.
“Enforcing new rules this year I did not think they would technically be struggles, but just different opinions on the new rules,” Dirth said.
Some students think the new policy is not fair. According to Oxford Learning; “Allowing students to access these resources in class can help encourage participation and discussions.”
Marleigh Messier (‘22) gave her opinion on this: “Doing Kahoot and emailing on your phone would use less time and make it easier,” Messier said.
Many sources and websites can be found that debate whether phones are truly a distraction, or a “learning tool.”
The large effort required to change cell phone policies in all of the MRUSD schools across the District has been undertaken at the start of this 2019-20 school year.
No one knows for certain if the policy will have a positive effect on improving student learning.
“We will look and observe over time,” Dirth said.