Cell Phone Procedures: Update

Dear UHS Families and Students,

First, for those who prefer to listen rather than read, click here.

We at UHS are all part of a vibrant learning community, and creating the best possible environment for education and development is of paramount importance. As we look at ways to further empower your success, we want to address the increasing impact of cell phones on focus and engagement in the classroom. 

After careful consideration, we're adopting a universal "Phone Tree" procedure, starting on Monday, February 25. This approach involves giving teachers the option of collecting all phones at the beginning of each class and storing them securely in designated "Phone Trees" until the end of the period. Some teachers have already implemented such a procedure, either using bins or other options, and we are hopeful that a more universal approach will assist with student focus and staff consistency.

We understand that this might raise questions, and we want to be transparent about our reasoning. Studies consistently show that cell phone use in class directly correlates with decreased learning outcomes, increased distraction, and reduced focus. While we recognize the importance of staying connected, especially in emergency situations, the reality is that classroom time is dedicated to deep learning, meaningful interactions, and active participation – all critical factors that contribute to student success. We also want to ensure that teachers remain autonomous with respect to their classrooms and that students who need to use devices as part of classroom activities that those choices remain intact. Hence, there is a balance between student disconnect and opportunities for students to use devices during the day.

The Phone Tree system aims to:

  • Boost student focus and engagement: Eliminating the temptation of phones allows students to fully immerse themselves in the learning process, ask questions, actively participate, and grasp concepts without external distractions.

  • Foster deeper connections: By putting away phones, we open space for genuine interactions with peers and teachers, creating a more positive and collaborative learning environment.

  • Promote digital wellness: We want to encourage a healthy relationship with technology, helping students learn to disconnect when it is necessary. This skill is crucial for both academic success and overall well-being.

We want to assure families that phone storage will be secure; students will collect their phones, at the end of each class, with phones remaining in plain sight of all students at all times. We also recognize that emergencies can arise and that students may need access to devices at specific times. We have no intention of telling parents that phones cannot be sent to school; we do expect that most will understand our motivation to support students’ academic focus.

We understand that adjusting to this new procedure might take some time, and we are committed to being supportive, not punitive, through the transition. Open communication is key, so please don't hesitate to voice any questions or concerns to teachers, counselors, or administrators. We are confident that by working together, we can create a thriving learning environment where technology complements the robust education and programs at UHS, not distracts from it.

Thank you for your understanding and support as we embark on this implementation. We believe this process will ultimately pave the way for a more enriching and rewarding learning experience for every UHS student.


Dr. Michael Rubin, Principal
Mr. Matthew Bertrand, Assistant Principal