Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

On this Thanksgiving Holiday CAM High School has a lot to be thankful about:

1) A great student body with supportive, active parents.
2) A wonderful staff who will work with anyone.
3) Opportunities in all subject areas for students to excel.
4) A progressive minded community with energetic leaders.

As we move forward in a number of areas we all are thankful for the communication and support we receive as a staff.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Homeroom Tuesday

Please let students pair up and watch the two videos.

Afterwards, lead a discussion on these videos.

First Video
Your kid’s cyber secret
Your kid’s cyber secret

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Technology update

Before conferences I sent out a letter encouraging everyone to come to conferences and that there would be documentation about the laptops available to sign. Well, as many of you asked and a lot of you figured out on your own that the documentation was not available, or ready for you to sign.

Right now the laptops are in classrooms and are being used by teachers there, but they are not available for students to check out. Teachers are sharing them to ensure that they have enough to use when needed while we try to finalize how and when the students get to check them out, or for the juniors, have them with them at all times.

We will have a meeting of all junior parents about their 1 to 1 laptops and information will be sent home to be signed about those that are being checked out by the other students. Students have been and will be trained on proper use and procedures involving the laptops as well during Homeroom time.

I appreciate everyone's patience, especially the students, in this matter as we have several network and paperwork issues to clear up before we can get parents together and roll them out to students.

At the very, very latest they will get them to start 2nd semester, but we're hopeful its after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

CAM's definately got talent!

Anyone who made it to this year's variety show, "CAM's Got Talent", held Nov. 2 and 3 found this out.

This every two-year event was an enormous hit and everyone involved did their part to make it very entertaining.

I could start naming off each act, but I'm sure I'd leave someone deserving out.

What I don't think everyone knows is most of the acts in the show are developed almost exclusively by the students. With guidance from Mrs. Nichols watchful eye of course.

With that said I just want to congratulate the students, sponsors, teachers, parents and volunteers for pulling off another amazing event.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Website up and running

This year we are utilizing a new service called SOCS (Simplified Online Communication System) for our website information.

This is a shift from having a single teacher and a handful of students responsible for ALL of the material on the website to having all teachers, administrators, some staff and students responsible.

Teachers and administrators have the ability to put information out to the public instantly through the site and students and parents have the opportunity to subscribe, via email, to news updates.

Students can still work on the site and be edited by teachers. Right now our journalism class will be submitting a lot of work.

JMC parent access and Announcements have prominent buttons in handy places and the use of pictures should increase with the ease of the program.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Taking my medicine

Hats off the Iowa State players, their coaching staff, fans and athletic director for their victory Saturday 15-13. Total Domination. I deserve the following.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

School Starts Monday

Wow! Monday we start school all over the CAM area. Students at the high school will begin with an assembly in the gym and then go to homerooms to get locker assignments and talk about scheduling.

We had two staff members leave late in the year. Lynn Johnson is now Principal at Villisca High School and Connie Turner is moving to Williamsburg to teach English in that district.

We have regained the Woods teaching of Dean Downer from the C & M CSD to help in the shop. Larry Hunt and Rex Mehrhoff will be dividing up the AD duties (AD Being "activities director"). We currently are working on options to provide CAD and Intro to Engineering classes.

Kate Kelly will join us from Florida to teach English 10 and upper level English full time for Mrs. Turner as well as taking on Oral Communication.

Kim Peterson joins us from Guthrie Center and will be teaching physical science, chemistry and physics.

Matt Kuempel joins us as a special education teacher and assistant boys basketball coach.

Chris Jahnke is our new Head Volleyball coach and Franklin Dea is the Head Boys Basketball coach.

See you Monday!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Registration is August 6th

Mark your calendars for school registration. August 6th we'll start registering your students for classes at the high school and elementary in Anita. I'll have specific times and activities, but for right now plan on late afternoon and plan on updating all of your personal information.

With the expanded use of technology we're hopefully going to utilize you email and cell phone numbers more often.

See you in August and it's hard to believe the summer is melting away.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The summer moves forward

July 4th approaches and amidst the celebration of our nation's Declaration of Independence, teachers, students and yes, administrators sense a loss of their independence.

For me, with a new superintendent, new state guidelines, new technology, a new approach and hopefully alliance with the County in handling attendance issues, I've been working on next year non-stop since the doors hit the student's fannies on the last day of 2006-2007.

