Laptops Coming to All West Po Students via FCPS 1-to-1 Initiative


Hopefully next year’s computers beat this years!

Every West Po student will be issued their own computer, a Dell X33CT with an Intel i3 core and 4GB, for school as a part of Fairfax County Public School’s (FCPS) 1-to-1 initiative to fulfill all student academic technology needs. Beginning August 1, West Potomac students will be able to go to the Auxiliary Gym to check out their personal computers for the 2019-2020 school year, after FCPS bills each student an annual $50 fee on their account and billing free-and-reduced lunch students $25, according to Ms. Emily Millians, West Po’s Dean of Instruction.

Students will be expected to bring the computers each day and charge them at home each night. “The thing I’ve heard that I’m most excited about is the battery life is supposed to be 14 hours. So, if you charge it up overnight, it should last the whole next day,” Millians said. In addition to the specs of the laptop, students will also be receiving a charger and sleeve. Millians, commenting on the screens of the laptop, added “They’ve also got better screen protection, and they have built some extra structure into them.”  Millians is excited for the 1-to-1 program as it may help students become more organized and teachers as well, she said.

Mrs. Kaitlin Sheppard, a math teacher at West Potomac, says “I’m excited for students to have the opportunities to have more access to technology. I know personally when I was in high school everyone was assigned a laptop and I felt more prepared with having the computers, especially going into college.”

In addition, students also are looking forward to the change. Garrett Argenteri, a 10th grader at West Potomac, says, “I think it’s helpful for the students, and it can be beneficial because not everyone has access to that technology. It makes it so you can have access at all times which is something not everyone had before.”

There are also a few safety precautions that come with the laptops. Ms. Sejal Parekh, technology support specialist, reminds students, “The sleeve is meant to protect the laptop from messy backpacks. Definitely use a sleeve when placing the laptop in a backpack to avoid cracked monitor screens.” In addition to that, Parekh advises, “Students will need to restart laptops multiple times a day to keep virus protection up to date, and avoid bugs and other viruses.”

If a student’s laptop is damaged, they can have it repaired for free by the county, and there will also be a Student Tech Team organized to fix minor hardware and/or software issues, according to Millians. The Tech Team office will be located in Rooms 131 and 144 according to Ms. Janet Babic, the School-based Technology Specialist. If there is a bigger issue which would take time to fix, students will be given a loaner laptop; however, students will not be given a loaner if they simply forgot their laptop, according to Millians. In any situation in which the laptop is lost or stolen, the student is obligated to pay the $380 replacement fee Millians says. Mrs. Millians recommends not to loan your laptop to friends or anyone else due to the risk of them losing it.

“If a charger is lost, there is going to be a $35 fee that must be paid. Students will keep the laptops until the end of the year, where they will return them to the Auxiliary gym, Parekh said. If you have any questions, email Babic at [email protected].