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COS School Follows National Movement

How Cell Phone-Free School Days Shape Students

The Away for the Day movement is changing the way people see cell phones in educational settings. Inspired by the award-winning documentary “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age,” the movement advocates for cell phone-free school days. Its mission is to enhance students’ academic performance, social interactions, and overall well-being by providing a focused and distraction-free learning environment. 

The trend caught the attention of schools across the country, including St. Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs. The school administration recently implemented a “no cell phone use” policy of their own, and they are confident that this policy will shape their students into healthy, hard-working individuals — both inside and outside of the classroom.

“We didn’t make this decision lightly,” says Robyn Cross, principal of St. Mary’s. “But the research is clear – overuse of cell phones leads to poor school outcomes, depression, and loneliness.”

According to recent studies, schools that implemented “no cell phone use” policies have seen a 6.4% increase in student test scores. The same is true in college classroom settings, with cell phone-free students showing more social engagement, better note taking habits, and higher GPAs. 

Katie Ghent, a teacher at St. Mary’s, goes on to explain how cell phone-free school days can set students up for success, in school and in their future careers. “I was thinking a lot about what makes a good employee,” Ghent says. “You want someone who is dependable; someone who has a certain set of skills that allows them to effectively communicate and build relationships with their coworkers and superiors. I think where cell phones get in the way of that is instant gratification.” 

Ghent goes on: “If we take the cell phones away, then we can create imaginative, innovative critical thinkers who work together.” 

Principal Cross chimes in, “It’s the ‘social skills’ part of it that we’re trying to build back. Workplaces are changing, but human contact is still important.”


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