And that goes for a lot of teachers as well, traveling to curriculum meetings held true for five of our teachers in addition to four going with me to Chicago to meet with Apple Computer.

Secretaries have been putting a wraps on fiscal year 2006-2007 and doing what they do each month.

Custodial staff have been mowing, installing 10 projectors in various rooms and the library, mowing, doing the usual cleaning, mowing, mowing and working on various other projects.

The summer moves forward towards 2007-2008 and judging by the willingness and work done this year in preparation it points to a very successful upcoming year.

Just so it feels like we've kept our independence longer than it usually seems once July hits.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Chicago Briefing

What happens when you put six adults in a Suburban, load up with Apple MACbooks and point it at Chicago?

A lot of quality professional development.

Apple rolled out the red carpet and engaged Justin Rapier, Joan Clinton, John Arp, Rex Mehrhoff and Judy Griffin (AEA 13) the way we hope to engage our students starting in the fall.

Apple's iLife curriculum infuses writing with video, photo and podcasting production to embed learning into the minds of ... well anyone who puts in a minimal effort.

Those of you saying to yourselves..."What does playing around with video, photos and recording your own voice have to do with education?"

Hmmm we spent all of 100 minutes working on a podcast, embedding pictures with voice, adding sound effects and background music, and I remember more about the cicada from that activity than my course on insects at the University of Northern Iowa.

Using the powerful software hits the learner where they live whether they are a visual learner, learn through hearing or reading. You get multiple contact with the information as you research the most basic ESSENTIAL facts.

We had to write a script and follow basic expectations similar to meeting requirements set in a rubric or expectations draw out before any project. These are important to have, the use of a minimum amount of vocabulary and facts.

Do it and then publish it.

Then, it's there. There for the student, teacher and family to see. In our old system the student just produced things for one person - the teacher. If they didn't like that person AND didn't care what they got as a grade, what type of effort were they going to put in? Less than minimal.

Now, if they know their parents, friends and peers are going to see. Well then, that's a different story. Publish it and you've got their attention.

If you doubt my thoughts here, ask one of the Spanish students who have their video on YouTube what they think.

It's obvious they cared and are now proud of an assignment they did in school!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Schools out

Ah, summer.

It's hard to believe the year is over and we're working on things for 07-08. But June is knocking on the door and baseball and softball are in full swing.

I can't say exactly what, but with the new technology and the work of our staff this summer, I can say going to school at CAM High School will begin to change early and for the better.

New attitudes, technology, procedures, expectations and responsibility will greet students next year.

So sit back, enjoy camping, fishing, golf and the summer job. It's summertime.

We're getting ready for the fall and next year. And having a good time doing it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Class of 2007

It was just a week ago I was fretting over preparing for H.S. Awards night and the graduation ceremony and now, two events and 13 graduation parties later, it's in the past and all of our memories.

A big thanks to this class for their contributions to CAM High School.

They are the first class to spend all four years together as CAM and chose their colors, one from C& M (gold) and one from Anita (purple). They were proud of this and I couldn't be prouder for them as a class.

So I hope you all had your fill of pork, tacos, appetizers, cake and punch. I sure did.

Thanks to everyone who helped send our graduates out in style.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

ACT Prep Class

The following is information that students should be presenting you Wednesday night as teachers are handing it out during homeroom on Wednesday.

This summer's ACT course will run from May 29th to June 8th, all weekdays. Classes will be run from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. everyday and when we’ll be taking practice tests and running from 8:30 a.m. to approximately Noon. Cost for the class is $25. (An official schedule will be printed and handed out before the end of the school year)

Mr. Arp will be covering the essentials for the math portion of the ACT test, Mrs. Turner the English portion of the test and Mr. Giegerich the science portion of the test. Two actual tests will be administered.

The ACT has traditionally been used to test student’s college readiness in mathematics, English, reading and science. However, in recent years states have been adopting the “ACT Core Curriculum”, requiring more in depth math, science and English classes.

“The value of a good core of knowledge can not be underestimated. Taking the ACT is something every high school student needs to consider” – Mr. Giegerich

Taking the ACT test a couple times, or each year, is beneficial to know what areas a student need to work on to be confident they are ready for a post-secondary education. It’s not just for students with four-year aspirations anymore. It’s a good indicator for both student and parent whether entering a two-year college or trade school is the right choice.

