LOUISVILLE, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s been almost three months since Jefferson County High School announced a new cell phone policy, and when the announcement first came out it drew mixed reactions from the community.
Jasmine Change-Jones has worked at JCHS for the last 6 years, teaching biology to 10th-12 graders.
She’s among those in the area that were excited about the announcement, and looking forward to what would come about from this change.
“When they did make the news about it, I was honestly ecstatic,” said Change-Jones. “Kids today–this new generation–they’ve always been exposed to a cell phone, especially the new tech type of cell phones.”
The policy requires students to put their cell phones in a cell phone holder as soon as they walk in the classroom.
Change-Jones says she’s especially grateful for the policy because of challenges she’s faced in the past.
“I would have to constantly redirect, or ask them to put it up, or I’d have to take it. Or if it gets to the point where students just did it all the time, they’d have to get sent to I-S-S: and if you’re in I-S-S you’re not learning,” said Change-Jones.
But after seeing the policy in action for the last two months, she says her classes are moving through the curriculum faster than ever before.
“We have the ability to go faster because kids are more focused. So we’re not spending so much time on behaviors or fussing about cell phones, we have more time to actually enrich and make sure students are meeting mastery,” she said.
While the policy was brought in to help with the kids’ behavior in class, the goal was to also see a rise in test scores.
Principal Carl Prescott says after observing classrooms and seeing the numbers so far, that’s exactly what has happened.
“Based on the data we’ve been analyzing from the last testing season, we have seen a small increase,” said Prescott. “We’ve also seen an increase in the formative assessments in the unit tests that our teachers are giving within their classes.”
However, Prescott says they did have some small issues at the beginning, where they received calls of students not wanting to turn their phones in.
“We had some concerns from a few students at the beginning, but we haven’t heard those concerns now,” said Prescott.
The policy also outlines that kids will get suspended if they don’t cooperate–1 day of ISS for the first offense, 2 days of ISS for the second, and 3 days of OSS after the third offense.
Principal Carl Prescott says after seeing a few not cooperate at the start, his students are starting to buy in.
“We had a few small cases of that happening, but we haven’t had any major cases where we had to place a student in in-school-suspension or out-of-school-suspension,” said Prescott.
Prescott adds that it all goes back to his goal for seeing the students succeed, and believes this policy will help them obtain a great education.
“My main concern is to increase the overall student achievement for our students here at Jefferson County High School, and my hope is that first small step will lead to even bigger steps.”
Parents will be able to see the results soon.
Exams for the first nine weeks are on October 6th, while the first quarter report cards go home on October 12th.