At the start of the 2018- 19 school year, the San Marin administration unveiled new “community commitments” and rules for enforcing them. Among these are a schoolwide use of phone caddies and “walk passes.”
The four community commitments, drafted last year by a committee of students, teachers, parents and administrators, emphasize keeping students on task and in class.
Following the release of the new policies, all teachers are now required to have phone caddies—a wall-mounted array of pockets for holding phones—in their classroom which hold students’ cell phones for the duration of the class. In past years, the use of phone caddies by teachers was optional.
English teacher Karen Arcangelo is one teacher who opted in the past to use phone caddies and believes that they are an effective tool for eliminating the distraction of phones in the classroom. “Students are tempted by their phones, and I think this is helpful to take away the distraction,” Arcangelo said.
However, some students and teachers disagree with the schoolwide implementation of phone caddies. Geography and U.S. History teacher Bob Lacy disagrees with phone caddies, calling them a “time-waster.”
“I like to treat my students like the young adults that they are, so I give them the trust and responsibility until they give me a reason not to,” Lacy said.
The new policies also mandate the schoolwide use of “walk passes,” which require that students write down their name, class, and the time they leave the classroom on an orange pass. The committee introduced the policy to reduce the number of students out of class without permission. Teachers are also split on this issue.
“I usually only let one student out at a time anyway, so it’s kind of like the same policy they have always had, they just now have to carry something,” “It’s a distraction, it takes time that I don’t wanna spend,” Lacy said. “As long as they take care of their business, there’s no reason to have them wearing a tag.”