Laptop Program FAQs

What is the educational rationale for a one-to-one laptop program?

Computers are a ubiquitous part of our environment these days, and colleges expect students to be proficient at using computing tools when they arrive. Moreover, more and more information is becoming available online, in the form of websites, online textbooks, and curriculum resources. As a college preparatory school, it is part of our educational responsibility to prepare students for the academic world they will join after they leave us. Students will become most proficient at the use of the computer and the information that the computer makes available if they have access to the laptop, anytime and anywhere.

How can laptops help students who have a learning difference?

A laptop can significantly address many learning style differences in the classroom. It can be a very effective personal organization tool. By providing audio, visual and kinesthetic reinforcement, a computer provides options to meet the needs of a variety of learning styles.

Is there training for my child to learn how to use and take care of the laptop?

Training is provided for students when they receive the laptop; additional training is incorporated into the academic curriculum.

Are the laptops used in each class every day?

Laptops in the classroom can help to improve students' writing as well as allow for spontaneous, student directed learning through Internet research, data collection and analysis, and multimedia presentations. We do not, however, promote the use of technology merely for its own sake. Use of the laptop in class depends on the content area and the appropriateness of technology for the lesson being taught. The type and frequency of use varies according to the curriculum.

What type of laptop should I purchase for my child?

Each year, Sayre School recommends one Apple MacBook model  and one Lenovo ThinkPad model  for purchase. Only these models qualify for support by the Technology Department.

What is the life expectancy of the laptop hardware and software?

We have specified laptops with sufficient hardware resources to last four years. Additionally, annual software subscriptions provide us with upgrade protection for school-owned software, including McAfee VirusScan.

Do I have to purchase the laptop recommended by the school?

We strongly recommend that families purchase the laptop recommended by the school. Classroom instruction using technology is more effective when all students work with the same tools; consistency and compatibility reduce the possibility of confusion and wasted class time. While it may seem that a comparable laptop could be purchased at a lower price, families should remember that laptops purchased through Sayre School come with features and services that are not always included in the laptop packages offered at retail stores. Purchasing these items separately almost always results in a higher total cost. The Sayre School laptops are bundled with software needed to operate in the Sayre School environment, at a savings not available through retail outlets. Non-standard laptops will be required to have Sayre software configuration in order to use the school network. Additionally, we provide significant value-added services in the area of maintenance and support with the goal of minimizing down time should a problem arise. These services are not available to families who do not purchase their laptops through the school laptop program. Those students will not be able to use our repair services or laptop loaner pool. If families still decide not to participate in the Sayre School laptop purchase program, they must make certain that the laptop they purchase meets the hardware and software specifications established by the school. Families who do not use a Sayre recommended laptop must pay an individual configuration fee of $150.

How does the purchasing process work?

Ordering information is made available in the spring via email and on the school's website. Depending on the model, families may purchase the recommended laptops online, via the telephone, or at the Apple Store.

What options do I have for paying for the laptop?

Families may finance the purchase of the laptop in any way they choose, for example, by paying cash, paying with a credit card, or taking out a low interest home equity loan. If a family needs financial assistance in paying for the laptop or wishes to explore other payment options they should contact the Head of School.

What happens if the laptop does not work or is accidentally damaged?

It is essential that families purchase the longest possible laptop warranty and accidental damage coverage. The manufacturer's warranty covers hardware defects; the accidental damage policy covers any accidental damage such as screen breaks or liquid spills. If the laptop is one of the supported models, then the Technology Department provides support for both hardware and software problems and expedites the repair process. In the event that a laptop must be shipped away for repair, the student may use a "loaner" laptop provided by the Technology Department.

What happens if the laptop is stolen or lost?

Neither the manufacturer's warranty nor accidental damage coverage will pay for the replacement of a lost or stolen laptop. Families should check with their homeowner's or renter's insurance carrier to see if the laptop could be replaced through their personal coverage.

What software should we have on the laptop for school?

The laptop will come with the operating system, either Microsoft Windows 8 Professional or Mac OS X. Additionally, families must purchase Microsoft Office software. The Technology Department will install other software required for the Upper School program.

Can we install other software on the laptop?

The laptop belongs to the student and his/her family; therefore, students may install any personal software which they have purchased. Sometimes the installation of personal software may prevent the Sayre School technology staff from being able to troubleshoot or repair problems on the laptop. In these instances, it may be necessary to restore the laptop to its original configuration in order to return the machine to working condition. In this case, the personal software may have to be reinstalled by the student. Additionally, as explained in our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), students may be prohibited from using certain software applications during the school day.

In addition to software, what technology tools are available to students?

Students are provided with campus email accounts. Through the school's Internet access students have access to websites, online textbook resources, and online library resources.

Are students able to print from their laptops?

Yes, both school and home printers may be installed on the laptop. The laptops are configured to print to laser printers in the Upper School building. Students are encouraged to practice "responsible printing" to avoid unnecessary waste and expense. We try to foster a paperless environment by creating drop boxes and relying on email. If a teacher requires that an assignment be printed, then the student is encouraged to print it at home before they come to school.

How should students back up data stored on their laptops?

Each student has network access to their network folder on their laptop. Students should save their work to their network folder frequently. Other backup methods include personally-owned USB flash drives and/or external hard drives.

How should students keep their laptops charged during the school day?

Students are expected to bring their laptops to school fully charged; they should consider this to be equivalent to a nightly homework assignment. For supplemental charging during the day, there are plenty of electrical outlets in the Upper School building, both in the hallways and in the classrooms. Please keep in mind that a laptop battery is only warrantied for one year, and will probably need to be replaced at some point during the student's time in the Upper School.

Will students need to get online at home?

Students will be expected to bring their laptops to school fully charged; they should consider this to be equivalent to a nightly homework assignment. Fully charged batteries in laptops using the new Mobile processors will be able to last approximately twice as long as those with the predecessor processors. For supplemental charging during the day, there are plenty of electrical outlets in the upper school building, both in the hallways and in the classrooms.

Can I use my laptop on my home network and the school network?

Access to multiple networks at home and at school is available through the creation of individual profiles on the student laptop.

Why does my laptop have an administrator account?

The Sayre School Technology Department creates an administrator account on each laptop so that we can work on it in the event of a hardware or software problem. That account should not be altered by the family.

Will my child be able to use this laptop at college?

Colleges expect students to come to school equipped with some sort of personal computer. If a student has owned the laptop since the 9th grade, it will probably be time to replace the laptop before going away to college. A few colleges have their own laptop requirement; in these cases a student may be provided with or may have to purchase the laptop required by the school. Most colleges have a Technology section on their website  or at the campus store that outlines their recommendations or requirements for student computers.
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