Dear SSIS Parents of Grade 3 and 4 Students:
Last year we shared with our community our Board-approved plan to move SSIS, over the next three years, from a multi-platform school (using Apple, Linux, and Windows computers) to a single platform Apple School. We are currently in the first year of this initiative with the complete replacement of computers in our elementary school and we are looking forward to further changes to our elementary school technology base this spring and summer. As we move into the first major holiday week of the year this October, though, we want to take this opportunity to remind you of this change and the implications for your son or daughter next year.
After much careful planning with our Grade 4 and Grade 5 teachers, and a review of our infrastructure, we have made our determination: Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, all Grade 4 and Grade 5 students will be required to bring a Macintosh laptop to school each day.
Parents who will purchase a computer for their child, or upgrade a Macintosh laptop they already own, should be aware of this decision. While this comes at a cost to all of us with children in these grades, we believe that it is necessary to equip our students now, and for the future, with common tools. As we move toward student-supplied Macintosh laptops, we will eliminate the current technology fee of USD $250/year for students now using the school-provided netbooks.
Any new Macintosh laptop will satisfy SSIS network and classroom requirements. Any used Macintosh laptop purchased after 2009 will be able to support the necessary software requirements for SSIS elementary and middle school students.
We have already replaced the computers in the Elementary School lab with Apple computers and these are playing an important role in our approaches to learning. We see benefits in targeting traditional academic skills (reading, writing and numeracy), as well as innovative ways to enrich and expand our curriculum. The establishment of a common platform through the school will allow us to better support student-owned technology towards the important goal of encouraging students to become the creators and masters of digital content.
We look forward to sharing more with you this year on this important step for SSIS.
Mark Iver Sylte
Head of School
Saigon South International School