Teachers adapt to Yondr one semester in

Amelia Bergeron

At the beginning of this school year, Wilson instituted a new policy stating that students must place their cell phones into individual bags for the entire class. Initial backlash was expressed by students, but as the second semester begins, almost every class has Yondr bags, and teachers continue to enforce the policy.

This new program was piloted by the science and math classes in the first advisory. The English department and foreign-language classes followed in the second. Now in the third advisory, the social studies department has joined the club. Many teachers have had positive experiences with the policy because students have been less distracted, which has led to better engagement in the classroom. “On the positive, general attention is higher especially at the start of class,” English teacher Lauren Hartshorn said. “It’s a way for students to become more collaborative since they are looking to engage with each other.”

In many classes around the building, students are assigned specific bags corresponding to their last name on the attendance sheet. Another system which science teacher Daniela Munoz’s class uses involves students putting their Yondr bags into a clear bin in the middle of the table. “We have a system in this classroom in which we have assigned seats and we have assigned Yondr bags. And in order to avoid the issue of students pulling them apart and playing them all class [we have] a bin, just a clear bin where you can leave your phone in your Yondr bag in your desk,” Munoz explained.

To create an incentive for students to follow the policy, the social studies program has agreed to award students 0.5 points of extra credit in the practice and application category on Aspen if no one in the class uses electronics the entire class period, including AirPods. By the end of the advisory, students can earn up to 10 points of credit in total if they follow the policy daily. “When we discussed it as a department we talked about an incentive to get students to comply with the new Yondr bags,” history teacher Patrick Cassidy explained.

If students choose not to follow the Yondr policy after being reminded, teachers will contact parents and school administrators. “If they tell [me] that they don’t have it and I see it later because that is usually how it goes, then I will talk to them about that and if it happens again I will talk to their parents,” Hartshorn said. She explained that she does this to enforce the policy equally to all students.

Although the system received an initial negative reaction, the policy has become a habit for students—they come to class, Yondr their phones, and get to work. Teachers have attested that Yondr bags have improved student engagement and the classroom environment.