What an exciting first week of school we had at the UAS Middle School – WOOHOO!! Our students are certainly an energetic and enthusiastic bunch, and that’s a fact! During the course of week #1, our awesome students engaged in a “boot camp” – as they became acclimated to their new grade levels for the New Year, they participated in a fabulous community building event at Hub Zero, and they were introduced to our new phone policy.
Having a stricter phone policy this year was born from conversations held with both teachers and parents dating back to last school year. The fact is that phones, in and of themselves, are not “bad”. Most of our students, and all of the adults in the MS have mobile phones. Phones are simply part of our daily existence, and they have made our ability to communicate faster and easier. That said, phones also have the capacity to be very distracting as students anticipate incoming messages, play games, or wait to message their friends, etc.
In making our decision about the new phone policy, we read lots of articles and looked at research about the topic. For you to gain some insight into our thought process, please feel free to read the following excerpt from an article entitled: 13 Critical Pros and Cons of Having Cell Phones in Schools by Philip Yiga (January 24, 2017)
Cons of Cell Phones in Schools:
- Cause Distractions at school:with the usage of cell-phones at school, students can easily get distracted from their studies because cell-phones enable someone to gain access to a lot of unnecessary content and this in turn makes it much easier for kids to lose focus when in the classroom. For example, if a student gets bored when a teacher is carrying-out lessons, then he/she (student) can easily pull-out their phone and begin playing games, chatting on Facebook or WhatsApp, or do other things that distract. This means some students won’t be able to pay attention to what is being taught.
- Cell-phones can be used for cheating on exams in schools:students can easily use cell-phones to cheat on exams when at school and this is possible especially if a student sneaks his/her cell-phone into the classroom during an assessment. In fact, this is a great challenge for schools today because they won’t be able to know whether students used their brains or technology-devices to earn their grades.
- Access to inappropriate content: although schools may limit the availability of websites to be accessed by students when using a school-network, some students can still find loops in the school-network and gain access to inappropriate content like violent online-games, thus causing a great distraction when at school. On top of that, some students can even decide to access the internet without using the school-network and this gives them access to all types of inappropriate content.
- Cyberbullying:cyberbullying is actually an increasing online-issue today and allowing students to have access to their cell-phones at school can accelerate this habit.
- Mobile devices disconnect students while at school: Allowing students to have phones at school encourages students to be disconnected from face-to-face communication and activities. Students use social-media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to communicate and this greatly disconnects them from their surrounding environment and from adults within their school-environment.
You can find the complete UAS Middle School phone policy by clinking on this link.
Here are some other important tidbits for you this week:
Microsoft Office Installation: The time has come to install Microsoft Office on computers if the program has not already been installed. Each student at UAS is allowed to install Microsoft Office on 5 different devices using their unique UAS email address. Please follow the directions on this Google Doc to install the Microsoft Office Suite for free. Students must install this at home and NOT at school.
CAT 4 Testing This Week: Students Need Headphones: On Monday and Tuesday of this week, our grade 8 and grade 6 students will take the CAT 4 test. All students must bring their own earbuds or headphones to take this assessment.
Thank you so much for your continued support of our school, our staff and your wonderful children. Together we are building a vibrant learning community, and I couldn’t be more proud to be the Principal of this extraordinary school! Until our paths cross in person, please take good care and peace be upon you.
Important Calendar Items:
- Sunday, September 17 – MS Week Without Walls parent information session: 5:00 – 6:30 PM in the MS/HS Library
- Monday, September 18: Grade 8 CAT 4 testing
- Monday, September 18: MS/HS Instrument Zoo: 6:00 PM in the MPH
- Tuesday, September 19: Grade 6 Cat 4 testing
- Tuesday, September 19: UAS early dismissal @ 2:00 PM
- Wednesday, September 20: MS Counselors Coffee: 8:00 AM in room #1119
- Monday, September 25 – MS Back to School Night (BTSN)