The course will teach basic strategies that will help the student prepare for both the test format and content area. It’s not a catch all, but the course will improve the student’s ability to score at his/her ability level.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Night at the Roxbury

Prom 2007 went something like this - A grand "Grand March", dinner, a couple tornado warnings, dancing, after-prom in Atlantic, another tornado warning and then students stranded in Atlantic because of debris and high water.

Home after 6 a.m. - certainly a prom to remember.

The creators of Saturday Night Live couldn't have written this "Night at the Roxbury", but this years juniors, seniors and their dates lived it.

It began with the threat of severe weather safely off to the west in Nebraska. CAM High School patrons watched their students put on snappy tuxes and beautiful dresses, show up in Hummers, dune buggies and limos for the Grand March. Security let the crowd, and then each couple, into the Roxbury.

High winds pounded Anita as the couples went from posing on the red carpet to eating at places like the Redwood in Anita and the Feed Lot in Atlantic. Most made it to the dance on time, were done with pictures and dancing as the first of two tornado warnings were issued for western Cass County.

Computers and emergency radios kept the sponsors and administration apprised (as well as several parents) of the situation. With contingency plans in place (getting students to the locker rooms) the dance went on. The DJs provided a good mix of contemporary dance, country and oldies (if you consider the 80s old).

After prom went on at the Atlantic YMCA as yet another tornado rolled through the area around 3 a.m. Afterwards, debris and flood waters gave county officials no choice but to keep the CAM students in Atlantic, with many reporting they did not get home until 6 a.m.

In some instances the students were definitely safer where they were as several had damage reported at their homes.

A big thank you to everyone who was responsible for putting Prom 2007 - "A Night at the Roxbury" on for everyone to see and enjoy.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Student Permits

When you're a small school district, sharing classes with another small school district, student permits are a necessity especially if the student is active in extra-curricular activities. While it is a necessity it is also a privilege. One that could be easily taken away.

There are a host of guidelines (14 total) that the student, parent and I go over before a student permit is granted. When everyone leaves my office after that meeting I hope there is a clear understanding of the consequences involved if the guidelines are not followed.

Suspension of the license may result from:
* A single moving violation conviction;
* at fault chargeable accident
* a request from a peace officer, parent or guardian, school superintendent (or designee);
* or any other reason
attesting to violations of the guidelines. This could suspend the learners permit as well.

Revocation would occur if two or more moving violations occurred and that would mean two years from that time before you could gain your license.

I handle phone calls from the public and observations from parents and teachers by talking to the driver. Generally we discuss what the person said they saw and get the student's perspective. I then interject why that was (or in some cases wasn't) a violation of the guidelines.

I then request they speak with their parents and we follow up the next day on what was said and if they were given a punishment. I'll call the parents if the violation is serious or if the student is observed by multiple people on multiple occasions.

Some common misconceptions - You CAN transport students from your house to school (and back), but you CAN NOT pick them up; You have one direct route that you can travel once to get to school/activity/practice and ONCE to get back from said school/activity/practice. You CAN NOT get to school then go to Casey's or go home to get something you forgot.

I know we do not have a local police officer to work with to help monitor this, but all it takes is a credible adult and statement for the school to request (formally or informally) the suspension of the student's school permit.

If you want more information it's located in the Iowa Code Section 321.194.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Graduation upcoming

We are fast approaching "Senior Skip Day" (May 2nd - educationally approved of course), Prom (May 5th), the Senior's Last Day (May 11th) and Graduation (May 20th).

Since there have been a lot of requests I'll post the official schedule for Graduation Week. It is as follows:

Wednesday, May 16 - Baccalaureate 7 p.m.; High School Awards Night 8 p.m.
Thursday, May 17 - Quill and Scroll - 6:30 p.m. in Library
Vocal, Band and Art Awards Concert/Show 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 20th - Graduation 2 p.m.

Seniors, graduation rehearsal is Thursday, May 17th at 11a.m.

It's hard to imagine seeing this group of seniors go as the start of the 06-07 school year seems like it started yesterday.

For you parents of seniors I'm sure you'd tell me the same thing about them entering as a Freshman ... or kindergarten for that matter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Look at the want ads

A stroll through the Sunday classifieds in the Des Moines Register has you walking through many different, technical and non-technical, high paying jobs that need people to fill them.

