Dr. John Strycker

Phone: 334.382.2665

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. John Strycker

Superintendent's Weekly Update

August 28, 2019

School Community Update  

At the forefront of discussion across the country and world in education is the use of cell phones by students during the school day. This issue is also a con- cern for us in the Butler County School System as we consider the wellbeing of our students and its impact on their health and academic achievement.

As a 25-year administrator, I have learned to consider the many perspectives of any hotly debated issue. The positive and negative effects of student cell phone use in schools must be taken into account prior to making a decision that

would in turn greatly impact our school system. This past week, I was reading a blog by Concordia University in Portland that outlined some of the positive and negative aspects of the use of digital devices in the classroom:

Pros:

-Peace of mind

-Instant answers

-Wider access to information

-Access to video

-Wider range of music available

-Social learning

-Teacher skillset advancement

Cons:                         

-Harmful effects of digital devices

-Inappropriate materials

-Distraction from schoolwork

-Child predators

-Cyberbullying

-Provide a disconnect to and from others

-Could widen the educational gap

I realize that life is sometimes about perception. Much of my perception has been formed from being born at the end of the Baby Boomer generation. The Baby Boomer generation has been characterized as a generation who valued life skills, grit and strong sense of community and sacrifice. Therefore, I would prefer students to look up from their phones and look me in the eyes as they shake my hand. I would also prefer that our students value how to acquire knowledge, not just value access to any information at any time. I have had many discussions with employers who hold the same perception as I.

I am also concerned about the emotional wellbeing of our students. Statistics are alarming considering the impact of social media and teen depression. Part of The Butler County Commitment is that our school system is committed to the wellbeing of the whole child. Therefore, we are determined to help remove any barriers to learning albeit emotional, physical, or aca- demic. If cellphone use in schools impacts a student’s mental health, it impacts their ability to live up to their greatest poten- tial.

Certainly, our school system currently has a policy regarding the use of electronic devices. Nonetheless, our school leader- ship is going to take a closer look at this issue. At 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 19th, we will be conducting a Board of Edu- cation workshop to discuss the use of electronic devices including cell phone usage, by students. Please join us for the dis- cussion as we consider input on the subject moving forward as a community. The workshop will be held in the Central Office Boardroom.

I also look forward to seeing everyone at fall school events and games.

John