“Low-Tech Week” comes to Saint Stephen’s

A week with no phones might seem like an uncomfortable change, but administration believes it will change us for the better.


Danny Dodaj

English teacher Mr. Hoonhout proudly shows the phones his advisory has shelved for the week.

Danny Dodaj, Staff Writer

Yesterday, Saint Stephen’s Upper School students kicked off “Low-Tech Week” by leaving their cell phones with their advisors.  During the week of January 23-27, students will turn in their phones to their advisors at 8am and pick them up at 3pm. 

The purpose of the initiative is to encourage students to take a little time away from tech, have real conversations with one another, and interact with the world phone-free. 

This social experiment was used in previous years and recently reintroduced by Mrs. Conn, the Dean of Student Life and Wellness. She believes that this no phone policy will create a positive impact socializing at Saint Stephens.

“We are trying to take some time for ourselves to disconnect from technology and reconnect with ourselves and each other,” Mrs. Conn explained. “We want to make a good effort into communicating without having phones as a distraction”. 

Far from a draconian phone ban, the policy is, in fact, optional to all students. This decision, however, has caused confusion as many students and advisors were unaware of the conditions of the program.

Nevertheless, faculty are treating this as an experiment, watching how students act and react when they don’t have their phones nearby. 

Conn added, “I hope students will realize that there is so much more to the school day than staring at their phones every free second that they have. Hopefully it will be refreshing having focused conversations with their peers and teachers without the constant distractions of constant notifications.” 

Junior Lexi Vega asked a couple students about their thoughts on the program so far.

Senior Amelia Sabo said, “I think it’s good because it gives you a chance to talk to people one-on-one. You aren’t forced to talk to them over Snapchat so when you actually talk to them, it’s meaningful.”

I love it. My classroom is a no phone zone because I think it’s very important that we learn to communicate with each other and take time to communicate with each other.”

— Mrs. Elisha

However, not all students have a positive thought on the “Low-tech week.”  Sophomore Scout Erby isn’t enjoying it as much: “I think having no phone is stupid because I use my phone in a lot of my classes. For example, in my ceramics class I use my phone for Pinterest to get inspiration for my sculptures.”

Many Teachers agree with the goals of the experiment. Theatre Director Mrs Elisha said, “I love it. My classroom is a no phone zone because I think it’s very important that we learn to communicate with each other and take time to communicate with each other.” 

On the other hand, Mrs. Grady remarked, “I can see the no phone policy from both sides and can agree that there’s pros and cons to each.  Cellphones have great resources if you use them in the right way. However, I think students should look at this as less of a rule and more of an opportunity to check in with yourself.”

At the end of the week, with phones back in students’ hands, many will be eager to see how a week without phones will change their classroom habits.