This trend is going to increase as Baby-Boomers leave the work force to drain Social Security dry. There is going to be opportunities in all areas for anyone to take. Anyone with a strong background in math, science and can communicate (English).

The two biggest misconceptions that students and parents have about high school, in my opinion, is 1) Math and Science are for nerds and is somehow genetic 2) They can get what they need after high school.

While a student can start being successful anytime in life, why not sooner rather than later? Or how about, why not when it's FREE rather than when it's paid for?

So what does "To Kill a Mockingbird" have to do with math, science and technical skills? Try the ability to budget time away from the T.V., the computer, the cellphone, the friends to read and prepare for the next class.

How about reading and comprehending literature so you can one day read and comprehend a complex textbook, or a complex manual, or a complex tutorial online?

"I just don't get math", or "I don't like Science", try "Reading's dumb", the student says.

"He just doesn't get math...doesn't like science...isn't much for reading" the parent says.

"I'm sorry he just doesn't get the job," the high paying employer says.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Technology class wrapping up

The multi-media class, put on byAEA13s own Judy Griffin, will be ending on Monday. The class will culminate with every participant (or groups there off) showing what they can produce using iPhoto and iMovie.

It's been a fun and entertaining several weeks. Teachers have set up blogs to communicate with patrons about upcoming events and one even is using it to communicate with students.

I will be highlighting the accomplishments of the class at our "Community Meeting" in April as well as illustrating where we are going from here in terms of our technology grant.

I applaud the efforts of the staff and challenge them to continue to learn and grow with technology. It's easy to get excited about a new teaching tool, but we are all going to have the technology let us down. The best developed lesson, with or without technology, sometimes doesn't work. Using computers, projectors, power points, dvd, downloaded videos adds an element of Murphy's law not yet defined by Murphy.

Ask Mr. Miller. He produced two wonderfully put together slide shows for the FFA banquet Saturday night. We set the computer and projector up with speakers, tested it, went home, came back and the speakers didn't work. Add a faulty microphone and PA system to the mix and the music in the background wasn't heard very well.

But Mr. Miller did get to burn the slide shows on a DVD for the seniors to take with them. A keepsake for four years of hard work. The glass half-full says the technology came through with flying colors.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Yesterday we held our annual PBS Day at the High School. Two general speakers and four breakout sessions involved and spoke to students on a variety of subjects.

Our first speaker was Ted Weise. The CAM FFA program stepped up and paid to get him for the high school and middle school after seeing him present at National FFA Conference. "Ted", as he asked to be called, kept the kids moving and laughing for two hours while delivering a message on several topics including: Teamwork, overcoming the fear of failure, paradigm shift in attitude, being involved, and being part of the solution rather than part of the problem. His presentation was an overwhelming hit and had everyone having a good time.

Miss Iowa 2006 talked about Character Counts and their eight pillars as well as her background. She performed for the student body singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow".

During a split lunch the students watched a video that spoke about the global economy, technology and the effects these things will have on their future.

The four afternoon breakout sessions were: JEL (Just Eliminate Lies), St. Jude's in Adair, Eldora State Training school and Cass County Hospital. The students heard messages about health and the dangers of smoking as well as from students in the Eldora facility and people who are in treatment and who have made it out of treatment at St. Jude's.

There was fantastic attendance at school yesterday, so most everyone was part of a successful day.

A big thanks goes to the student council and Mr. Hunt, the FFA and Mr. Miller, the teachers and their involvement with the students during the program and all of the speakers involved with the day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Parent Teacher conferences this week

Parent teacher conferences are very important. Whether your student is doing well or needs to improve, sitting down with your student(s) teachers is vital to their education.

It demonstrates that you are paying attention to them and what they are involved in. Do not fall into the "You don't have too," or "I'm fine, don't worry about going," or even "conferences are dumb and the teacher hates me" trap. It's the tendency for most teens to down play conferences and especially if they're struggling.

Getting to know teachers is important. Asking them questions, even if it's "why does my son think you hate him?" Or, "she's getting an A but do you feel she understands the work." Any question is good and setting up a dialog about your student(s) education is important.

After conferences talk to your student(s) about them and come up with real ideas to improve their experience at CAM High School and set some goals. The goals do not always have to be, "To get an 'A' or a 'B'".

