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FAQs on Distraction Free Learning With Yondr Pouches for Students in Grades 6-12

 

Ferguson-Florissant School District will implement Yondr Pouches, making our middle and high schools, including our 6th Grade Centers, a phone-free space. This will improve teaching and learning through the use of the Yondr system for the upcoming school year. Students will be required to place all cell phones in a personal locked Yondr Pouch. The Yondr Pouch will be kept sealed during the school day with a magnetized locking device. Please click on the following link to learn more about Yondr

 

While we believe that phones can serve a great purpose, we have also found that learning and social behavior improve drastically when students are fully engaged with their teachers and classmates.

 

Other school districts who have implemented Yondr Pouches also reported the following effects of creating phone-free educational environments: 

 

● 65% of schools saw an improvement in academic performance;

● Schools experienced a 25% reduction in fights due to online bullying and social media harassment;

● 74% of schools saw an improvement in student behavior;

● 83% of schools saw an improvement in student engagement in the classroom.

 

Every student will be assigned a personal Yondr Pouch. While the Yondr Pouch is considered school property, it will be each student’s responsibility to bring their Pouch with them to school every day and keep it in good working condition.

As students arrive to school, they will:

1) Turn their cell phone off.

2) Place their cell phone inside the Pouch and secure it in front of school staff.

3) Store it in their backpack for the day.

At the end of the day, students will open their Pouch, remove their phone, close their Pouch and put it in their backpack. Students must bring their Pouch to school with them each day.

 

Students will maintain possession of their phones and will not use them until their pouches are opened at the end of the school day. Students are required to bring their Yondr Pouch to and from school each day and are responsible for their pouch at all times.

 

If there is an emergency and you would like to get in touch with your child, please contact your school’s main office. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yondr Pouch FAQs

What is a Yondr pouch?

The Yondr Pouch is a secure bag that is used to store an individual’s mobile device or devices. It is secured and unlocked with a special magnetic locking device.

yondr pouch diagram use

Why is the school introducing Yondr pouches?

The high schools and middle schools are seeking to limit distractions in the classroom and improve overall student engagement, mental health and well-being.

Will all schools in the district be using Yondr pouches?

6th-12th grades will use Yondr Pouches.

How will students receive a Yondr pouch?

In August 2023, all students in grades 6-12 will be assigned a Yondr pouch to secure their phone .  Every student is assigned a personal Yondr Pouch. While the Yondr Pouch is considered school property, it is each student’s responsibility to bring their Pouch with them to school every day and keep it in good working condition. Students are responsible for the Yondr pouch at all times and for bringing the pouch to and from school each day and keeping them in good condition. 

                                              DAILY PROCESS                                          

As students Arrive to School, they will: 

  1. Turn their phone off.

  2. Place their phone inside their Pouch and lock it in front of school staff.

  3. Store their Pouch in their backpack for the day.

 At the end of the day, students will open their Pouch, remove their phone, close their Pouch and put it in their backpack. Students must bring their Pouch to school with them each day.                                                                         *Students arriving late or leaving early will lock/unlock their phones in the Main Office

 

How will the process work at arrival and dismissal?

Upon entering school, students will turn their phone off, place the phone inside of the Yondr pouch, and lock it in front of the designated staff. The pouches will be unlocked at the end of the school day at several designated locations within the building.

How is the “end of the day” defined?

The end of the day is 3:05 p.m.at high school and 2:30 p.m. in middle school. Students who leave school before the end of the day will be able to unlock their phones as they leave.

My student attends internships and dual enrollment classes where Yondr pouches are not required. What will the process be for these students?

Students who attend external classes in the afternoon will be able to unlock their devices when they leave the high school. Those who attend morning classes will have to lock their devices upon arrival at the high school.

What if a student needs to leave the building before regular dismissal?

