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Cell phone traffic light signs designed to stop inappropriate classroom cell phone use

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Traffic light signs are at the front of the room

Traffic light signs are at the front of the room

Vicki Wong

Vicki Wong

Traffic light signs are at the front of the room

Vicki Wong

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Traffic light signs are in every classroom this year to show when teachers will allow cell phone use in class. The signs will clarify expectations and add consistency to cell phone usage.

The traffic lights represent teacher discretion in the cell phone policy. Red means all devices must be away and silenced, yellow means students can use their devices for classwork and green means students are free to use their devices.

“We have to figure out ways to make [cell phones] positive and help students learn to be responsible users of technology,” assistant principal Steven Orders said. The traffic lights make a teacher’s stance on cell phones easy to see anytime. Teachers will consider thoughtfully when cell phones will provide a benefit in the classroom.

Student surveys showed that many were concerned about cell phones. Both students and teachers have been asking for a strategy that allows a consistent experience throughout the school. “I like [the strategy] a lot more,” junior Kevin Truong said.

Administration will collect data on the traffic lights’ effectiveness. Cell phones are the largest issue between students and staff. “Having people put away their phones for a certain activity or certain portion of class isn’t about punishment or about control,” Orders added. “It’s about really showing them that when you’re serious about [anything], you give it your full attention.”

Having people put away their phones for a certain activity or certain portion of class isn’t about punishment or about control.”

— Assistant principal Steve Orders

“The reality is we have not been able to find a way to get [students] to understand our expectations of cell phones…if something as simple as a traffic light [works]…that’s what we’re gonna do,” social studies teacher Thomas Sneddon said.

Students can send feedback by participating in the upcoming annual student survey or by speaking with anyone from the Instructional Leadership Team. The ITL consists of various staff such as the principal, assistant principals, and resource teachers. The ITL met in the summer, where they received input from teachers and a student panel on the traffic lights.

“I think that students will be able to understand that…[cell phones] don’t control them. They are able to control the cell phones,” English teacher Anita Rajeev said.

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Cell phone traffic light signs designed to stop inappropriate classroom cell phone use