Start with organizational things such as "for the rest of the year I will write down assignments." There's things like doing homework at a certain time and if it's done doing some free reading.

But first, please take a couple hours and attend conferences this Spring. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Attendance and tardies

Students will be receiving a letter if they have 4 or more unexcused tardies, or two or more blocks of unexcused absences. It will explain how many of each and how much time they owe to make up for the time missed.

Students may have had time from last semester unserved or detention time a teacher assigned and they didn't serve (among other disciplinary things) tacked on and a total time the student owes in on the letter.

If a student has 3 or less hours to serve they may use detention after school in 1/2 hour increments, serve time in Saturday school or serve time doing community service. Dates for Saturday school or community service are provided on the letter as well as a space for alternative ideas from parents and/or students.

There is a process for appealing unexcused absences in the Student-Parent Handbook. We currently have two people working on absences and tardies and all parent calls and notes have been taken into account. Some days, changes from a teacher's original entry, takes the full day if not into a second. This can be confusing if you're checking online through the parent access link because your student's record can change.

Students who come in late, or without an excuse are unexcused. If a student sleeps in and a parent calls to tell us they'll be late doesn't excuse the student. We want that call, but the absence is still unexcused. Students who leave the building without signing out of the office are absent unexcused.

There are dozens of examples of unexcused absences. The state excuses only a handful of things (suspensions, college visits and field trips) for compulsory attendance tracking, and our school excuses some more (illness or injury, family trauma, health appointments, prior approval of vacation or work, verified emergencies, religious services).

Generally things that are communicated ahead of time are excused.

If you have any questions please call the office. Otherwise, ask your student if they received a letter Thursday or Friday.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Blogs, blogs everyhwere

You can't swing a dead cat (not sure where that phrase was first coined and why) around the world-wide web without hitting a new blog by a teacher at CAM High School.

Blogs about the DC Trip, the Vocal department, FFA are just a few floating out there right now with more being developed and written.

This helps step up the level of communication between teachers and patrons while giving everyone another opportunity to express themselves.

With this freedom of expression comes a level of responsibility on both the poster and the blog writer. While having a difference in opinion is healthy, the way that opinion is expressed is vital. Personal attacks and inappropriate or slanderous comments are not acceptable.

The district is looking into other communication tools as part of the ILTC Grant that was awarded to CAM High School this winter.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

End of the Quarter approaches- check grades online NOW!

If you are reading this, you can access your son/daughter's grades online. I'm guessing you all know that, but for anyone who doesn't (or for anyone you know who doesn't and has internet access) it's useful information.

The quarter ends Wednesday, March 14th. Grades are due at Noon on Friday from teachers. Teachers updated grades on Tuesday, March 6th and some update more frequently. You can access how your student's doing now and get some last minute push to improve their standing before the door closes on the quarter.

I know many of you have tried earlier in the year with no success. Please call Linda at the high school office (762-3231) and she'll get you your username and password. They will work. If they don't let us know. Usually it's a server shutdown problem, but we need to know if there are problems.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Blizzard of '07 ... extend quarter 3 days

I wish I had more readership at this moment as I could be letting everyone know that we'll probably be extending the quarter 3 days. The quarter will end March 14th, grades are due by noon on Friday the 16th.

It would only be fair for those students needing to raise their grade and giving teachers a chance to get units wrapped up and grading done. Regardless the 4th quarter will get three extra days tacked on most likely, so it would only make sense to extend the 3rd quarter.

This year's seniors are pleased as punch I'm sure as they will not be here to make the days up. Last year we had one or no days off (can't recall).

I'm not familiar with this area so I do not know it's blizzard history. But I was my son's age (8) when the blizzard of '72 shut school down for 4 total days. We're lucky we have a weekend coming up as well as a weather change.

Stay safe and see you next week!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dress Code

Every generation has their fashion and style. Some are acceptable, and some are not.

Several years ago it was "mid-riffs", young ladies with shirts that were up just below the bellybutton; There are, and always have been, T-shirt issues; more recently there were problems with female underwear that could be seen.

Now it's the guys turn. Low-riding pants that expose boxer or regular shorts. Just like their female counterparts, who were either wearing low cut jeans or underwear that were exposed, this is unacceptable. On a variety of levels that I feel I do not need to discuss.

