Edgerton High School says new cellphone policy is making a difference in classrooms

Principal Dr. Mark Coombs said a new cellphone policy at Edgerton High School is making a difference in students’ levels of focus and attention during instructional time.

At the beginning of the school year, a policy was put into place that prohibits students from accessing their phones during class. While phones are free to use during lunch and between classes, Coombs said having them during instructional time created unnecessary distractions.

“That availability to them to hear that buzz or feel that ding or something along those lines was enough for them to be distracted,” Coombs said. “To take that cellphone out and check Snapchat or whatever it was, in the process, we were losing instruction time.”

Teachers like Schyler Gundlach said prior to this policy, they would routinely see cellphones distracting students during class time.

“I could see cellphones anywhere between two or three times a class, to up to, five to six times a class,” she said.

Teachers like Gundlach now have a pouch system in their classrooms, where students drop their phones into a pouch prior to class starting and take them out when class is over.

“I can see students more frequently working on their homework or asking questions because they’re not so involved in their phones,” she said. “It kind of gives me a sense of comfort knowing, hey, the only thing they’re going to be distracted by is things that are in this room right now.”

Coombs said feedback from teachers and parents alike has been positive, and that other schools, including Madison Area Technical College, have reached out with questions about implementing policies of their own.

“We do need to maximize our instruction for those 44 minutes,” he said. “So the more we can keep them not just engaged in the class, but engaged in the curriculum during that 44 minutes can only help our process moving forward.”

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