Participate in the Employee Laptop Program?

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This article is...
Summary.png This program exists to encourage and empower creative education and more flexible computing.
IntendedES.png Intended for
Employees and Students
Categories.png Categorized under
MR.jpg Maintained by
Matt Ringh
2018-2019.png Up-to-date for the 2018-2019 school year.

You only need to request a new laptop if we've NOT contacted you about this already. If we said you're getting one, you're all set.

This program exists to encourage and empower creative education and more flexible computing. Self-managed laptops empower our teachers to incorporate new ideas and methods of teaching and learning as quickly as they discover them, and empower our administrators to untether themselves from their desks. And while the Tech Department can provide high reliability and availability on centrally managed computers, we can also be a bottleneck to productivity and creativity while our employees wait for software to be tested and installed.

Moreover, using their own laptops allows teachers to prep lessons (potentially their whole day) outside of class, then just plug in when they get to a classroom. And it allows administrators to take laptops to meetings. This is a wonderful thing for anyone who works anywhere other than a single desk.

The terms of the program are described in full below. Please read all aspects carefully before applying. A link to the application is at the bottom of this article.


Are you a Riverdale teacher, part or full time? You need a laptop, tablet computer, or other mobile device for classroom use -- for attendance, projection, interactivity, or anything else you do with a computer in a classroom.

Are you an administrator or administrative staff? In many cases you can choose to use either a self-managed laptop or an RCS-managed desktop.

We're sorry but we do not currently provide laptops to members of Finance, Development, Security, Maintenance, Food Services, Housekeeping, Grounds, Coaches, or other staff positions.

Available models

  Model    Operating system
ChromeBook* Lenovo 500e (81ES) Chrome OS
Mac laptop* MacBook Air macOS
PC laptop* Dell XPS-13 256 GB Windows
  • Exact specifications will vary depending on availability at time of purchase. Full details and models are available in the sign-up form.

Riverdale will pay for the base-level models of the above. In certain cases, when required for curricular work, Riverdale will pay for upgrades to these computers. Unfortunately you cannot pay for your own upgrades (e.g. if you want a faster computer but it is not required for your work) due to ownership and tax implications.

Ownership and financial responsibility

A few of our faculty laptops are insured against manufacturing defects and accidental damage (including water and breakage). Some are warranted by AppleCare. The rest are not. Your financial obligations are as follows:

spring 2015 +   your obligation
Initial cost of laptop $0
Insurance cost $0
Software provided by school $0
Ownership of laptop RCS owns it
Warranty repair/replacement of laptop or peripherals     $0
Repair/replacement of laptop due to drop/damage/liquid spill     $0 *
Replacement of laptop or peripherals due to theft (if you have a police report and have proper security measures installed) $0 **
Replacement of laptop or peripherals due to theft or loss (with no police report and/or no security measures installed) $0 *

* we expect a laptop to last 4-5 years, so replacement or repair of your laptop during that time will be capped at the cost of a new laptop; if you cost us more during that period you will be issued an older laptop instead of a new one

** we require that you have Find My Mac or another tracking software installed and operational at all times. Go here for information on installing tracking software."

Repeated cases of damage or replacement may result in termination of participation in this program, in which case you would have to bring your own laptop.

The laptop is Riverdale’s property and must be returned if you are no longer employed by the school (you may keep it while on leave or sabbatical). While participating in this program, you must maintain possession of the laptop and are expected to use it at school and home regularly as part of your work.

After about four years, Riverdale may offer you the option to re-enroll in this program. At this point your laptop will be replaced with a new model. Participants who remain in good standing in this program can expect to successfully re-enroll.

Other responsibilities

You must follow our advice to "Secure, and prevent a catastrophe, with your laptop, ChromeBook, and phone", on every RCS-issued device.

You must bring in your device for physical inventory at least once each year as part of Riverdale’s standard audits of technology equipment. We'll let you know when to do that, don't worry.

Self-management, maintenance and technical support

Employee laptops are self-managed. This means you install your own software; you troubleshoot when things go wrong (with our help, if needed); you call for warranty or insurance repairs; and basically you treat this as if you'd purchased it for home use.

  School    Recipient
Initial setup all
Additional software installation all
Ongoing software maintenance all
Warranty arrangements partial partial
Insurance arrangements partial partial
Expedited shipping costs all*
Data recovery costs all**

* standard shipping is covered by warranty/insurance provider; expedited shipping will get your laptop repaired faster; since you'll have a loaner it shouldn't be necessary to expedite

** since you'll be backing up your laptop regularly and following our protocols, there shouldn't be any need for forensic data recovery; if there is, you'll need to pay for it

One purpose of this program is to empower its participants. Riverdale’s technology staff will provide initial training for all participants. Best practices in maintenance will be taught and encouraged. Riverdale’s technicians will consult on how to resolve technical problems, and can walk you through them at a help desk or by appointment. In most cases Riverdale will not perform technical support, maintenance, or repair of these laptops. Those things are up to you.

