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New Practices for the 2018-19 School Year

Dear MCS families,

I have been hearing that there are some growing concerns due to some partial information that has been circulating in the community. I hope this memo will help dispel some of your concerns.

It is true that we are going to limit cell phone usage in the school during the school day. The policy will be “not seen or heard during the school day.” This means that students should stow their phones out of sight between the beginning of homeroom and 2:52.  Before and after school, students will have access to their cell phones. During the day, we ask that parents communicate with the school directly. All messages will be delivered by 2 p.m. on school days. Messages of an urgent nature will be delivered upon receipt. Why are we adopting this practice?  Here are the primary reasons:

*      Students are distracted by their personal devices and the devices of other students.

*       Cell phones are often used to facilitate misbehavior during the school day.  Examples include texting to

        meet in bathrooms, to skip class or leave campus.

*       Almost all students have been harassed or bullied using personal electronic devices at some time during

        their school career.

Since all students, grades 6 - 12 will have a chromebook computer for their personal academic use, the need for phones is minimized. Students will be allowed to carry their cell phones in their pocket, hoodie, etc. If the phone makes a noise, or if the student is seen using a phone, the student will be asked to turn it over until the end of the school day. The first and second time this occurs, the student will be allowed to pick up their phone at the end of the day.  If there is a third time, parents will need to come and pick up the phone.

A second rumor has to do with backpacks. There is no truth to the rumor that backpacks are not allowed in school. We realize that students need to carry their books, laptop, lunch and so forth to school.  Once at school all bags, including purses, will be stowed in lockers. We have replaced missing locks and all students will be issued a lock and a locker at the beginning of the year. Why are we moving in this direction?

*      Students carry far too many books throughout the school day. Some book bags weigh nearly 30 pounds! 

       Students should begin managing the materials they need and make periodic visits to their locker.

*      Book bags are often misplaced during the day.  Students leave them in a classroom and must return to 

       the classroom and retrace their steps. When the bookbag has everything in it, losing it is extremely

      disruptive, not to mention concerning, to most students. Carrying only what is required prevents a day from

      being derailed by a lost bookbag.

*     Book bags cluttering a classroom aisle become unnecessary obstacles.

We will ask students to put their backpacks, purses, luggage in their locked locker. They may certainly carry their book bags to school, from school, or to after school activities.

We recognize that these two new practices represent a change from the past 5 years. Each of these practices is designed to make your student’s day safer, less chaotic and more structured.  Furthermore, we are helping students develop organizational skills that are useful in their lives beyond school. Teaching our young people that they can organize their life is a skill that everyone needs in their adult lives.

I hope this communication helps you to understand these new practices and eliminates some of the anxiety caused by rumors that are not completely accurate. I truly look forward to the coming school year.

Best regards,

Laura H. Norris


  • Margaretville Central School District Office: 415 Main St, Margaretville, NY 12455
  • | Phone: (845) 586-2647  | Fax: 845-586-2949