The explosive growth in the use of information technology throughout the College Prep community has been part of a world-wide phenomenon. Some of that growth at Prep has been intentional and well managed, like the long-standing faculty laptop program that has resulted in exciting curricular developments. The on-campus explosion of student-laptop use (250 and counting!) represents a different sort of growth: inconsistent and underutilized. Beginning next year, we will start very deliberately coordinating faculty and student laptop programs by initiating an inclusive, standardized laptop program for the Class of 2014 (and subsequent classes).
The new program will vigorously reaffirm and extend to all students the core College Prep values of educational effectiveness and equity. Every freshman next year will be outfitted with a standardized computer, including a prescribed set of software programs. At home and in school, each student will be able to rely on a supported, functioning machine to do the increasing amounts and varieties of schoolwork that require the use of a computer. Building on ten years of experience with the faculty laptop program, we will enable next year’s freshmen to use the same software and Apple hardware that teachers have been incorporating throughout the curriculum in effective and imaginative ways.
The school will take advantage of bulk-purchase contracts to procure hardware, software, protective cases, extended warranties, and back-up equipment for all incoming freshmen. The costs of the program will be spread over four years, and families will pay an annual technology fee (estimated now at up to $500/year). Of course, financial aid for this fee will apply to all families that qualify. When the student graduates, the computer belongs to the student.
Families may opt out of the school-purchase plan if they have other ways of acquiring essentially the same equipment. For those families, the annual technology fee will be approximately $100, to cover an equal share of the program infrastructure, start-up, administration, and participation in the loaner pool.
Obviously, there are many other pertinent details, some of which have yet to be finally settled. We will update everyone through the school website. For now, we want you to understand the basics and to join us in our excitement for this significant educational development at College Prep. If you have questions, please contact Preston Tucker, History Teacher and Technology Strategist, at email@example.com.