Riverdale will provide a loaner laptop to an employee whose laptop requires repair or replacement. It is the employee's responsibility to pack, send, and track their own laptop, as well as to set up the loaner for use.

Depending on his/her level of existing computer knowledge, a participant may be required to attend one week of professional development during the Summer Technology Institute as a condition of participation. This week will not be stipended.

Warranty and insurance information

Here's what you should do if you encounter a problem:

  1. First: submit a tech support request with a description of the problem or come to our helpdesk. We'll help you determine how to proceed.
  2. If it's a manufacturer's warranty issue:
  3. If it's an insurance issue:
    • After you submit a tech support request, the Tech Department will initiate the claim and hand it off to you once you can send in your laptop. But here's their contact number, just in case: 800-620-2885.

When are laptops handed out?

Laptops for new employees are sent out in the summer (for Administration or if programmatically necessary for Faculty) or can be picked up at RCS in person.

Laptops for current employees are typically upgraded in June or August. But if you don't already have one, or if you need an early upgrade, submit the form via the link at bottom and we'll get one to you as soon as we can.


Riverdale is committed to providing introductory training directly to program participants.

Participants may attend one or both days of Riverdale's Laptop Bootcamp sessions, during which they set up their laptop and learn about RCS systems. Subsequent training is provided in training sessions and through Lynda at Riverdale's cost. Additional training can be purchased by the participant from a vendor if desired.

Please note: Riverdale cannot support long-term personal training or in-depth support for laptop recipients. Our goal is to empower our teachers to self-manage their laptops. Riverdale Tech Department members will provide ongoing consultation services, but substantial technical support from us will not be possible.

Getting Started Site

We have created a website that will help you get started with your Riverdale account and the common systems we use. If you are new to Riverdale, this is a great place to start.

Laptop Bootcamp

These sessions are intended to quickly review basic laptop setup, then introduce you to effective ways of working and teaching with your laptop. This summer, Bootcamp will be offered on 2 dates: August 21, from 9:00 - 2:00, and then again on August 22, 9:00 - 2:00. You can sign up for either or both days here.

Tech Helpdesk

Got questions? We've got answers. Come to our Tech Helpdesk or call x50 and see if they match.

Curricular integration

Riverdale expects its investment in laptops to enhance integration of technology into the curriculum. Participants are expected to develop curricular materials or plans to initiate or improve integration of technology in their teaching. To support their implementation, participants are expected to meet with RCS technology coordinators several times yearly while enrolled in this program.

Connecting to Riverdale’s resources

High-speed wireless access is available throughout both campuses. For security reasons employee laptops must operate wirelessly at Riverdale; no wired connection is available or allowed for these laptops.

AV connections and other peripherals will be provided for recipients who wish to control their classroom projectors or interactive whiteboards from their laptops.

Your laptop will be able to access any web service used by Riverdale. This includes Schoology, Google Apps, Google Mail, FAWeb, our library databases, the Riverdale website, Lower School websites, or for that matter any web page you can find use for!

You should store your Riverdale files in Google Drive; that way they'll always be available to you, from any computer.

Remote access to all employee files stored in Riverdale servers is available as well. Please see these instructions for remote access setup. But we strongly recommend using Google Drive instead.

Because Riverdale owns the laptops, our licensing permits us to install any software running on Riverdale campus computers. A list of campus software is available in Self Service, which you should install.

If you find that you require other software, you can discuss its academic necessity with the Technology Department. Riverdale may agree to purchase software for your use. You are also free to purchase any software for yourself.

What happens to my desktop computer?

Classroom desktop computers no longer exist, in almost every case.

Computer labs, faculty workspaces, and offices have not been changed (except by request of those in them!). As laptop use grows, we anticipate gradual reduction in the number of wired desktops available in common faculty work-spaces and offices.

Are you an Administrator or Administrative Staff? If you receive a laptop we will remove your desktop. Trust us, you don't want to manage both.

Can I buy a personal laptop through this program?

No. Sorry. This would have tax implications for the school that could utterly destroy space and time as we know them.

The bottom line

Faculty must use self-managed laptops. Administrators and Administrative Staff can opt into this program. If you're not faculty, and you're not comfortable taking on a self-managed laptop, you should not opt into this program.

What should I do if I'm upgrading or returning my laptop?

  1. (Mac only) Go to System Preferences > iCloud and uncheck all options, then Sign Out of iCloud.
  2. Ensure any data you want to keep is backed up or copied somewhere
  3. Delete any sensitive data and clear your trash
  4. Either:
    • Create a new admin account with password abcd1234!
    • Change your laptop's admin account password to abcd1234!
  5. Return it to us

There is no need to uninstall anything.

We will either delete your laptop's admin account (which will remove your home folder and any personal data) or restore your laptop to factory settings.

How do I request a laptop?

Current employees

Submit a Tech request like this:
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