I am concerned that my child will abuse the Internet and/or be targeted by a predator.

While connected to the Internet from School your student must pass through our Firewall which includes Internet Filtering, Monitoring and Site Blocking. Although it is not 100% fool-proof, it does an excellent job of keeping the internet safe for the majority of students. CUSD can NOT Monitor, Filter or Block Internet sites when the computer is connected to the Internet at home. CUSD can NOT monitor and review each student’s activity, nor can it block every loop-hole that a creative and tech-savvy student might be able to find. If you are concerned about your child’s activity on the Internet at Home and/or at School, you can purchase “eBlaster” by contacting Laptop Schools online at http://www.laptopschools.com or call them at 866.708.2873 (CUSD). eBlaster sends a daily e-mail of your child’s activity on the Internet, included Time Spent at each site, E-mail, Instant Messaging, Words Typed, Sites Visited and more.

Is AAAL about learning computer skills?

While learning to use their laptop efficiently is an important part of AAAL, it is not the primary reason for the laptop program. The computer is simply a tool for learning the content of the class. In fact, there is surprisingly little time devoted to learning computer skills in an AAAL class. As students master the skills very quickly and learn from each other, the teacher does not need to spend a great deal of time on direct instruction of computer skills.  A Laptop Camp for Beginners is offered each summer for students wanting to get a jump on learning about their new laptops. This year, the Camp will be held at Buchanan High School—August 3rd-6th with a morning session (8:30-11:00) and an afternoon session (12:30-3:00) to choose from.  The cost is $70. Click here for a registration form or to register online. The deadline to register for the camp is July 9th.

How important is it that my child learns to keyboard efficiently?

While efficiency at using the keyboard is an important skill, the sort of blind-typing that is taught in keyboarding is not critical. Keyboarding is focused on working from a separate text. To be efficient, the typist can not afford to view the keys while typing. Laptop students almost never enter from a separate text, but usually are composing directly on the laptop. Even with no direct instruction in traditional keyboarding skills, laptop students become very efficient at entering text into their laptop, although sometimes in an unorthodox fashion. Learning to keyboard using the old rules can be a useful skill, but there is no need to get worried if students aren’t keyboarding “properly.”

Will a laptop make my child a better student?

The AAAL program is very effective at engaging students in the learning process, and has a large number of success stories to report. It is, however, not a cure-all, and there is no guarantee that every child will become a better student just by using a laptop.

Are we required to have Internet access at home?

Over the years that the AAAL program has been in existence, the Web has become an increasingly important part of the program’s success. Web-based instruction is rapidly becoming the cornerstone of most AAAL teachers. While not absolutely necessary, Internet access at home can be a tremendous asset to the student.

We have a wireless network set up at home, how do we get our AAAL ThinkPad bundle to work on our home network?

The District will make sure your student’s laptop is configured for the District’s wireless network.  It is the family’s responsibility to connect their student’s laptop to their own home network as the settings for each home wireless network vary and are often unique to the manufacturer.  If you purchase a ThinkPad, your laptop will come pre-set for accessing the District’s wireless network.

We have a desktop computer at home. Isn’t that just as good?

While a desktop computer at home can certainly be an asset, the AAAL program is focused on the benefits students receive from having a personal information access tool which enables anytime anywhere learning. It’s not just about having access to a computer; it’s about having a computer available whenever you need it to assist your learning. AAAL parents frequently report that even in situations where there is a desktop computer at home, students use their laptop more and in different ways than they used the desktop computer before.

Why should I purchase an AAAL ThinkPad bundle?

All CUSD ThinkPad bundles come with Accidental Damage Protection and an extended parts and labor warranty from the manufacturer. With these two programs, there will be no additional costs for repairs, no matter what the cause – unless your machine is lost, stolen, or there is a problem with the battery after the first year. Additionally, the new ThinkPads will come with many of the software applications your student will need, pre-installed at no extra charge. Because CUSD creates the software package in-house, the laptop will arrive free of bloatware that can affect its functionality. It will also include Windows Defender Anti-Virus. For details and specific models and prices please go to: http://www.laptopschools.com/.

What do I need to do if my student’s machine isn’t working properly?

