Cougar Connection

An Update from your Mankato East Administration Team

November 17, 2021

End of Quarter 1

Dear East School Community,


As we begin the 2nd quarter it is important that we take some time to consider how individual behavior in the classroom directly impacts individual learning outcomes. First-quarter grades have been posted. If you are a student whose posted grades are not what you or your parent/guardian expects, now is a good time to reassess and to identify what is interrupting your academic progress.


We say it often, but it is a good reminder for all students: In high school, your grades matter. Your grades matter because passing or failing a high school class determines how many high school credits you earn. Whether or not you graduate on time with your peers will be based upon whether you earn credit for your classes. Failing grades = no credit for the class. All students must earn 24 credits to graduate on time.


As a staff, we notice that by far the largest learning interruption for our students is their cell phone use. Many of our teachers have reached out to students and parents regarding student cell phone use during instructional time. Given that we are starting a new quarter, now is an ideal time to review MAPS Cell Phone policy.

Cell Phone Policy

CELL PHONES AND ELECTRONIC DEVICES

Students are allowed to bring cell phones/electronic devices into the building and use them before and after school, during passing periods and during lunch. Students are not allowed, unless pre-approved by the teacher, to use or have their electronic device accessible during class. If a student violates the teacher’s policy, the device can be confiscated and returned to the student at the end of the day. If a student has multiple violations, the device may be given to the Assistant Principal and they will contact the parent/guardian to arrange to pick up the device.


The use of electronic or other devices, which cause distractions to the educational environment; making, distributing or posting recordings, either audio or video, of any school activities, classroom, student, or school employee without prior approval of a building administrator; and the use of electronic devices in locker rooms as well as classrooms or other areas requiring a private, secure, or distraction-free setting are examples of unacceptable behavior subject to disciplinary action by the school district.


These examples are not intended to be an exclusive list. Any student who engages in any of these activities shall be disciplined in accordance with district policy. This policy applies to all school buildings, school grounds and school property, school-sponsored activities or trips, school bus stops, school buses, school vehicles, school contracted vehicles or any other vehicles approved for school district purposes, the area of entrance or departure from school premises or events, and all school-related functions. This policy also applies to any student whose conduct at any time or in any place interferes with or obstructs the mission or operations of the school district or the safety or welfare of the student, other students or employees.

That's a lot of jargon, break it down for me:

Students, the cell phone policy is pretty simple actually.


1. You may have your phone.

2. Do not use your phone in class unless your teacher gives you express permission.

3. Your Tik Toks and Snapchats can wait until passing time and lunch. They really can.

4. Never use your cell phone to record other people. This is a violation of their privacy and can result in suspension.


Students, if your teachers ask you to put away your phone, this is not a violation of your rights- they are simply asking that you follow the district and school policy. Choose to respond with respect. Because they care about you, your teachers are asking that you use the time you are here at East to learn and to earn credit toward graduation.

What can parents and guardians do to help?

Parents and guardians, please check in with your students about their cell phone use in class. If your student is not passing, is their cell phone use a concern? Chances are high that your student's lack of engagement in class and distraction with their cell phone is contributing to failing grades. Can you help by limiting access to certain apps during school hours? Can you support teachers by helping to enforce the cell phone policy with your students? Can you monitor cell phone use via a parent/guardian app that will allow you to see what your student is doing on a daily basis with their phone?


Cell phones are an excellent tool for communication and for helping us maintain a sense of connection to our teenage children. However, cell phone use also contributes to significant distractions during class. Cell phone misuse contributes to negative behaviors in the school setting including harassment, bullying, social media antagonism, and fighting. East behavior data bears out that cell phones are involved in almost all of our behavior referrals either through direct misuse in the classroom or through the use of social media that leads to negative behaviors.


Please help to support your student's learning by monitoring their cell phone use during school. Talk with your student about how to follow the cell phone policy and how to engage respectfully with their teachers when directed to follow the rules set forth in the cell phone policy. Together we can help our students learn skills to manage the powerful tool for communication that their cell phones are AND to successfully earn credits to graduate on time from high school.