School cell phone ban, expanded recess have positive impact, staff reports
Southeastern Elementary School welcomed the Hastings Board of Education for its meeting on Monday in the school library. A school board appreciation theme for the meeting attracted artwork, cards and cookies from students across the district. Here, Principal Dana Stein with some of the artwork from students at Star Elementary. (Photo by Rebecca Pierce)
The lunchroom is noisier — and school staff is happy about it.
“What it means is kids are actually conversing,” Hastings High School Assistant Principal Michael Goggins said,
And that’s just one sign that the cell phone ban during the school day in the high school is having the impact that was intended.
Students are talking to each other again.
The board unanimously supported the personal communication devices policy at its meeting Monday.
Trustee Dan Patton said, while he is in full support of the policy, “I think we could've implemented it a little differently.”
Trustee Jennifer Eastman said the only complaint she has heard is about the lack of clocks in the hallways and classrooms.
Goggins said he was concerned the ban would be a tough to enforce.
“I am happy to say I was wrong. It was smooth. The very first day we took 11 phones away. Since then, we haven't more than three in a day.”
Superintendent Dan Remenap praised administrators and staff for how they have handled the implementation of the policy.
Another recent change, to add additional recess time for students, has been successful as well, staff told the board.
Southeastern Elementary Principal Dana Stein said that data hasn't been collected yet on the additional recess time for students, but “my gut is that, in general, it was been very well appreciated.”
Teachers are saying that, thanks to the additional recess, classroom time is more productive.
Stein gave a separate report to the board an initiative she started more than two years ago to help students be self-regulating with regard to their feelings and emotions. “What a joy it's been to be a principal at Southeastern,” she said as she spoke about empowering kids to have control and the positive impact this has had. “We have slowly and surely seen a great decline in students' needs.”
In other action, the board:
• accepted $4,960 in donations from the Hastings Enrichment Foundation's Board of Directors to defray the costs of field trips, activities and materials for students.
• approved the purchase of 50 additional band uniforms for a cost not to exceed $20,350, which will be paid back by the band boosters over the next four years. The band, at 154 members, is the largest group they have had in years.
• the next meeting of the board will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 in Star Elementary School library, 1900 Star School Road.