I thought this short exert from an article on the "Screenagers" website was particularly interesting:
LACK OF DATA
The Screenagers team searched for data on school cell phone policies five years ago and realized there wasn't any. So in 2017, Screenagers conducted a national survey, which resulted in 1,200 middle school parents providing responses. The responses were shared in a CNN op-ed.
According to the parents, 55% of middle schools allowed kids to carry their cell phones all day despite the fact that more than 80% of parents did not want their kids using their cell phones at school. And in research since, the team has discovered that having phones away during school has a positive impact on students' learning, mental health and social lives. Thus, the Screenagers team created the Away For The Day webpage to advocate for phone-free campuses.
STUDENTS LEARN BETTER WITHOUT PHONES
Studies have found that when phones are away, test scores increase. They've also concluded that when phones are present, students who are already struggling in school will struggle even more, meaning that when phones are out, the gap between high and low-achieving students becomes even wider.
EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL IMPACTS OF PHONES IN SCHOOLS
Teens who spend more time on social media are also more likely to report symptoms of depression. When students engage in in-person time with friends, peers and mentors, their mood increases.
Middle and high schools have always been sites of drama and conflict, but the presence of social media amplifies the tensions between students even more.
“I can say without a doubt that the vast majority of student conflicts we deal with on a day-to-day basis originate from social media. Students are constantly trying to check their phones for the latest social media posts, any of which cause stress and anxiety during the school day.” — William Dorritie, superintendent
“Since [Away for the Day], we’ve continued to have our share of cell phone drama, but it is very much reduced and often not during the confines of the school day." — Ryan Wilson, principal
When a student is receiving rude messages on Snapchat or made aware of a group chat they were left out of, it can become very hard to focus on anything else, especially school.
Students who have social anxiety might use their device as a crutch throughout the day, relying on it to avoid uncomfortable interactions with peers. Without having to face the discomfort, these students never have a chance to grow or conquer their social anxiety.
This is one conversation we have with our students, hopefully people are having similar conversations at home.
Yesterday Mr. George and Mr. Hartl visited every grade in the school to talk about three key messages.
1. Being on time
We have seen an increase with students being late for class at all points of the day, especially at the start of the day and after lunch. When a student arrives late it is not only disruptive to the learning of others, it is also disruptive to their own learning. Our expectations are that students are in their desks at the start of the day, by 8:30. Our 8:30 bell is an indicator that they are now late and will be marked as late. This is also the case for every period that follows, we need them in their rooms so we can maximize their learning opportunities. We have explained that if we have chronic lates moving forward that we will be keeping specific students in during lunch to make up that time.
2. Cell phones and Air-pods
When the decision was made to not allow phones in classrooms, it was because research indicates that learning increases. When the phone is present students are more worried about answering texts and social media then they are about learning. It becomes a distraction that impacts everyone in the room. We reminded them today that their phones should be in the lockers throughout the day, this includes headphones of all types. We explained that if teachers see them they will be asked once to put the item away. If it comes out again or it is repeated frequently then the phone needs to be handed in to the teacher until the end of the day. Teachers have been finding an increase in students being argumentative and disrespectful when this conversation happens. If a student is struggling to follow this guideline and is being disrespectful they could be sent home. If there is a need for a parent to communicate with their child we ask they call the school and not the child in class. We are more than happy to have them come down to the office to engage in a conversation with you.
A reminder was given to all students about how we treat each other not only at DMC but in the world in general. We have had several substitutes lately not wanting to return to the school because of the level of disrespect from some of our students. We also have a general feel from some of our students that they can come and go as they please, leaving the class or the school whenever they want. It was explained to all of them that we are responsible for them while they are in the building and that teachers need to know when they need to leave the classroom. We are asking that everyone at DMC treat each other with respect, that we follow the “Golden Rule".
We concluded the talks by thanking all of the students that are working incredibly hard, consistently come to class on time and ready to learn. We suggested that this day marks a fresh start for all of those that have struggled with the above expectations, that now was the time to set new goals to help make a concerted effort to ensure a quality learning experience for themselves and those around them.
None of these are new expectations at DMC, in fact most of these would be the expectations that all schools would have, including the elementary schools our students have come from. Although we try to address these situations as they occur, it would be greatly appreciated if parents could support us by having ongoing conversations with their children about these topics.
Please see our page on Code of Conduct for more information on our school expectations.
The Staff of DMC
We are one month into the new school year and so far everything has been great. Thanks to all of our families for a smooth transition back into the new year. The meet the teacher evening was a huge success, with the welcome back BBQ bringing out a large number of families. We were extremely happy to have so many of you back in the school, and in many cases we were even more excited to have parents in the building that have never been able to set foot inside the school due to COVID restrictions. Our next parent involved event will be Student-Parent-Teacher Conferences on November 24 and 25. Stay tuned for more information in our weekly updates. We have also been very happy to have spectators back for sporting events, The gym has been backed with both home and away crowds cheering on the teams. Volleyball is in full swing as is our soccer club. There are also a number of clubs popping up over the lunch hour for students to take part in. So far 2022-23 has been fantastic and we look forward to even more great events.
