Why school districts aren’t asking for all of their laptops back

Seattle Public Schools has loaned laptops out until the end of next school year
By: | May 29, 2020
Educators at Stockon USD in California distributed 25,000 Chromebooks when schools closed in March.Educators at Stockon USD in California distributed 25,000 Chromebooks when schools closed in March.

The annual tracking of laptops and other ed-tech assets has been disrupted this year as district leaders try to ensure students can continue online learning with adequate instructional technology this summer and beyond.

At Seattle Public Schools, the process of asset tracking this year has mainly focused on graduating seniors who will be leaving the district, say Darcy Brixey, the manager of Library Services & Instructional Materials, and Angie DeBoo, senior network analyst.

The district has waived fees for borrowing laptops, which all other Seattle students can keep until the end of next school year.

“We don’t know what school is going to look like in the fall,” DeBoo says.

The district expects between 20,000 and 30,000 students may participate in remote summer school.


More from DAWhat schools can do to protect against rising cybersecurity threats


The district has even set up a no-contact process for seniors, who can return laptops when they pick up caps and gowns.

Computer stations have been set up six feet apart at school buildings so students can safely use a barcode scanner to check-in laptops.

A librarian nearby is monitoring the stations via Zoom to ensure students complete the process correctly.

Anticipating ed-tech losses

In California, Stockon USD educators are focused on getting Chromebooks back from seniors and eighth-graders, District Librarian Mary Ann Pafford says.

Educators at Stockton USD, which only had a 1-to-1 program in classrooms, worked quickly to get devices to students for online learning.

Educators at Stockton USD, which only had a 1-to-1 program in classrooms, worked quickly to get devices to students for online learning.

Seniors will graduate but won’t receive their diplomas until they return laptops and library books. Other students will keep Chromebooks so they can participate in extended school-year summer classes.


More from DA: How wide will classroom skills gaps get by fall 2020?


The district is 1-to-1 in classrooms but hadn’t sent devices home before. Educators had to disassemble hundreds of Chromebook carts in the process of distributing 25,000 laptops to students over 10 days.

Stockon USD also purchased new software—Destiny Resource Manager—to keep track of the Chromebooks.

The district’s priority was to ensure that all students had the devices they needed for online learning. Still, educators don’t know what condition the laptops will be in when they are eventually returned, Pafford says.

“We are concerned about loss,” Pafford says. “We went on spring break and never came back so teachers didn’t get a chance to promote to students the idea of taking care of Chromebooks.”


DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.


Interested in edtech? Keep up with DA's Future of Education Technology Conference®.