Warrenville Heights, Ohio – For many of us, our devices can be a huge distraction.
And for students who are supposed to focus on learning in class—well, the attraction is often overwhelming, like at T-Squared Honors Academy in Warrensville Heights.
Coming back from the COVID-19 pandemic last year proved challenging, forcing school leaders to research and analyze their discipline data.
“It was really loud and we had to come up with some kind of solution. We said, let’s look for the causes — what’s causing these problems and what are the things we can actually change,” explained Jason Betz, dean of students.
Turns out the bulk of the problems – 44% to be exact – were either directly or indirectly related to cell phones.
Students were browsing social media, playing games, and being late to class because they were making TikToks in the halls.
So the solution they came up with is to use bags called Yondr to lock students’ cell phones from the moment they enter school to the time they are expelled at the end of the day.
You may have seen Yondr Bags used at concerts and comedy shows for years now.
The teachers loved the bags, and it’s not surprising that there was opposition from the students there, at first.
“I come in and put my phone in the bag every day and I understand how that helps because it helped the whole school. T Squared Senior, Shahid Wheeler, said:
Student Jedah Anderson agreed, adding, “I see that my grades are better, and it makes me do more work.”
Students can personalize their bags and keep them with them at all times.
T-Squared was initially concerned about low enrollment in the new policy since it is a charter school, but has actually found more parents are sending their kids Because from him.
“They work collaboratively in groups, whereas last year, maybe one kid would do the work and the rest would play on their phones,” said Betz.
At Mary Church Terrell, Pre-K through eighth grade at Cleveland Public School, this second year with Yondr Bags.
“It took a little distraction and stress for some of the kids away, so it’s great to see,” said Head of School Angie Bowie.
The transition to bags has been surprisingly smooth for students, Bowie said, and most of all, it’s been refreshing to see kids as kids again—at lunch, in the halls, at recess.
“Interact, have fun, talk,” she said. “On break, they play football and basketball and just become kids.”
Yondr is used in 25 schools across Ohio – six in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and 1,200 schools nationwide.
In a nationwide survey of 900 schools, 74% reported an improvement in student behavior, with a 65% improvement in academic performance.
In an emergency, the teachers we spoke to said that teachers have easily accessible phones in their classrooms and students can go to the front office to call their parents whenever they need to.