Our Technology Department exists to support all aspects of technology in the school, particularly within the classroom, and in support of the Learning Support program. Every decision about technology is tested with two questions:
- How does this help the student and teacher?
- Does this hinder the student and/or teacher?
Since becoming a one-to-one laptop program, with personal computers in the upper school and classroom computers in the middle school, the goal has always been to integrate technology into the overall experience and culture in developmentally appropriate ways. The objective is to simultaneously prepare students for a life where basic computer literacy is a baseline competency and to use the technology to supercharge the existing Culture of Performance permeating our curriculum.
In the Middle School, classroom sets of Chromebooks are provided in each classroom. Students use the classrooms sets of computers during the day. Students perform academic work using Google Apps for Education. This allows students to switch from laptop to laptop during the day and have all of their classroom work follow them through their account. At home, students can access all of the same software services provided within the school from any type of computer with Internet access and a browser.
Upper School students bring a student-owned laptop to school. Typically, families purchase a laptop through SAAS in the summer before 9th grade through the school. About 80% to 90% of 9th grade families purchase through the school. These laptops come with a four year accident protection and software preloaded, as well as on site repair.
Families may opt to purchase computers from outside SAAS. For example, several students choose to use Apple computers. While the school technology staff is always available to help students with software issues on such machines, physical damage and repair is handled by the family.
Each member of the Technology Department team is connected to the students, the faculty, and classroom experience. We are the go-to people for technology support and advice, but we also help lead student trips nationally and internationally, function as academic advisors to students, advise student clubs, coach sports, participate in teaching classroom subjects, and provide informal mentoring to students. This is what makes our Technology Department different; we are much more than an ‘Information Technology Department.’ Without that difference, we could not support technology at Seattle Academy; like the students, we embody the Culture of Performance.
- Can I use my cell phone during the day?
- Can I bring my own computer to school?
- I’m concerned about my student playing video games. How do you decide what they can play at school in the computer lab?
- Can I check my students grades through Schoology?
All personal technology - personal laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. - must be put away upon arriving to school, and cannot be used until 3:01 p.m. Students may bring/use personal tech if it has been cleared with a teacher and/or administration. Students who need to phone home may use the front office phone.
We have to approve every game installed in our computer lab through entering an administrator password. We have a list of guidelines we use to make sure a game is school-appropriate. If any game becomes very popular to the point of making an impact on classes or negative social behavior, we reserve the right to remove that game and discontinue its play in the computer lab. We are happy to talk to anyone who has further questions.
It is SAAS policy that parents are not given outright access to their students’ grades in Schoology. We believe it is important that student and parent open that dialog and establish a plan for sharing such information.
Midterm and final grades, however, may be viewed through MyBackpack. For assistance with MyBackpack, contact Tech Staff.
- I purchased my computer outside of SAAS - Apple store, Best Buy, Amazon, etc. - and it’s not working. Can SAAS Technology still look at it?
Technology Department team members are always available to help with software and peripheral-hardware issues for devices purchased outside of SAAS, any physical damage repair will need to be handled by outside help as those devices are not covered by the warranty offered on devices purchased through SAAS.
The Technology Department will do its best to provide students with a loaner device for a short period of time if a student experiences total failure of a device, regardless of where that device was purchased.