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HPMS Cell Phone Policy

Dear HP parents and students,

 

At Highland Park, we strive to support student learning by having them fully engaged in our classrooms. Reducing distractions helps ensure our students are better able to focus on the teaching and maximize their learning opportunities.

 

In order to have our students fully engage in class, we have a no cell phone policy at HP.  The 2021-22 Highland Park School Handbook states:

 

“Cell phones and other electronic devices need to be “off and away” from the time you enter the building until the bell rings at 3:50”
 

 

This year however, we have seen a significant increase in the amount of phone use by students in their classes and halls.  We have also seen more social anxiety (aka middle school drama) that is tied directly to texting during the school day.

 

In order to help our students be more engaged in class and remove the social distractions, we will be collecting student phones that are not “Off and Away”. This will look like:

 

  • All cell phones seen by a staff member will be collected and turned into the office.
  • On the first offense, students may pick them up with parent approval.
  • On the second offense, we will ask parents to pick up the phone.

 

All students are expected to keep their phones at home, or secured in their lockers while at school in order to avoid this from happening.  This will help support students arriving to class on time, staying engaged in class, and reduce social anxiety.

 

On Wednesday 2/19, we will discuss this with students during advisory class.  During that time, we will show the video below which illustrates the impact on learning that having cell phones can have on students.  I highly recommend watching it if you have a moment.

There’s A Cell Phone In Your Student’s Head

 

If you are interested in learning more about the impact cell phones on developing minds, I have included some articles below:

Link to Brain Performance Center

NYT article

National Geographic Article

Scientific American Article

Psych Central Article

 

You can help at home by encouraging students to leave their phones (airbuds, etc.) in their lockers, and also ensuring that students have charged Chromebook ready for school every day.

 

Finally, you can help as well by monitoring your student’s cell phone use.  During a recent advisory lesson, students tracked how much screen time they have in a given day (iPhones do this automatically).  Several students in one class were over 9 hours a day… on school days! It is important that we are aware of this so we can help them balance their time. Below are some resources to help parents monitor student’s cell phone usage:

https://www.consumerreports.org/smartphones/how-to-use-parental-controls-on-a-smartphone/

 

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Curtis Semana

Principal