This article was contributed by the Hollister School District.
The Hollister School District is pleased to report that the new “Away for the Day” cell phone policy is a success. The policy, which went into effect on Aug. 19, requires students to turn off their devices and put them away for the day. The Board of Trustees approved the policy change at their July 23 meeting.
The new policy has been closely monitored by Superintendent Diego Ochoa, Director of Student Services Kip Ward, and site administration throughout the district.
“The policy generated substantial media interest including the change being reported on by several television station outlets which increased awareness about the change,” Ochoa said. “Our school board was aware that implementing this policy change would invite questions and concerns. However, the board was committed to making the right decision for students. When I visit campuses, I am so pleased to see our students talking, interacting, and enjoying each other’s company.”
Director of Student Services Kip Ward has been tasked with monitoring the effectiveness of the new policy.
“We have seen very few incidents of cell phone violations,” Ward said. “I have visited our middle schools, along with other district administrators, to observe our students and make sure they adhere to the policy. When we visit classrooms and lunch areas, we see kids talking and playing. Student cell phone use is very hard to find.”
The district encourages parents to support the new policy in the weeks and months ahead. If students are using or in possession of their cell phone while on campus, it will be confiscated and sent to administration. The school district plans to hold a November cell phone parent meeting at Rancho San Justo Middle School to invite public comments on the new policy. Prior to implementing the policy change, the school district held meetings attended by more than 100 employees, parents, and community members.
“I will always advocate for common sense policies, like ‘Away for the Day,'” Ochoa said. “HSD has amazing teachers and staff who want to educate and support our children. These employees are in education because they care deeply about making a difference in the lives of students.”