Progress Report: WJSHS phone-free learning environment

To better support student learning and engagement, Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School launched a phone-free, device-free initiative via the Yondr pouch system in September. The goal of the initiative being to eliminate distractions caused by personal electronic devices – mainly cell phones, but also earbuds and smartwatches – in classrooms and other learning spaces during the school day.

Students in grades 6-12 place their personal electronic devices in a Yondr pouch assigned to them. The pouch remains sealed with a magnetized lock and students keep possession of their devices in the locked pouches until school dismisses each day.

Although not without some occasional bumps in the road, administrators have found the phone-free/electronics-free learning environment to be successful.

“There have been instances where students have to be reminded, but overall it has been really positive,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Donald Stevens. “Seeing students walking through the hall and socializing with their peers and teachers rather than looking at their devices is inspiring.”

WJSHS Principal Jessie Richards agreed. “The Yondr pouches are working well. Referrals are down, we are getting great feedback from teachers and students, and academic progress appears to have improved,” she said. “I am looking forward to seeing what the data shows through the remainder of the school year.”

So, what is the opinion of those most directly impacted by the school’s phone-free initiative? Students and staff recently shared their thoughts on the Yondr pouches.

Watch the video on the WCSD YouTube channel