FPA embraces the use of technology in learning. Based on the best research currently available, however, it is clear that the over-use of Smart Phones is negatively impacting student learning and has become an addictive distraction for many students. Last year, FPA instituted a Smart-Phone policy that is simple and supportive: Each FPA classroom is outfitted with a Smart Phone Storage Unit / Charging Station. Students must put their phones into their assigned numbered slot when they enter a classroom and leave them there for the entire block. Students are able to charge their Smart Phones in the Storage Units which are monitored by teachers and visible to the entire class. FPA students are able to use Smart Phones before school, in-between classes, during classroom “Smart-Phone Breaks” and at lunch. Parents needing to contact their child can do so via the school’s phone (614-636-3721) at all times during the school day.
The Smart-Phone policy is helping our students focus deeply, demonstrate knowledge more clearly and take a more active role in planning for their future. However, of late, we’ve experienced too many instances where students are trying to get around the Smart-Phone policy and we have too many students using smart-phones too often and our school is noticeably different as a result. For example: Some of our students are using Facebook Live in the middle of the school day, which is unacceptable and drains our internet connectivity speed. Other students are so addicted to social media that they can’t concentrate on important instruction and are falling behind. Still other students are being blatantly disrespectful and deceitful to teachers and staff when asked to put their phones into the Storage Units. These behaviors are not in keeping with the values, community and culture that we have worked so hard to build and sustain at FPA. Therefore, FPA is recommitting itself to our Smart-Phone policy and calling on our students, parents, guardians and friends to help spread the word.
Beginning Monday: Consequences for not following FPA’s Smart-Phone Policy are being intensified. Students who refuse to follow FPA’s Smart-Phone Policy will be required to hand their phone to a FPA administrative staff member until the end of the day. Students refusing to do so will be sent home and repeat violations of the policy will result in suspensions and possibly expulsion.
Parents / Guardians: We need your help! Over-reliance on Smart Phones is hurting your child’s ability to learn. We see it every day and this is a serious issue that requires all of the adults to join together and get behind FPA’s simple, fair and reasonable Smart-Phone policy. FPA is absolutely committed to providing the best education experience possible. The over-use of Smart Phones in our building is a distraction and it must end.
Martin S. Griffith, on behalf of the FPA Faculty and Staff.