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May 17, 2019

Dear Incoming MBMS 6th Grade Parent,

The move to middle school is an exciting time for our 5th graders. Many growth opportunities await them, one of which is the use of a dedicated Chromebook in class and at home. A significant portion of our incoming 6th grade class has already been using Chromebooks in class, so they will come in ready to go.
As 6th graders, our students will use these devices to organize classroom assignments, complete and store homework, conduct research and so much more. Our Board of Trustees recently voted to make the move away from iPads and to Chromebooks for next year’s 6th grade class. Some of the main reasons for the switch to the Chromebooks were:
  • Better restrictions and controls for parents and teachers
  • Lower cost than iPads
  • Dramatic improvements in Chromebook quality in recent years
  • Built-in keyboard
  • More compatible with state and district software and security systems
  • More likely to be used in high school than an iPad

The 2019-20 school year will be an exciting time for MBMS. When your child comes to MBMS this fall, he or she will be part of a technology-enhanced curriculum that has received local, state and national recognition. In a recent survey, 81% of MBMS parents reported that their child’s experience with technology at school has been positive or very positive. And while we want our teachers to have a nice mixture of non-technology teaching (good old fashioned speaking and listening will never go out of style!), we have had many years to learn how to best utilize technology in the classroom. Your child will be the beneficiary of that experience and will also get the opportunity to benefit from the transition to the Chromebook, which we see as the next step in the evolution of our program.

The purpose of this letter is to explain the options for obtaining a Chromebook for your student for the 2019-2020 school year, and to share some key next steps. The iPad program was made possible because over 70% of MBMS parents expressed willingness to lease, purchase, or use an iPad that they already owned for their child. We hope we will see a similar ratio this year as we implement our new Chromebook program. I am so appreciative of being in a community where parents and businesses are so supportive of schools.

Your child will learn how to use Google Classroom, Google Docs, Internet safety, digital citizenship, and other Chromebook basics in their Humanities classes. We will also provide a parent workshop at the beginning of next school year to provide you with an opportunity to learn about Chromebooks, their management, and some of the ways they will be used in your student’s classroom.

Ways to Obtain a Chromebook

Below you will find two options for obtaining a Chromebook: Option A is for families to provide their own Chromebook for their child. Option B is for families to utilize a Chromebook provided by the school.

Option A : Parents can buy a Chromebook or can use a Chromebook that they already own. Again, this has been the primary choice of our parents in the past, and we are very appreciative. Like so many of our programs, this program could not exist without parent support.

  • We recommend the 2nd generation Lenovo 300e. The District has obtained per-unit pricing of $275.00 (including tax and shipping) and is able to purchase a device on behalf of parents at cost. If you choose to buy through MBUSD, payment information will be sent to you shortly.

  • If you choose to purchase a device directly on your own, you can choose the Lenovo 300e or a different model. The device should be a 2018 model or later, with the following features:
  • Touch screen
  • A screen size of at least 11.6”
  • Front-facing camera

Parents who purchase independently or through MBUSD will need to turn in their devices to the District in order to have the devices set up by MBUSD with protocols that allow for more powerful filtering, that provide all apps used by MBMS teachers, and that allow the school to use the device for testing in a secure manner. If purchased through MBUSD, all of this will be taken care of by the District prior to supplying the device to your student at the start of the school year. If parents are purchasing independently, the District will request that the device be turned in to the District Office; the device will be set up over the summer and returned to the student at the start of the school year (details will be sent to those purchasing their own Chromebook). While I think most parents will appreciate the restrictions and the school-provided applications, parents will have the option to have the District remove these restrictions and applications during the summer.

Option B: Parents may borrow a Chromebook for their child from the MBMS library. This loan will be treated just like a textbook loan. It is free of charge, but, like a textbook, if the Chromebook is lost or damaged, the student is responsible for the cost. Parents may want to consider an optional repair program. Students are required to turn borrowed Chromebooks in at the end of the school year and are not permitted to keep them over the summer. Students will not be able to take borrowed Chromebooks to the high school once they go to 9th grade. Over the summer, the District will perform annual software maintenance updates. Each fall, students will be issued the same Chromebook they utilized the previous year, unless the Chromebook is found to be irreparably damaged, in which case parents will be billed for replacement and a different Chromebook issued the following year. At the end of this letter, there is a link where parents can let us know that they will be borrowing a Chromebook.

Repair Programs

  • Insurance is available from a number of independent insurance companies, including many that can be found online. It is recommended that parents research multiple options and review each policy in detail before selecting a coverage option. Various policies cover different types of damage and can be purchased for different amounts of time. Insurance may be purchased for personally owned devices only; it cannot be purchased for District-owned devices.
  • District Repair Program: Parents are responsible for damages (beyond normal wear and tear) to all MBUSD-owned textbooks and devices. Parents may elect to pay $55 to enroll in the district repair program, which will cover up to $250 in damage repair or replacement costs for District-owned devices. This option is not available for personally owned devices.

I am asking all parents to please go to the link below to make your choices for Chromebooks. We would appreciate your response before May 31, 2019.

If you have any questions about any aspect of this program, please email mbmschromebooks@mbusd.org and Dr. Matthews or I will get back to you.

Thank you, and we look forward to an amazing year when your student joins MBMS next fall!
Ahrens signature
Rose Ahrens
Principal, Manhattan Beach Middle School
1501 N. Redondo Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310)545-4878, x3000
[310-318-7345, x5902]  [mmathews@mbusd.org]  [www.mbusd.org]