Digital Devices at School

Please note that we have made some significant changes for the 2017-18 school year regarding student use of digital devices at Monterey.  Most notably:

  • Digital devices (i.e. computers, Chromebooks, iPads, laptops, cellphones, iPods, etc.) may only be used during the school day when permitted by a supervising staff member for particular purposes, and used for those purposes only
  • This means students may NOT use digital devices during unsupervised break and transition times
  • At all other times, cell phones and other pocket-sized devices (i.e. iPods) must be off (e.g. no sounds) and locked in the student’s own locker

To better understand the implications these changes, please read the following four questions and answers.

  1. If my child brings a cell phone or iPod to school, where do they put it and when can they use it?
  • We do NOT recommend that students bring phones or other pocket-sized device to school
  • Students may do so if they and their parents feel they are needed for before and after school use; however, our expectation is that pocket-sized devices (i.e. cell phones, iPods, etc.) will be turned off (e.g. make no sounds) and locked away in the student’s locker throughout the school-day (including break and transition times) except if/when a teacher invites them to use their device during class-time for a specific purpose
  • As we are generally finding larger digital devices more useful for educational purposes and less distracting for students than phones and other pocket-sized devices, we anticipate that teachers will rarely permit cell phone and iPod use during class-time, being far more likely to invite students to use desktop computers, Chromebooks, iPads, and laptops to support their learning
  1. How can I contact my child at school?
  • If you have a message for your child and/or need to speak to them during the school day, please contact the school office at 250-598-4589; we ask that you refrain from calling/texting/messaging your child directly during the school day
  • Students wishing to contact their parents or others during the school day are expected to seek permission from a staff member to do so on a school phone rather than using a personal electronic device during the school day
  • In general, we ask that you make your arrangements in advance of the school day or after school, so that student routines are not interrupted during the school day and our middle school youth further develop their organizational skills and independence
  1. What type of digital device can my child use at school?
  • If you are interested in getting your child a digital device that s/he can bring back and forth between home and school for educational purposes, we highly recommend a Chromebook
  • Please note that, like other possessions, personal electronic devices are brought to school at the students’ (and their parents’) own risk of loss, theft, or damage, and the school will not be responsible for the cost of repairs or replacement; having said that, many students have been bringing Chromebooks to school, and loss, theft, and damage have been rare
  • Unlike a cell phone, there are no monthly data costs for a Chromebook and it generally lasts 4 to 6 years, providing a highly functional and relatively economical learning tool; therefore, Monterey has been purchasing Chromebooks for shared student use during the school day, but the number of devices per class is still quite limited, so we very much welcome students bringing their own Chromebooks
  1. Why are these changes being made regarding student use of digital devices at Monterey?
  • Please see the attached letter which provides a more extensive summary of the background, process, and rationale that led to these decisions

I believe that these changes – aimed at reducing distractions from learning, increasing physical activity and social skill development through face-to-face interaction, and supporting the pedagogically sound use of digital technology – are being made in the best interests of Monterey’s students.  My appreciation goes out to the many people – Monterey teachers, support staff, and parents as well as school district personnel – who have provided input into these plans, which we will revisit toward the end of the 2017-18 school year.

Very best, Ken

2017-18 Digital Devices at Monterey