Staff says new MHS cell phone policy is working
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – A new policy restricting the use of cell phones by students at Marshfield High School has led to some interesting findings – teachers are reporting significantly fewer distractions, less classroom disruption and more student engagement. That’s what Dorothy Chaney shared with her colleagues on the Marshfield Board of Education on Nov. 13.
About 580 students in grades 9-12 were surveyed this fall. Only 12 said they currently do not use a cell phone. The rest were asked about their cell phone use and for their thoughts on the new policy. About 415 said they carry their phone with them throughout the school day.
Cell phone use during class time is down compared to last year. Of the 580 students surveyed, 377 said they seldom use their phones in class. If they do use it, most use social media apps like Snapchat; 179 said they use their phone primarily for texting and 45 said they have one for emergencies only.
An overwhelming majority of the students surveyed said their phone does not distract them from homework or instruction during class. Most said they understood the district’s new policies toward cell phone usage in classrooms.
A staff survey backs up the findings from the students. Teachers, for the most part, report very few occurrences of cell phone use in the first two months of the school year, and that students have been very positive toward the new policy change. Twenty-nine of 63 teachers surveyed said students have rarely or never been distracted by their cell phone in the classroom this fall.
Teachers reported less disruptions due to cell phone misuse in classrooms in September and October, and 95 percent of staff members surveyed are experiencing less classroom disruptions overall, while 72 percent say they’re experiencing more classroom engagement.
The policy states that students can use their phones or personal communication devices, as they’re called in the district’s official policy handbook, before and after school, during their lunch break, in between classes, and during after-school activities.
The policy also states the use of PCDs in the educational setting is strictly prohibited. The new policy outlines disciplinary steps for first, second, third, and repeated offenses.