Nicole Curci holds a container at the door of her classroom, collecting the cell phone empty pouches for the next class on March 7th at William E. Grady High School.

Two years ago, teacher Nicole Curci said she was fed up having to compete with her students’ cell phones for their attention. Nothing seemed to work to pry them away from their screens. Once she even caught some of them using their smartphone cameras to cheat on a writing test.

“I got really, really tired of telling the kids to get off their phones,” said Curci, a popular teacher at Brooklyn’s William E. Grady Career and Technical Education High School for the last three years.

The Brighton Beach school has been experimenting with solutions ever since. One idea was the…

Tianyang Xavier Wang

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