Dear Ascension of Our Lord Parents/Guardians and Students,
In preparation for the start of the 2019-20 school year, I would like to inform you about an important change to our school based Personally Owned Device (POD) practice that will take effect this September.
First, thank you to all our parents, students, and staff who responded to the Cell Phone Survey that was administered in May and June. We received a great response to the survey with many thoughtful responses. Our administration and teachers have taken the time to consider the responses, in addition to other research and best practices, to create a school-wide policy regarding the use of cell phones in the school. The intention of the policy is to create a clear and easy to understand guideline that both allows for responsible cell phone use while limiting distractions to student learning.
As a technology-forward school, Ascension of Our Lord wants to help teach and promote responsible digital citizenship to our school community. Our school staff agree that a school-wide policy to limit unnecessary cell phone use during instructional time will help students stay more involved and engaged in their learning. The intent of this policy is to support students in their academic success by removing a major temptation and distraction, and also promote face-to-face social interactions and strong relationships.
For Division II Students, PODs will be permitted:
- In the morning before class time (8:45 -9:00 AM)
- At the end of the instructional day (after 3:35 PM)
During class time, students will have two options for managing their cell phones/PODs:
CHOICE #1: At Home:
Our first hope would be to encourage students to keep their cell phones and/or at home.
CHOICE #2: CHECK YOUR DEVICE AT THE DOOR:
We will need to observe the following guidelines as per the revised school-wide policy:
To keep the focus on academics and to reduce unnecessary distractions, AOOL enforces the following school-wide practices during the instructional day:
1. PODs shall be turned off when entering the classroom and placed in the assigned cell phone storage location as determined by the teacher.
2. PODs may be used before or after school, but not during the school day. When students reach Junior High, they will graduate to having more access to phones during the day commensurate with their maturity level.
3. PODS are NOT allowed in restrooms, changerooms, or with students during school-wide presentations and assemblies.
4. If a student needs to make an emergency phone call during instructional time, they are to come to the main office to do so.
5. The school will not be held liable for the lost/stolen PODs of students who choose to bring their devices to school.
As a school, we continue to practice a progressive discipline approach to enforce this policy. As such:
- The first unauthorized use of a POD will result in a student being asked to hand over the device and pick it up at the end of the day from the main office.
- The second unauthorized use of a POD will result in a student being asked to hand over the device and a phone call will be made to a parent/guardian before the device is returned to the student.
- The third unauthorized use of a POD will result in a parent/guardian being contacted and may result in the device not being allowed back in the school. Parents/guardians will be required to come to the office to pick up the device.
Students are no longer permitted to have their PODs on their person, or at their desk without teacher permission during instructional time.
Ascension of Our Lord School recognizes the importance of technology, communication, and collaboration and provides devices for students to use for classroom work. Whenever possible, teachers will proactively book a class set of Chromebooks rather than relying on students to access their personal devices because the apps and notifications on phones lead to non-sanctioned screen time (i.e. gaming, texting, web-surfing, and accessing social media accounts).
Teachers have reported that cell phones, when at a student’s desk, and even when being used for educational purposes, still creates a distraction for students. Studies have shown that constant notifications create a distraction that can take the brain up to 10 minutes to reengage in the task at hand. In a classroom, cell phones can also create a distraction to teachers and other students.
We request the support of our parent community to promote this policy by restricting phone contact with your child to the times listed above (i.e. nutrition and lunch breaks). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
Dr. Kirk Linton Ms. Janice Covey Ms. Teresa Cusano
Principal Vice Principal Assistant Principal