Spring Mills High School
November 14, 2021
Good Afternoon Spring Mills Families,
It’s hard to believe, but we are close to passing the midway point of the November. This week we have 2nd Nine-Weeks Interims on Wednesday (the 17th) and that will be an early release day for students as well. This coming Friday (the 19th) will be the last instructional day before students get a week off for Thanksgiving. They will return to school on the 29th of November as classes will resume then.
As we continue to move through the semester, I wanted to make you and your students aware of some policy changes we are making. We feel these changes are necessary given some of what we have seen so far this year and they will go into effect tomorrow.
Cell Phone Policy
When I was hired as principal, we made the decision to go with a strict “off and away” policy for cell phones when students were in class. This was done at the urging of the faculty as they wanted to be more protective of instructional time and, at the time, I strongly agreed with them. However, the pandemic has forced us to switch how we do things in our classrooms and we are now making more use of technology than ever before.
With that, we will be switching to a “Stoplight Chart” that will teachers autonomy for how cell phones will be used in their classrooms. The chart is simple in its design and the general guidelines look like this:
Green: Phones may be out and students can be using them for school appropriate reasons. Students should not be accessing social media or any site that is not approved by our school’s internet filter.
Yellow: Phones may be out but should be face down on a student’s desk.
Red: Phones should be off and away.
It will be at the teacher’s discretion as to how their classroom will be structured for cell phone use. We will be printing out charts for each teacher to have in their individual classroom as well. We understand this will take some re-teaching, but we believe this is a change that is necessary given how often kids need to use technology for their classes. It also gives teachers the flexibility to ask students to have their phones off and away if they so choose.
Last year, we made all of our hallways at school one-way for COVID purposes. We kept that intact for the main side of the building this year but we are seeing many students are having a difficult time getting to class on time because of them.
Beginning tomorrow, the one-way hallways will no longer be required and all students may travel both directions to ensure they get to class as quickly as possible. We are going to continue to use the two middle stairways in a one-way manner as they are more narrow than those at the end of the hallway:
Nurse’s Station Middle Stairwell – Up only
Math/History Middle Stairwell – Down only
Like the cell phone policy, we believe this is a change for the better and is something our staff has advocated for.
There will not be exams for the first semester this year as the county has decided that the extra instructional time take precedence over those. The final day for students for the 1st Semester will be December 22nd.
I want to thank everyone for their work in getting kids back in the building this year. I know there have been some challenges but every day we see things start to run more smoothly. We are looking forward to a successful end to the 1st Semester and the continued success of our students once they return from winter break in January.
I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you enjoy the much-needed break and get to spend time with your families.
Be safe and be well, always.
Principal, Spring Mills High School
Berkeley County Schools
499 Campus Drive | Martinsburg, WV 25404
Phone: 304.274.5141 | Fax: 304.274.5144