Middle School Device Program

What’s Required in Middle School?Menlo Middle School students design and build prototypes of a video game for a disabled user. Photo by Pete Zivkov.

For the 2018-19 school year, the Middle School device requirement is changing.

  • Incoming 6th graders will need to have an Apple MacBook laptop. We strongly recommend the 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of storage. Note that 6th graders do not bring their laptops to school until the start of the second quarter in late October.
  • Rising 7th and 8th graders may bring either their iPad or a MacBook laptop to school. In either case, the device is expected to be fully charged and ready to use.

In addition to the device itself, students will need:

  • A protective case.
    • For laptops (6th grade), a protective case that covers both top and bottom. This may be a hard case or soft sleeve (or both), but should be compact enough to fit into a backpack for transportation to and from school. Examples of acceptable cases include:
    • For iPads (7th and 8th grade), a protective keyboard case that covers both front and back. Depending on the model iPad, some suggested keyboard cases include
  • Earphones with a microphone (such as the earbuds supplied with an iPhone). Some teachers require them for class activities such as watching and recording videos.
  • A backup plan:
    • For laptops, Time Machine is an inexpensive and convenient way to backup to an external hard drive. Parents are responsible for helping their student develop a routine of connecting and backing up on a regular basis.
    • For iPads, we recommend you use Apple’s iCloud service or Apple’s iTunes software for backup.
  • Insurance (highly recommended): when you buy a new laptop or iPad, Apple offers an “AppleCare+” extended 3-year warranty; there are other options such as SquareTrade as well.

Financial assistance is available. Contact Rose Garza in the Financial Aid Office at rose.garza@menloschool.org for details.

SOFTWARE

Software requirements will be communicated to families during the first quarter of 6th grade. Students and families are responsible for installing all required applications before the laptops come to school in the second quarter.

TAKING CARE OF YOUR DEVICE

Menlo Middle School students design and build prototypes of a video game for a disabled user. Photo by Pete Zivkov.Laptops are very portable and fairly sturdy if they are cared for.

  • Keep it in its case for protection.
  • Avoid carrying it in a backpack in such a way that objects press against the glass screen, even through the case.
  • Do not leave the laptop unattended outside, in a classroom or in a backpack; you should keep it in your locker when it’s not in use.

Your device’s battery should last all day long. It is your responsibility to charge it overnight so that you have access to it in class.

TECH SUPPORT

The Tech Department provides basic software and hardware support for students’ laptops and iPads during normal school hours. We cannot perform hardware repairs, but we can help diagnose issues and offer advice about where and how to solve them.

We cannot provide data recovery services, so be sure to back up your work!

Behavior and Acceptable Use

Use of your laptop is subject to the terms of the Menlo School Student and Parent Handbook, Acceptable Use Policy, and Family Media Agreement. Please respect the rights of other users.

Laptops should not be used during the school day for any purpose that is not academic—no gaming, texting, social media, watching videos, or listening to music except as part of an assignment. They should not be out during break times unless the student has direct supervision and permission from an adult. If a student needs to contact family during the school day, they can do so in the MS Office.

Digital Age Parenting

As our students begin to explore, connect, create and learn online, they are exposed to new opportunities and potential pitfalls. We want our students to become wise consumers and ethical producers and participants in online media.

Educating your children is a partnership. We highly recommend you have a conversation with your child regarding the use of technology both at school and at home. We like Common Sense Media’s Family Media Agreements to start conversations around technology in your home.

Because no single solution will cover every situation, you should become familiar with the benefits and limitations of enabling parental controls. You may also wish to consider Circle for managing your child’s internet use at home.

Digital Citizenship is woven throughout the Middle School curriculum. Drawing from Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship curriculum as well as other resources, it addresses the hazards of connected culture and also offers healthy strategies for students to manage their digital lives. In addition to classroom materials, Common Sense Media offers a wealth of resources around parenting in the digital age.