Like cellphones we've had teachers and the adminstration who enforce it one way or another. I even stepped in one day and started handing rope out, giving out 12 strands in a day and 1/2. Again, we need a level of consistency since simply asking them to have them above their hips has not worked. In fact, more students are joining in wearing them low.

Again, we're talking about underwear that is out in public (and simply putting shorts there instead of boxers doesn't cut it either). Part of me wants to greet parents, who have trouble with us asking to have their students simply keep their pants, with my pants at the same level. See how long I'd hold my job, it would be short lived.

Our policy in a nutshell: If a staff member can visibly see whatever it is that is wore underneath and any time they will ask the student to go to Mrs. Meyer's room (The Room of Opportunity - ROO) and fix them. She will have something they can use (most likely green garden twine) to be sure their pants are up and always covering their undergarment.

Penalties: Again, we'll give them an opportunity to rectify the problem and after that, they will contact a parent from that the ROO and tell them they will be spending time there until the problem is corrected. In school and out of school suspensions as well as extra-curricular privileges being suspended will also come into play. Refusal to go to the ROO will result in a Blue Slip major violation rather than a minor violation which means community service, detention or Saturday school.

Even long sweatshirts that cover the backside will be addressed. Students often spend the entire day holding them up! Also their gait (how they walk) is affected and it can't be good on their back and how they distribute their weight.

It's plain and simply a dress code violation and it has to be addressed.


As Principal, I have made a plea to the staff of CAM High School to come to together and address several issues in regards to student conduct. The first of that being students with cellphones.

Before diving into the logistics of what I've asked the staff to do, or cite School Board Code or the Handbook verbatim, here are my thoughts.

We have been enforcing the cellphone rule to some degree, but inconsistently from staff member to staff member. I can think of several students who's cellphones have ended up in the office a half-dozen times. I can also think of a handful of students who's parents have been called to come get them and magically they aren't a problem for those students.

We need to be consistent and hopefully reduce and eliminate cellphone distractions. To do so we've moved the cellphone holding area to Mrs. Meyer's room where she can have students, who use their cellphones during the school day outside of the main office, without permission, to contact parents to have the cellphones picked up after school. We may give everyone one "my bad" where all they have to do is come down and pick it up after school on their first violation.

What is so bad about having cellphones at school? They are a major distraction. Our students are networked together in small and large groups and most spend a good portion of the day communicating with each other. This is a tremendous distraction!

Cellphones vibrate or go off to some degree when calls or texts come in. This disrupts the classroom and now affect other students. And then the game of "keep the cellphone from the teacher" begins.

"What, it wasn't mine," "Aww come on, I was just checking the time," "My parents need to contact me." Now the class suffers and the teacher has to get them back and focused on the lesson.

Bottom line is we could ban them all together and impose stricter rules. I don't want to go there necessarily. At a recent "School Administrators of Iowa" conference on School Law it was confirmed that schools could ban cellphones from the building.

I believe in being more progressive than that. Banning cellphones would just bury them deeper in some students pockets; check-in-checkout plans would be a nightmare to manage; referrals would skyrocket; time I need to help the school with instructional support would vanish. But if necessary we will consider a ban.

I also believe in giving students a chance to reach a higher expectation for personal cellphone management than where we're at with it currently.

I'm prepared to drop a cellphone ban from consideration if students can manage their cellphones better from here on out and accept punishments given for unacceptable cellphone use.

Our Cellphone policy in a nutshell: You may have cellphones in the building, but they can not create a distraction, or be in plain site during the school day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Exception: Cellphones can be used in the Main Office or in an area designated by a staff member.

The key is the student must ask a teacher/administrator/secretary if they can use it and be ready to accept "No" for an answer or "you can go to the office (or location) and use it".

Penalty: Students will be asked to go to Mrs. Meyer's room (The Room of Opportunity) to turn over their cellphone. She will document it with a "Blue Slip" minor referral and after one free violation the parents will be called to come get the cellphone. If students refuse to go to the room and do this they will be cited with a "Blue Slip" major referral which will mean either detention, community service time, extra curricular privileges suspended or Saturday school.

Cellphones are here, I realize that and I'm not fighting the fact they are a part of the culture for just about everyone. All I want is a learning environment that is not effected from the almost addictive nature of their use.