Our tutors in Orange County recently learned about a new policy at San Mateo High School regarding cell phone use, that could set a trend for the entire country.
At San Mateo High School, the day begins and ends in a new way since the school has embraced the use of magnetic Yondr pouches. Each student is assigned a pouch at the same time he or she receives textbooks and other supplies at the beginning of the school year. The cell phone slides into the pouch, which is then locked with a magnetic device before classes begin. When the final bell rings, the pouch is unlocked and the phone is returned to the student.
San Mateo High School Largest Public School to Ban Cell Phone Use
San Mateo High School is the largest public school to ban cell phone use to date. Assistant principal, Adam Gelb, stated that he believes it keeps students more involved in learning and that teachers can accomplish much more when cell phones are not in use.
Gelb said that various educators have stated they can now allow students to study independently without watching them every moment because the phones are not there to distract them from their work.
The California high school experimented with Yondr pouches last year when they launched a pilot program banning the use of cell phones during specific classes. Gelb stated that the positive results of the pilot were what motivated San Mateo High to expand their efforts to a schoolwide, bell-to-bell program. Not surprisingly, some students found the change difficult to accept, but after an adjustment period they grew accustomed to not having a cell phone at all times.
One of our math tutors in Fountain Valley had the following to say about the Yondr pouches; “Keeping student’s attention is difficult enough when they don’t have a computer in their pocket! I can understand why this high school would take the measures they have, but I’m also a parent, and it brings me comfort to know that I can check in with my kids at any moment if I wanted to.
A Better Environment for Students
School administrators stated that the use of Yondr pouches has created a better environment for students, both socially and academically. Brad Friedman, a teacher at the high school, said he was growing concerned with the excessive use of cell phones in school and said that in the past he frequently observed students entirely lost on their phones and not socializing in any way with their peers.
School administrators say the pouches can be unlocked in a matter of minutes in the event of an emergency. Teachers have access to their own cell phones and a landline during the school day.