The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Editorial: Carlmont is not free to go phone-free

While San Mateo High School bans cell phones, Carlmont becomes increasingly reliant on technology

In+the+first+week+of+school%2C+most+teachers+gave+students+a+presentation+instructing+them+to+download+certain+apps+for+the+school+year.

Veronica Roseborough

In the first week of school, most teachers gave students a presentation instructing them to download certain apps for the school year.

“Please take out your cell phones.”

As the minute bell echoed through the halls of Carlmont High School on the first day back to school, teachers were already asking students to have their devices on-hand. Why? To download two apps deemed necessary to academic success: Campus Student, better known as Infinite Campus, and Canvas Student.

Meanwhile, at San Mateo High School (SMHS), students were snapping their cell phones in locked pouches as part of an initiative to create a cell phone-free environment.

SMHS implemented this no-phone policy beginning on the first day of the 2019-20 school year. The goal, as reported by ABC 7 News, was and is to encourage students to be present and engaged in class, as well as when socializing with their peers.

The locking pouches that students carry around are provided by Yondr, a company based in San Francisco that aims to create phone-free spaces for any venue, including schools. Each morning, students place their phones in their Yondr cases, which lock magnetically. Students then carry the cases around until the final bell, when they are permitted to free their phones with the unlocking bases located in each classroom.

Yondr pouches were one small step that has led to big changes in the climate and culture of our high schools and middle schools, allowing teachers to teach so that students can reach their greatest potential.”

— Mit Foley, director of secondary curriculum and instruction in Saginaw Public School System

While some have attempted to get around the new policy by locking up fake or dead phones in their Yondr cases instead of their real ones, according to CBS SF Bay Area, the school has received mostly positive feedback.

In contrast, Carlmont students seem to be consumed by their phones throughout the day, a reality that is not likely to change as the school begins to rely heavily on technology for everything from signing up for flex periods to simply completing classwork or taking tests.

Reliance on cell phones is part of a larger technological dependence, including the use of SMART Boards in the classroom. Though the boards have undoubtedly revolutionized the in-class learning experience, it has become evident that if the board doesn’t work, class does not continue. If the wifi is down or the board has to be periodically re-calibrated, it takes away from valuable instruction time, which has already decreased eight minutes per class each week due to the pilot flex schedule.

Additionally, because of such technological dependence, many students without access to internet or a computer at home are at an immediate disadvantage.

Sprint’s 1Million Project, which began in 2018, partnered with Sequoia Union High School District to try and bridge the “opportunity gap” between those with and without at-home internet access. During the 2018-19 school year, the former director of instructional technology, Bob Fishtrom, reported that the project gave out 252 hotspots to students in need.

Is having your phone at school necessary to academic success?

Loading...

Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

However, the 2019-20 school year brought with it the project’s decline after Fishtrom, who spearheaded the initiative, left his position at the district.

So, back to square one.

Though there is nothing wrong with utilizing technological advancements to enhance classroom learning, the fact that everything is supposedly so easy to access has evidently led to neglect for those on the other side of the opportunity gap.

After all, why update an assignment on the board when the teacher can send out a notification via Canvas and hope that every student has access to the internet and is addicted enough to their cell phone to see it?

Carlmont could not possibly make headlines by following in the footsteps of SMHS and going phone-free. This is simply because student success is driven by access to the apps, docs, and Canvas notifications that appear on their phones at all hours of the day.

Though we don’t have flying cars or hovering boards as the writers of “Back to the Future II” had hoped, we are at the heart of the age of technology; there is no going back.

Therefore, it’s important for the district, staff, and students to keep in mind that technology is not necessarily accessible to everyone and to find a happy medium, such as providing the option between offline and online homework or relying as much on the white board as on the SMART board, so that just because the wifi or computers stop working, it doesn’t mean the students do too.

*This editorial reflects the views of the Scot Scoop editorial board and was written by Veronica Roseborough

Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Photo of Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, Editorial Staff
The Scot Scoop editorial staff strives to maintain reliable reporting while covering the hard-hitting topics that interest our community. Content on Scot Scoop is managed, reviewed, and maintained by the editorial staff using a variety of tools and methods to produce, edit, and publish content daily.

Editorial Staff Members are Elle Horst, Leanna Gower, Jack Hansen, Julia Roseborough, Elise Hsu, Kaylene Lin, Maya Kornyeyeva, Lindsay Augustine, Hudson Fox, Andrew Tolu, Marrisa Chow, Soleil Dam, and Sophie Gurdus.
Photo of Veronica Roseborough
Veronica Roseborough, Editor-in-Chief
Veronica Roseborough is a senior at Carlmont High School and the current Editor-in-Chief of Scot Scoop News. She is also an intern and student news columnist for the San Mateo Daily Journal and will be attending the University of California Berkeley in the fall where she will minor in journalism. To check out her portfolio, click here.

Twitter: @v_roseborough
Navigate Left
  • With the growing usage of social media platforms, being conscious of your digital footprint is important.

    Editorials

    Editorial: Being conscious of your digital footprint is more important than ever

  • The land in this photo is part of the traditional territory of the Ramaytush Ohlone people.

    Editorials

    Editorial: Learn the history of the land you stand on

  • Allies unite and protest in solidarity with the black community fighting police brutality. This is an example of meaningful action.

    Editorials

    Editorial: We must be mindful of our activism

  • Throughout the course of the 2021 California recall election, the state has become a battleground for Republicans and Democrats to clash political views.

    Editorials

    Editorial: Two party system leads to propaganda

  • Many students suffer from mental health issues that can be exacerbated by triggers.

    Editorials

    Editorial: Trigger warnings should be added to school content

  • Protestors in Texas rally together to stand against the passage of the anti-abortion and voting restriction laws HB2 and SB1.

    Editorials

    Editorial: America is regressing

  • Social media has allowed widespread thought and discussion on current issues, but it’s essential to make your own opinion instead of adopting someone else’s.

    Editorials

    Editorial: We need to form our own opinions

  • High school is more about the academics, but also the social skills you learn along the way.

    Editorials

    Editorial: An ode to high school

  • Accounts that share political information and activism have become increasingly popular. Many of these accounts, however, lack completely accurate information.

    Editorials

    Editorial: Check for yourself

  • People prepare care kits for the homeless community members of the Bay Area.

    Editorials

    Editorial: Volunteers are essential during the pandemic

Navigate Right
Activate Search
The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Editorial: Carlmont is not free to go phone-free

Comments (0)

We invite comments and responses to our content. Comments that are deemed appropriate and relevant will be published.
All Scot Scoop News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *