STM is Device FREE starting Sept.4th

Re: Personal Device Free School

 

Dear STM Families,

 

When talking with students about their greatest concern, they are telling us that they are struggling with their lack of control when it comes to personal devices. Students are telling staff that they struggle to be away from their personal devices, that they feel angry when asked to put their devices away and to stay within the boundaries set at the beginning of this school year, that they socialize with their friends over their devices more often than they do face to face, that many of their disagreements with others happen via text, among many other concerns.

 

Many of our parents have also added to these concerns and they have asked us to monitor their child’s usage.

 

We hear what our students and parents are saying and are feeling similar concerns. We have had many open conversations with staff, parents and students and very much appreciate your feedback. We have also done some research of our own. Please see some of what we have been reading:

 

“There is no doubt that smartphones provide immense benefit to society, but their cost is becoming more and more apparent. Studies are beginning to show links between smartphone usage and increased levels of anxiety and depression, poor sleep quality, and increased risk of car injury or death. Many of us wish we spent less time on our phones but find it incredibly difficult to disconnect.” - http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/dopamine-smartphones-battle-time/

 

We know that the frontal lobe -- the part of the brain responsible for impulse control -- is not fully developed in middle school-aged children. When we expect kids to learn how to handle phone use in places like classrooms, we are setting many of them up for failure.” - https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/22/opinions/smartphones-middle-school-opinion-ruston/index.html

 

“…there is a growing amount of research that suggests electronic media in any form encourages multitasking and task-switching both of which are negatively related to academic performance.” -

The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2158244015573169

 

“Cell phone use/texting was negatively related to GPA and positively related to anxiety...These findings add to the debate about student cell phone use, and how increased use may negatively impact academic performance, mental health, and subjective well-being or happiness.” - The relationship between cell phone use, academic performance, anxiety, and Satisfaction with Life in college students: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563213003993

 

For the 2018-2019 school year, we are going to trial being a personal device free school.

 

What will this look like?

 

The expectation will be that a students personal device will not be seen from 8:30 A.M.until 3:30 P.M. Our staff still strongly believes that technology is important. Our school currently has a computer lab, 120 Chromebooks, laptops, and Ipads. All students will have access to devices so that we are able to continue permeating technology into our lessons and to facilitate student learning. We will continue to teach our students about social media (how to appropriately use and safely use social media) and building strong positive relationships amongst our peers. We have a number of board games and have purchased many free play items, such as, but not limited to Lego and building blocks for students to have the opportunity to make and create during recess breaks, in addition to being able to play in the gym and outside. Students will also have access to a phone at the office if they need to get into contact with home. Parents are always able to contact the school at 780-835-2245.

 

Thank you for supporting us as we trial being a personal device free school in the 2018-2019 school year. If you have any questions, please contact the school at 780-835-2245.

 

Sincerely,

STM Staff