If a student needs to leave school early for an approved early dismissal, medical emergency, work assignment, athletic event, or other school-sponsored trip, students will be able to unlock their devices at school just prior to their departure. If returning to school during the instructional day, the Yondr pouch would be locked upon re-entry to the building. 

Will my student’s phone be safe?

Phones never leave the possession of the students.

Will my student still be able to listen to music?

Students will be able to use headphones with cords to connect to their Chromebooks. They will be able to use the headphones for classroom work or for listening to music during free periods. 

What if a parent or guardian needs to reach their child during the school day?

We understand that emergencies will occur. Parents may contact the main office to speak with their child if the need arises. Students can communicate with one another using their Chromebooks as well.

What happens if there is an emergency at school?

Every school is equipped with a phone that can dial 911. Our staff is trained to execute safety and emergency procedures. Students will follow the school’s emergency procedures in the case of an emergency. Schools will communicate with parents through the district’s mass notification and communication tools. It becomes disruptive when students are on their phones. They will be provided access to their phones once at a safe location.

What if a student does not comply or damages the locked case to access their phone?

Students who are found to unlock the pouches, cause damage to the pouch, or use an alternate phone will be subject to disciplinary action.

Unmet Expectations

  • If a student damages their Pouch staff will:

    • Collect the phone and Pouch

    • Label Pouch/Phone with Name of Student, Date, Time and Name of Confiscating Adult

    • Make sure phone gets to Main Office

    • Call home to inform the family/guardian of violation

      • Log under student communication

    • Admin/Support Staff will assign consequence(s)

      • 1st Offense:  Loss of Phone for the Day 

      • 2nd Offense:  Parent Pick Up Phone + Family Meeting + Replacement Fee and/or Service Project

      • 3rd Offense:  Phone No Longer Allowed on Site (may leave phone in Main Office Daily and Pick up after school if agreed upon by Administration/Support Staff) + Restorative Room+ Replacement Fee

  • If a student is using their phone during the school day on their phone confiscating staff will 

    • Collect the phone and Pouch

    • Label Pouch/Phone with Name of Student, Date, Time and Name of Adult Collecting the pouch

    • Ask Security to take the phone to Main Office

    • Call home to inform the family/guardian of violation 

      • Log under student communication

    • Admin/Support Staff will assign consequence(s)

      • 1st Offense:  Loss of Phone for the Day

      • 2nd Offense:  Parent Pick Up Phone + Family Meeting 

      • 3rd Offense:  Phone No Longer Allowed on Site (may leave phone in Main Office Daily and Pick up after school if agreed upon by Administration/Support Staff) + Family Meeting 

  • If a student loses their Pouch

    • Student will turn in phone daily to Main Office and pick up after school

    • Replacement Fee and/or Service Project

    • If a student consistently forgets Pouch, it is considered lost

 

What if a student needs their personal device for a medical issue?

Students who have a documented medical condition and who need a personal device for monitoring their condition will be provided with a non-locking Yondr pouch that has a velcro seal.

How will students be able to contact families if there is a lockdown or active shooter situation?

Students and staff at all schools practice lockdown drills. Students and staff are instructed to be silent during a lockdown. The response action guidelines outlined in the high school’s building-level safety plan has a community notification plan for all emergency situation. This notification plan includes first and foremost, parents and guardians of students in the building.

What if my child is at school and needs to call 911?

Every classroom is equipped with a phone that can dial 911. There are no codes or prefix needed to dial outside of the district. Anyone can dial direct.

Will each teacher be able to unlock the pouches in the event of an active shooter in the building or a lockdown due to swatting?

No. Individual teachers will not be able to unlock the pouches.

What if there is a building-wide emergency and students are unable to return to the building, how will they open their Yondr pouch?

There will be mobile unlocking devices available for these types of circumstances. 

Why can’t the school just implement a zero-tolerance policy and allow students to keep their phones put away?

Enforcement of “cell phone free” classrooms and lock boxes become the burden of classroom teachers when students do not comply and valuable instruction time is lost as these issues are addressed. 

