The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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Students respond in an unexpected way as teachers and staff rave about cell phone procedure results

In+the+original+photo+of+A21+at+the+end+of+the+2023+school+year+all+the+students+had+their+phones+out+and+were+distracted+from+their+work%2C+5+months+later+with+the+new+procedure+these+students+have+their+phones+off+and+are+putting+on+their+finishing+touches+before+turning+in+their+art+project
In the original photo of A21 at the end of the 2023 school year all the students had their phones out and were distracted from their work, 5 months later with the new procedure these students have their phones off and are putting on their finishing touches before turning in their art project

Changing the cell phone procedure for the 2023-2024 school year is a bigger shift in pace of anything we’ve seen at Norrix in a long time.

At the end of the 2023-2024 school year, Loy Norrix High School administrators decided to prohibit all phones during instructional learning time. The first level of consequence for having a phone out in class is warning, the second offense requires the student to turn in their phone to the behavioral room, and the third offense results in the student turning in their phone for the rest of the day and having a parent or guardian come in to get it. 

The new Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) Superintendent Darrin Slade is a huge advocate of the procedure. He will visit Norrix throughout the first trimester to make sure teachers and staff are following the procedure, Principal Christopher Aguinaga stated on the morning announcements.

Some teachers expected the worst, and some truly didn’t know how long students would take to adjust. 

Government teacher Kyle Shack thinks students have taken to the procedure surprisingly well.

“I think it’s a big change for students who have been here a few years and are being asked to have their phones away during instructional time, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many students seem to be adopting that change seamlessly,” Shack said. 

Assistant Principal Alexander Hill is very happy with the results to start the school year after expecting a rocky start.

“We were expecting the worst: anarchy and a bigger resistance, but students have actually adhered well to the policy,” Hill said.

The goal of the procedure is to overall improve the amount of information students get out of their lessons. This goal for students could be remembering what they learned post-high school or understanding the course material enough to apply it to an exam effectively. 

Many administrators, including Hill, have noticed that there’s been noticeable improvements in student behavior. 

“We have seen a substantial reduction in students being sent out for behavior issues, which means they’re in the class and are learning,” Hill said.

History teacher Matthew Porco, who was one of the biggest advocates of getting rid of phones in the school last year, was ecstatic. 

“I’m very pleased at this point. It’s going better than I thought it would, and I think better than anybody thought it would.” Porco continued, “I think the students are doing a great job and it shows that students were ready for this.”

The new cell phone procedure is off to a great start according to the staff. It has impressed many teachers and surprised other staff members. One thing that nobody truly expected, however, was students’ outlook on the procedure itself. Some students enjoy the phone procedure and think that it really is good for their learning, which is exactly what the district wants.

“It [the new procedure] has helped me focus and better socialize with people,” sophomore Jonavan Hare said. 

The new phone procedure allows teachers to capture their students’ attention, making them feel more heard and respected in the classroom, which is a huge benefit to learning. 

Porco feels that the new procedure means that students’ eyes are on him and that what he says has meaning to them. He feels that the new phone policy has drastically improved the classroom environment, even if there are still small issues. Porco still notices distractions here and there but is excited that the school is taking steps in the right direction. 

“There’s still a little issue with students doing things they’re not supposed to on their Chromebooks, but I think, undoubtedly, not having to compete with phones should make a major difference with student learning,” Porco said. 

Shack agrees that the phone policy is positively affecting students. He sees students putting in extra effort to be successful in his class.

  “Far fewer students say they’re lost or they’re not sure what we’re doing. I see several students revising their work and resubmitting assignments to improve their grade,” Shack said.

Despite the benefits of the procedure, there are drawbacks, mainly that students  can’t communicate with their parents when they need to. Norrix staff, however, suggests that they shouldn’t need to be on their phones at all. Instead, parents can call the office and classroom phones if they urgently need to communicate with their children

There are also students who are against the procedure and could do without it, including junior Liam Crookston, whose main concern is his inability to use headphones or earbuds. 

 “I haven’t been able to listen to music, which has made it a little harder to get work done,” Crookston said. “I work a lot better with music, so it [not being able to listen to music] pushes my work towards home, making things difficult and stressful for me.”

Overall, the new cell phone procedure is taking over LN and has been a success and positive improvement for teachers specifically. Although some students are in favor of the new procedure, it’ll still take some time for the majority of the student population to warm up to the idea.

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  • L

    Liam CrookstonNov 28, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    I’m in the article 10/10

    Reply
  • S

    Sage LeeOct 28, 2023 at 10:56 am

    I know that most of the middle schools around town are even stricter on cell phone procedures, and so I didn’t bat an eye at the new enforcement here. I voted against it for one reason; the consequences are too harsh.
    There could be various reasons as to why students are on their phones, yes it could be just playing games or watching something, but they could also be urgently texting their guardians about something important—I’ve been in that situation before. But frankly, I fail to see why it is required for teachers to completely stop class and call security (someone who’s job is to keep the school safe, not take cell phones) to compensate the phone. This whole event 1, embarrases the student who had the phone, 2, it stops the whole class, and 3, I think it is exercising power that teachers wouldn’t have if students weren’t so intimidated by this phone procedure.
    Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the rule is here, I believe that education should be above most things, but the way that Norrix and most of the other schools are dealing with the problem is proof that the district needs to reevaluate its ideals and ways of how to solve this phone problem.

    Reply
    • M

      Merrick EwingOct 30, 2023 at 8:57 am

      Agreed

      Reply
    • E

      Executive Web Editor Ender RossOct 30, 2023 at 11:47 am

      I respectfully disagree, I think that teachers always had the power to take away phones, at least on paper. But by calling security, they have backup and the chances of an altercation starting over cell phone procedure are greatly lessened

      Reply
  • J

    Jami DaDanOct 28, 2023 at 9:52 am Knight Life Pick

    I am a sub at Norrix for the past 3 years. I fought with the students to put phones away when there was an active class going on. This year, when giving instructions at the beginning of the class, I included my “no cell phones” item. My eyes bugged out when most of the class shouted out to correct me that “we can’t have phones anymore”. It wasn’t negative, just a statement of fact (an opportunity to correct a teacher). I hope the policy goes district wide. I also sub at the middle school level and their phones are out too.

    Reply
  • J

    Jonavan HareOct 27, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    great work

    excellent quote by yours truly

    Reply