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New Cell Phone Practices Beginning in Summer 2024

April 19, 2024

 

Cell phone usage in schools has become a major concern nationwide affecting mental health and academic progress in the classroom environment, and ETHS is no exception. We recognize the negative impact that student cell phone usage in the classroom can have on student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing—extending far beyond the classroom setting. Research has shown that cell phone usage during instructional time disrupts the learning process, diminishes the quality of classroom social interactions, impedes student focus, and results in missed instruction. Employers also indicate that there is a negative impact on performance in relation to students and recent graduates’ cell phone use in a variety of work environments.

 

The ETHS administration is making important updates to our cell phone practices in order to be proactive and consistent across all classrooms. Starting in Summer School 2024, all ETHS classrooms will be equipped with a phone storage unit where students will be expected to store their cell phones during class time.

 

Our plan is to limit access to cell phones during class time in order to eliminate its disruption in the learning process and to ensure that students are fully present not only academically, but also socially and emotionally. To this end, the research shows that physical separation from the phone in the classroom setting is best for students.

 

Questions?

Adjusting to this new practice may feel challenging for some students and parents/guardians, and we know you may have questions. We invite you to do the following:

  • Join us for our virtual parent/guardian meeting on 5/20/24 at 6:30pm where our administration will address your questions. Check your email for more information.

  • Review and talk about research on cell phone harm as a family.

  • Review our Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Is this a cell phone ban? 

No, this is not a cell phone ban; it is a limit to access phones and headphones/earbuds during instructional time.

 

How can students and parents/guardians stay in touch during the school day? 

Students and parents/guardians can use cell phones to stay in touch throughout the day during 10-minute passing periods, lunchtime in the cafeteria, free periods, and in The Hub.

 

What if a student becomes sick while at ETHS?

If your child becomes sick while in class, they should tell their teacher and ask for a pass. They will be allowed to retrieve their phones and will be sent to the Nurses’ Office. Please review the guidance from our Health Services Office for more information.

 

What if a student or parent has an urgent situation and needs to be in touch with each other?

In case of emergencies or urgent situations during class time, parents/guardians should call the Dean’s Office at (847)424-7900. If a student needs to contact their parents/guardians during class time, they should let their teacher know. The teacher will assist them in accessing a phone or making contact.

 

How do we know our students are safe if there is a school-wide safety concern, such as a lockdown? 

Rest assured that our staff are prepared to handle emergencies and will prioritize your safety above all else. Our school has procedures in place to address emergency situations effectively, regardless of cell phone access. Our staff are trained to respond quickly and appropriately to any emergency that may arise, and we have systems in place to communicate with emergency services and notify parents or guardians as needed.

In the event that ETHS has a lockdown, soft lockdown, hold-in-place, shelter-in-place, or evacuation it is important for students to follow specific instructions as outlined in our Safety / Emergency Response; students will have access to their cell phones if it is determined to be the safest, necessary and appropriate action.

 

What are the consequences for phone usage with this new practice?

Our Student Behavior Code within our student handbook will indicate that if a student is noncompliant with cell phone or headphones/earbuds expectations, including storage unit use for cell phones, the teacher will give a verbal reminder of the expectation and potential consequences for continued noncompliance. If there is a second incident of noncompliance with cell phones or headphones/earbuds, the teacher will contact the parents/guardians, and if there is a third incident of noncompliance the teacher will submit a conduct referral to the student’s Dean and consequences will be applied in accordance with the Student Behavior Code.

 

Should I be worried about my child’s cell phone getting stolen? 

Many ETHS teachers have utilized cell phone storage units in class for years at ETHS with no stolen cell phones. Our processes will continue cell phone theft prevention while in cell phone storage units, including the location of storage units, a quick retrieval process at the end of class, and the notation of which pocket a student’s cell phone is assigned to.

 

How will my student do class work without a cell phone? 

ETHS provides each student a Chromebook as part of the District’s 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative. All assigned school work can be completed with the use of the District-issued laptop. For more information visit: ETHS 1:1 Digital Learning 

 

What if separation from a cell phone creates particular challenges, such as anxiety, for a student?

Notify the student’s dean, counselor or social worker so that the grade level team can help create a plan with parent and student, ensuring compliance with the expectations and also providing support.

 

Thank you for your partnership as we hold student wellbeing and student learning at the center of all that we do as students, parents/guardians, and as educators. We will provide additional information as part of the updated Student Handbook in July 2024.

 

Take care and best wishes for a great end of the school year!