Requiring students to lock their phones away seems like a punishment for students. Is this the case?

The introduction of Yondr is not a punitive measure. The intention of Yondr is three-fold:

  • to create classroom environments where teachers can teach and students can learn free from distractions caused by the personal use of devices; 

  • to reduce the negative impacts for ALL students of inappropriate use of devices at school, such as cyberbullying, exposure to harmful content, and incidents involving mobile phones that detract from a healthy school climate; and

  • to increase meaningful face-to-face connections between students.

Are students able to use their Chromebooks to email outside of district email addresses?

Students will not have this ability. All district email is filtered and monitored.

Will students be able to put their personal email accounts on the district-owned Chromebooks?

No. Students will only be able to use their [student@fergflor.org] accounts on district-owned devices. All devices and networks owned by the district are monitored.

Why is there an annual cost associated with Yondr? $$

The pouches are leased so there is an annual cost associated with the lease. When the pouches are distributed, the pouches are marked with the students’ names. As a result, each year pouches will be needed for a new cohort of students and replacement pouches for those that may have been lost or damaged will need to be purchased.

Will teachers be using the Yondr pouches as well?

No. Teachers and staff will be encouraged to model responsible cell phone use for students.

If a student forgets to unlock the pouch before leaving the building, is there a way for students to unlock the pouch – ie an unlock station outside the school building?

There will not be an unlocking station outside the building. If the student forgets to unlock their pouch, they will be able to return to school before the last late bus departs to unlock it.                

                                                                                                    If the Yondr pouch is stolen/lost who is responsible for replacement?

Students will ultimately be responsible for the care of their Yondr pouch. If a student intentionally damages the pouch, they will be responsible for replacement and may face disciplinary consequences. If a student loses their pouch, the district may replace the pouch free of charge in the first instance only and introduce a sliding scale for replacement costs for subsequent losses. As the new school year gets underway, the district will provide families and students with replacement protocols.

What happens if a student doesn’t have their Yondr Pouch?

The phone will be turned over to main office staff and secured in the school, safe until the end of the school day. At the end of the school day, students will retrieve their phone by showing their school ID.

How many Yondr stations will there be and where will they be located?

Staff from Yondr will be visiting the district in May and July to determine the most appropriate locations in the school for the unlocking devices. Safety, efficiency and effectiveness will be top priorities in locating the unlocking devices. Yondr staff will also be on site for the first few days of the new school year to help troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Do the Yondr pouches block cell signals or internet?

Yondr pouches do not block cell signals or the internet. 

How will students know whose Yondr pouch is whose?

When the school year begins, the pouches will be distributed and each high school student will be required to put their name on their pouch as it is handed to them. Staff from Yondr will work with school administrators to ensure a smooth distribution process. Students will keep their pouches with them at all times.

What tools will the school use to help gauge effectiveness of the Yondr pouches?

The district will use quantitative and qualitative data to assess the effectiveness of Yondr in improving the student experience. This includes School Climate Survey data, discipline referrals, as well as faculty and staff feedback.

What was the decision-making process and stakeholder engagement regarding Yondr?

District administrators and building leaders have been working to find the most effective way to reduce student cell phone use. In the spring of 2022-23, administrators and staff visited a neighboring district who was implementing Yondr Bags. In the summer of 2022-23, the high schools and middle schools used Yondr Pouches during summer school. There was a Parent Meeting specifically for summer school families and a meeting with all families who attended. Administrators met with students who attended summer school. Teachers, parents and students were invited to complete surveys. 

In June 2023, Yondr was added to a board presentation, as an additional expense expected for the 2023-24 school year.

The information above doesn’t answer my questions. How can I submit a question about Yondr pouches?

The Yondr FAQs will be updated as the implementation gets underway in 2023-24. If you have a question regarding the implementation of Yondr pouches, email yondr@fergflor.org.