Two Rivers High School Honored With Digital Wellbeing Excellence Award

Published June 2024

Two Rivers High School has been honored with the Digital Wellbeing Excellence Award by LiveMore ScreenLess, a non-profit organization that advocates and promotes digital wellbeing for and with young people. The first-of-its-kind award honors the Two Rivers administration and faculty for fostering a school environment that elevates balanced, intentional, and responsible use of technology.

In today's digital age, balancing screen time and mental health is crucial for students. At Two Rivers High School, students and staff have been leading the charge in fostering a healthier relationship with technology among the student body. 

Implementing a School Device Protocol
In 2022, Two Rivers began collaborating with LiveMore ScreenLess (LMSL) to conduct focus groups to understand the challenges and opportunities surrounding technology use. These sessions provided valuable insights, which were shared in follow-up meetings with students, staff, District leadership, and families. Through these collaborative discussions led by Principal Al Johnson, Two Rivers staff reached a consensus on revising the device protocol, reinforcing the school's commitment to digital wellbeing.

Implemented this year, the School Device Protocol enforces a no-cell-phone policy during instructional classes. Upon entering the classroom, students must turn off and put away their phones. Exceptions are made in select classes where devices can be used for instruction. According to Principal Johnson, the new device protocol has transformed the school's learning environment. "It eliminates disruptions to learning, community, and collaboration," he shared. And we're seeing the impacts—since the protocol revisions, 90% of educators report increased student engagement under the new protocol. 

Students are Leading the Charge for Balanced Technology Use
Two Rivers students are also to be commended for their leadership role and commitment to digital wellbeing. Last year, a group of students formed a Digital Wellbeing Club to share positive messaging about the balanced use of technology with their peers and younger students. The club meets twice a month to discuss topics related to promoting a healthy relationship with technology and digital devices.

In its first year, the club attended the Digital Wellbeing Youth Summit and planned a "Log Off Lunch," during which nearly 300 students put their phones down during lunchtime and connected with each other. This year, the club is creating a digital wellbeing curriculum for the District's fifth and sixth graders and has visited with middle school students this spring. 

"It has been such a cool experience to learn more about the effects screens have on humans and then use that info to teach others how to use screens in a limited and intentional way," shared Willa Vogen, a Digital Wellbeing Club member.

There is No Wellbeing Without Digital Wellbeing

Principal Johnson shares that there is no wellbeing without digital wellbeing. "We have to address it. If students are not sleeping because they're on their phones, it will impact their mental health, so they can't learn. This work is about prioritizing the holistic development of our students, recognizing that digital wellbeing is fundamental to their overall wellness."