A two-week pilot program will allow Sweet Home High School students to use their personal electronic devices, mainly to listen to music, only in non-instructional settings at the school.
Principal Joleen Reinholz on Tuesday shared details of the pilot program with the School Board. Reinholz said that in pursuing the test program, school administrators were responding to a petition signed by 500 students at the high school.
During the pilot period, which will occur between Jan. 28 and Feb. 15 after the district’s midterm break, students will be allowed to use iPhones, iPads and other electronic devices to listen to music in the cafeteria and during study halls.
“The time period is going to begin the day that we get back from break through Feb. 15,” Reinholz said, “so it’s a relatively short amount of time to gather data and see if, from the teachers’ point of view, from the kids’ point of view, is this something that we would want to continue, or change, or modify?”
She said faculty were surveyed online, and more than 78 percent were open to the idea of modifying the school’s current rules against using personal electronic devices in the building. A subsequent meeting with staff sought to identify potential concerns.
“We tried to look at some of the challenges of enforcing this or allowing this new privilege for our students,” Reinholz said. “The areas that they thought would probably make the most sense [were] the cafeterias, study halls and in the fitness area, and certainly not in the hallways, and certainly not in the classroom or someplace that was used instructionally.”
Students wearing headsets in the hallways and unable to hear emergency announcements was too much of a concern, she said.
Students will be prohibited from making phone calls or sending text messages.
Parents will be notified about the particulars in a letter over midterm week. Building administrators will meet in an assembly with the students on their first day back from midwinter break.
“We also want the kids to understand, very crystal clear, our expectations for the pilot and that this is something that we’re trying, and there’s going to be some expectation for them to not abuse this moving forward, and to tell them why we’re doing it,” she said.