SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Scottsdale Unified School District wants all K-8 students to put their cellphones "Away for the Day."

The district implemented the new rule for the 2023-24 school year. Under the policy, students must have their phones put away in bags or backpacks while they're on campus. 

"This is what I say on announcements every day," Ingleside Middle School Principal Junior Michael said. "Before you step on campus, before you walk through the gate, it's turned off and it goes in your backpack."

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Ingleside was the first SUSD school in the district to try "Away for the Day" two years ago, Michael said.  

At the time, he said students were closed off, almost anti-social. And when they were social, it was social media -- which comes with all the problems that it brings. 

"Whether it's a group chat, a group tag, social media, things that just really got out of control really quickly," Michael said. "and then it was a major distraction to the learning environment."

But since implementing the cellphone ban, Assistant Principal Patti Mastropolo said she's seen a dramatic change in the students.

“Actual interaction and talking," Mastropolo said, "like back in the day!”

Michael and Mastropolo both said there wasn't much push back from parents or students. Parents, they said, liked the new policy. Students went along without much complaint. 

The program went well enough at Ingleside that SUSD officials decided to adopt the policy for all K-8 schools. 

It does not apply to high schools in the district.