And so ends another school year at Dr. Martha Cohen. The conclusion had us saying good-bye to our grade 9's who are off to high school. The June 27th farewell was a spectacular event marked by our first live farewell audience in a couple of years. The gym was packed, and hot, but the excitement was contagious as our 9's walked the stage and then danced the night away.
Today, June 28th we had our first sports day in a couple of years, all hands were on deck as the classes went through multiple stations enjoying the nice weather. It was a great event hosted by our amazing PE team.
I want to wish all of our returning families a safe and restful summer, we look forward to working with you in the new school year. To those that are leaving us we wish you well in your new schools and/or communities. Thank you for being part of the DMC family.
Remember, for those returning, grade 7-9 families can pre-order supplies on our website, check out the story in our newsletter. You are also welcome to purchase the supplies on your own. For grade 6, we will once again be purchasing most of your supplies.
Have an amazing summer and thanks for your ongoing support.
We are into the final two months of the school year, the weather is finally turning around and we are all excited to be able to get outdoors. Social media continues to be our number one concern for children and we asking parents to be diligent in monitoring what is happening at home. Most of the contact kids have is in the evening, and when it turns unkind parent and kids ask the school to solve the problem. We need your help in making sure your children are supervised and that you know who they are talking to and what they are saying. The phone is owned by parents, and ultimately it is the parent that is responsible for anything inappropriate that takes place on the phone. Those devices are awesome sources of power and incredible entertainment, but they can turn the school world upside down in a single text, Snap Chat or Instagram post. If we all just take a moment to ensure we know what our kids are doing, the cyber world becomes a much safer place.
With Spring Break upon us I wanted to take a moment to once again thank our families for your ongoing support. 2021-22 has again, not been an easy school year. We have had lots of ups and downs, changes and tight turns to navigate. We appreciate all of your support as we transition through each stage. As we head into the break I hope you can all take time to relax and enjoy time together as families. When we return after the break, there are only three months of school left until summer. The spring will be a busy time, many grades trying to plan field trip experiences, the track and field season coming up and the hope we can invite families to the school for a celebration of some kind, stay tuned. We know the pandemic can pop up at anytime to force us all to change course, we have proven over the last couple of years that we can all do it, we may not like it, but it can be done. I hope we have seen the last of many of these challenges, but I also know that if they arise we have amazing support from all of you. Enjoy the spring break, and we will see you on the other side.
I know, I am a bit late with this, but better late than never. We are two week into 2022 and it has been a crazy start. We are happy to have students in the building, learning is taking place and everyone is mostly settled. We have had a fair number of both student and teacher absences, in many cases when a teacher is away there are no substitutes to cover so we are managing that internally. This places a strain on our human resources, but we believe that it is better to have students in classrooms rather than online. Please remember to let us know if your child is going to be away and if it is an illness, this just helps with our planning.
We are hopeful that this pandemic is running its course so we can return to relative normal. Thanks to all of our families for your understanding around the Province's and CBE's mask wearing policies. If you could continue to support us by reminding your child to wear them properly we would greatly appreciate it.
I believe the future looks bright and we will clear this pandemic soon, at least that is what I am hoping for. Having been in many schools I can assure you we have an amazing student population and an outstanding staff, everyone working hard everyday to make DMC great. Having said that, if you do have any questions or concerns, please give us a call or drop us an email.
All the best in 2022!
Another calendar year has come and gone and we are heading into 2022! I want to take a moment to thank all of our families for their support and trust. Everyday the staff at DMC works hard to provide a safe and caring learning environment, it is not perfect, we have bumps, but we always strive to make things amazing for your children. We could not do what we do without your support. Thanks to all of you!
I hope all of our families have a safe and restful holiday season, that we all take time to reflect on the good things and be thankful for everything we have. Stay safe and we will see you 2022.
I was just reading an article that sums up what I as both a parent and educator have been struggling with for a long time. Kids are hard to raise in the best of times, and over the last few years it has not exactly been the best of times. How can we help get our kids back on track? At the school we focus on supporting students academic and emotional well-being, but the real impact will come from home. The changes parents make at home will support kids in all facets of their lives. Have a read, see you what you think, it changed my thinking on my parenting style.
It seems like an odd think to think about as we contiue to battle with the pandemic, the need to wear masks and social distance, but there are many things to be thankful for. I hope that as you observe Thanksgiving this weekend you can look for reasons to celebrate and give thanks. We at DMC are thankful everyday for our students and the supportive, caring community we are part of. From all the staff at DMC, we wish everyone a safe and restful long weekend.
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