Middle School Laptop Program
What’s Required in Middle School?
For the 2021-22 school year,
6th, 7th, and 8th graders will need to have an Apple MacBook Air or Pro laptop with MacOS 10.15 (“Catalina”) or newer. We recommend the 13-inch MacBook Air with at least 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
- Remember to take advantage of educational discounts at retailers including the Apple Store, Best Buy, and others.
- Students in computer science, music, and other classes will frequently use Mac-only apps and features such as GarageBand, iMovie, and AirDrop, which is why Windows laptops or Chromebooks will unfortunately not suffice in the Middle School.
In addition to the device itself, students will need:
- A protective case.
- Earphones with a microphone (such as the earbuds supplied with an iPhone or Airpods). Some teachers require them for class activities such as watching and recording videos. We recommend headphones with active noise cancellation technology to be used on Zoom calls, at home, or in study spaces around campus, but they’re not required. Based on positive experience, we can recommend Sony WH-1000XM4, Bose 700, and Apple Airpods Pro.
- An Apple ID. We highly recommend students use their own Apple ID rather than sharing one with their parents. You can create and manage your child’s Apple ID using the convenient Family Sharing program.
- A backup plan. Because students do most of their schoolwork in the cloud through Google’s G Suite for Education, backing up devices is less important than it used to be. If you want to back up the device, however, we recommend Apple’s Time Machine.
- Insurance (highly recommended): when you buy a new laptop, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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
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.
The Tech Department provides basic software and hardware support for students’ laptops 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.