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Schools updating cell phone and attendance policies

There may be some new policies in the student handbooks for School District 166 and Great Expectations School next fall. Both schools are considering revisions to some policies.

At ISD 166 that means a possible prohibition on cell phones for most of the school day, which is currently the policy in place at Great Expectations. 

Both schools are considering a change to attendance policies. They would like parent and community member feedback. 

Rhonda Silence spoke with school administrators to learn more. 

Principal Bill DeWitt also issued this statement:
We are strongly considering adopting a policy such as other schools in our state are increasingly doing - along with other schools in our county such as Great Expectations - restricting the use of cell phones during our school day entirely, excepting one check mid-day for messages.  We see this as helping increase our focus on academics, learning and student engagement throughout the building.  
We are additionally considering being more clear in our attendance policy – regarding when an absence is excused or unexcused - in terms of documentation.  Currently when absences start to accumulate with children we are relying on judgement calls to determine the legitimacy of an excuse without documentation of the reason.
We, along with Great Expectations School, and possibly other schools, are considering selecting a set number of absences per semester equivalent to 10 percent of the semester (9 absences) which folks can call in as excused without documentation. After that students can still receive excused absences, but with a requirement of documenting the reason (such as a note from the doctor or dentist visit).
We see this as benefiting our children's attendance and supporting all families in maintaining good attendance for the education of their children.
Principal DeWitt and Assistant Principal Dorr will be compiling responses. They can be reached either by phone at 218-387-2271 x 603 or email: or
At Great Expectations, Director James can be reached at 218-387-9322 or at