If you have purchased a ThinkPad bundle from http://www.laptopschools.com/. If it is a software problem, the student can take it to their school site where one of the District Techs will take a look at the machine and determine whether the machine has software or hardware needs. If it is a hardware problem, you simply take the machine to the District’s “Technology Service Center” located behind the District Office at 1542 David E. Cook Way.  Your machine will be fixed as quickly as possible and you will receive a “loaner ThinkPad” for your student to use during the repair period. Please note that the Technology Service Center is open all year long, and student laptops can be serviced there for any issue.

If you did not purchase your machine through http://www.laptopschools.com/ you will need to diagnose the problem yourself or take it back to your reseller where they will perform the service for a fee.  The District Site Techs are not authorized to reload your software nor repair any hardware problems on machines other than ThinkPads purchased through the program. Also, if you need a loaner machine during the repair period, you will need to make those arrangements with your reseller, as well.

What if I don’t want to purchase an AAAL bundle?

Participation in the program is not dependent on purchasing the AAAL Bundle from LaptopSchools.com. There are minimum requirements posted at http://www.cusd.com/laptop/specs that must be met.

Isn’t the cost pretty high to get into the program?

While it certainly is a serious financial commitment, a case can be made that, given the benefits for the students, that a laptop is pretty affordable. For example, using a purchase price of $749 with a $200 down payment and 24 month financing, works out to $25.00 per month, less than the cost of taking a family of four to the movie on Saturday night and buying popcorn. For families who choose not to purchase a laptop for their child, some older, in-class loaner laptops are available for use in the Academic Block class. These laptops may not be removed from the classroom to be used in other classes or taken home.

Can we have our young daughter use her older brother’s laptop?

Yes. Laptops are frequently passed down to younger siblings in this way. It is recommended that you use laptops that are no more than 4 or 5 years old and, if available, have an extended warranty from the manufacturer.

How long will the laptop that we buy last?

A laptop, if properly cared for will probably continue to run the software it came with just as well in 5, 10, or even 15 years as it does today. So as long as your needs don’t change, the laptop you purchase today will be fine well into the future. Many of us, however, find that as new software and equipment become available, we become convinced that our needs have changed. If your needs change you may want to look at buying a newer computer, but if not, the laptop you buy now will work great for a long while.  Realistically, a laptop should easily last 3-5 years.

I have a copy of Microsoft Office at work. Can I install that on my child’s computer and save a little money?

No, that is a violation of the copyright agreement that you (or your company) agreed to when the copy of Office was purchased. Those licensing agreements typically give you permission to install the software on just one computer. The Clovis Unified School District believes that it is important to abide by all copyright laws, and discourages students and parents from illegally pirating software. However, you can download a FREE copy of the latest version of Microsoft Office for your student. CLICK HERE: Download the latest version of Microsoft Office for FREE (for CUSD students only)

Should I purchase an extended warranty?

The AAAL Bundles for 2015-16 include at least a 2-Year Parts and Labor Warranty and 2 Years of ThinkPad Protection for damage. Laptopschools.com offers an optional 3rd and 4th year extension of both the Warranty and the damage protection programs. If you purchase a machine other than a “CUSD AAAL Bundle” it is recommended that you purchase a 3-year or 4-year warranty from the manufacturer as well as damage insurance coverage. If you choose not to purchase an AAAL Bundle, you might want to check into theft and damage insurance fromhttps://my.worthavegroup.com/laptopschools.

Our family cannot afford to purchase a new laptop, what are our options?

To make the laptops more affordable we have partnered with the Educational Employees Credit Union for 3 year loans. If you purchase the “Value” Bundle with a case and theft insurance via a 3 year loan, the payments are estimated at about $50 per month. There are also a limited number of older, in-class loaner computers available at each middle school site.

What about insurance?

The CUSD AAAL Bundles include 1-4 years of ThinkPad Protection accidental damage insurance – this does NOT cover Theft or Loss of the ThinkPad. LaptopSchools.com offers theft insurance for $40 per year with a $100 deductible. Most homeowner’s insurance covers theft from the home, and most auto insurance covers theft from the car however, there is normally a deductible. It is recommended that you check with your homeowner’s insurance company to verify that Theft or Loss will be covered if it occurs outside of the home and check your current deductible. If you purchase a machine other than a “CUSD AAAL Bundle” it is recommended that you check with your insurance company and/or purchase a policy from https://my.worthavegroup.com/laptopschools.