CCS is moving to Chromebooks for our Middle School lab and for all incoming 9th and 10th graders. 11th-12th grades will be phased in during the coming years. Instead of requiring parents to supply a laptop for each student, we will purchase a Chromebook for each student, configure it for our network, and let the families purchase the Chromebook from us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Chromebook?
A: A Chromebook is a small laptop that runs a special lightweight operating system (Chrome OS). For more information, click here.
Q: Why are you moving to Chromebooks instead of Macbooks?
A: Our current Macbook lab is 5 years old, and the Macbooks are worn out. The batteries are failing, the cases are falling apart, keyboards are missing keys, etc. To replace them would be cost prohibitive, as Apple no longer makes the school-friendly Macbooks we have. The smallest, cheapest Macbook starts at $850. The Chromebooks we are looking at run about $350. With the Chromebooks, we will be able to lock them down to protect our students, keep them updated automatically, and create a consistent platform that everyone can use and collaborate together easily. For the high schoolers who have had to purchase their own laptops in the past, this is a great deal.
Q: Are the Chromebooks required?
A: For incoming 9th through 11th graders, yes. For 12th graders, we will still offer them for purchase, but not require them, as most have already purchased laptops. If your device is encountering problems or is worn out, we will encourage the purchase of a Chromebook. We feel that it not only offers the best value for CCS families, but will also allow all students to have a consistent, safe, and user-friendly machine. NOTE: Next year, the program will include all 12th graders as well.
Q: How much will this cost me?
A: The Chromebooks cost us about $350. You can pay that as a one-time fee, or we can set up a 10 or 12 month payment plan to keep the monthly cost at around $30-$35. After the first year, there is no charge, as you would fully own the device! One of the biggest selling points for these Chromebooks is the price. Compare that to paying $800-$1000 (or more) for a student laptop, and you will see why we are so excited to be offering this plan to our families!
Q: Can the students bring the Chromebooks home?
A: Yes! You will own the device and the student is free to carry it home to work. All they will need is access to the internet, and they can work from anywhere. (Note: Middle schoolers will have access to the Chromebooks in the lab, but will not be taking them home.)
Q: Will the Chromebooks only work when you have internet access?
A: While the apps are designed to be used while online, many of them also have an offline mode. You can always create new documents and edit your existing ones while offline. You just won't be able to send/receive e-mail or download anything new until you can get online (the same as a regular laptop, basically).
Q: Will my student need an e-mail address?
A: As part of this program, your student will be given a unique school-only e-mail address that we will assign and monitor.
Q: How is this safer than before?
A: With the Chromebooks, we have the ability to lock down the machine so that the students cannot access many of the "blacklisted" sites on the internet. This blacklist contains about 3.7 million sites, but is in no way comprehensive. You will still need to exercise good judgement in allowing your student to browse the internet. We have a very secure internet system here at CCS, and as long as they are on campus, they won't be able to access a website we have not already approved. UPDATE: We are now using a software package that will also protect students while off campus. Parents will still need to help the students develop good internet usage practices, but our software is an industry-leading package that not only filters their internet exposure, but notifies us immediately for any sites that are even a little questionable.
Q: What if I already have a Chromebook? Can my student just bring that?
A: Yes, but we will need to license it for our domain, which means buying a license, reloading the Chromebook operating system, and configuring it to only allow "CCS-Students" logins. In other words, you won't be able to login to the Chromebook with a non-CCS e-mail address. If that is OK, you are welcome to have your student bring in the Chromebook. There will be a fee of $50, as we would need to purchase a separate license from Google to be able to do this. The license purchase process takes about a week. (Please let us know about this as early as possible to prevent any delays in getting it set up.)
Q: What about extra software? Do I need to buy Microsoft Office, a virus suite, etc?
A: No additional software is needed. The devices will come with Office functionality built in, using Google Docs. And we will pre-install all of the educational apps that the students need.
Have other questions about the Chromebook program?