This year’s global supply chain issues have caused higher prices, longer online delivery times, and less availability, which affect everything from clothing to gasoline. At M-A, providing new Chromebooks to incoming freshmen was yet another process inhibited by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and severe lockdowns in parts of Asia. Despite these setbacks, M-A has provided hundreds of computers to the class of 2026, and only a couple of months later than expected.
According to M-A’s Technology Coordinator John Giambruno, this year’s original Chromebook distribution plan was to have brand-new Chromebooks to every freshman who wanted one. When freshmen pick up Chromebooks, they commence a four-year loan and are able to keep the same computer throughout high school. Unfortunately, the order was delayed and freshmen were provided with two to three-year-old computers at the start of the year. Giambrono described that, “we haven’t had a massive delay like that in a very long time. The only time we suffered a delay like this was right when COVID happened.” The Chromebooks arrived in mid-September and were ready for distribution in October after installment of security features and SUHSD programs. M-A’s Administration and Technology Department decided to swap the older temporary Chromebooks for the new Chromebooks during Challenge Day (October 26-28). Any freshman that wanted to swap their old Chromebook for a newer one was able to as long as they turned in their old Chromebook or verified that it was lost or broken. Giambruno, who was in charge of the swap, reported that almost every ninth grade student in need of a new Chromebook was able to get one, and that “some Chromebooks didn’t get exchange because the kids forgot to bring them on exchange day. Last I checked two weeks ago, we only had about 60 left to swap out of 500.”
The use of 1:1 devices (1 device:1 student) is a growing trend among high schools across the state, especially due to the need for computers during distance learning. Schools in Los Angeles attempted to implement the 1:1 program prior to the pandemic, but the upkeep of hundreds of computers overwhelmed schools’ Information Technology (IT) departments, and there were numerous setbacks to the program. M-A also considered providing computers for every single student prior to the pandemic, but decided against it. Giambruno described that the reasoning behind this was, “we like teachers having control of the tech in their classrooms”, and because “it stresses the IT department and we want kids to have consistent access to curriculum.” M-A implemented 1:1 Chromebooks due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, so that all students could participate in distance learning. The program has remained in case of future shutdowns and because online learning through platforms including Canvas, Peardeck, and Edpuzzle has become inherent to curriculum in many M-A courses.
The ideal life cycle of an M-A Chromebook is as follows: every freshman that wants or needs one receives a brand new Chromebook—set up by the District over the summer—in the first days of school, and keeps it for as much of high school as they please. After a given class graduates, their batch of Chromebooks end up in classroom cupboards and computer carts throughout the school for one more year. Five years of use mark the end of a Chromebook’s life at M-A, as security and privacy features wear off and the computer is no longer usable for standardized testing. At this point, the District collects the Chromebooks and they are resold or used for different purposes—typically, computers are not simply sent to the landfill.
Upperclassmen and sophomores do not have the option to formally swap in their older Chromebooks for new Chromebooks from this particular brand-new shipment. If a student chooses to get a Chromebook from the media center more than a year into their high school career, it is possible that they could be assigned either an old or a new Chromebook; only freshmen are guaranteed new Chromebooks.
Procuring new Chromebooks for the class of 2026 is a feat worthy of celebration, and the work of M-A’s technology staff, including Giambruno and Technology Site Manager Hugo Reyes, has provided the option for every single member of the class of 2026 to have a new and functional computer for all of high school.