On August 14, 2019 our students participated in an experiment to see how many times student-cell phones received notifications. We were trying to determine exactly how many interruptions take place during a class period due to cell phones receiving notices from apps like Snap Chat, Instagram, video games, calendars, along with standard notifications from text messages and even phone calls. Students were given a post-it note and were asked to simply mark everytime their phone received a notification and at the end of class the teacher would add up all of the notifications and gather the total. The results were astounding. Here is the overall notification count from one day:
It was reported by many teachers that by 6th and 7th period many of the student’s cell phones had lost power and students were not able to charge their phones before the school day ended. We believe that these numbers could have been much higher if the student’s phones were able to remain charged for the entire school day.
These numbers were eye opening for the students and staff here at Ross Sterling Middle School. This lets us know that our students have a large amount of distractions that they are battling on a daily basis which is causing multiple interruptions to their daily learning and ultimately their overall academic success. For this reason we have done what similar schools across the country have done by developing a plan to help our students refocus on what matters most--LEARNING.
SMS requires all students to keep their personal electronic devices (cell phones, electronics with internet or wireless access, gaming devices) secured and hidden in their backpack, rolling bag, bookbag, or purse. Cell phones (excluding smartwatches) may not be on a student's person -- in their pocket, hoodie, or jacket. Cell phones (excluding smartwatches) that are visible in pockets, hoodies, or jackets will be collected & stored in the office, then returned to the student at dismissal unless a parent pickup is warranted.
Students may still use cell phones for instructional purposes only with adult permission and supervision. Following the instructional activity, students will be instructed to secure and hide their devices in a backpack, bag, or purse.
The reason for this change is two main reasons: (1) distractions that cellular devices pose to our students in the classroom in an age of texts, emails, gaming, social media, and app notifications. (2) Increase in aggression, name-calling (sexual, racial), confrontations, and rumors/drama stemming from inappropriate and immature use of cellular devices.
SMS will still ensure parent communication with their child through traditional means: contacting the school by phone. We will continue to deliver a message to your child when needed. If you reach our voicemail, please understand we are with students, parents, and staff members -- our customers -- often, so leave a message or voicemail as our office staff checks their messages regularly. I promise you we will return your call before the day is out.
If you have concerns please contact Mr. Bartley at 281-641-6001 or firstname.lastname@example.org