The Lasso

Where, oh where, did all my docs go?

Andrea Dilao, Staff Reporter

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Students wait in line to turn their laptops in for reimaging. Plenty of students know to use Google Drive to store all school-related assignments, or at least as much as possible. While some didn’t expect for reimaging to wipe the hard drive, and many were surprised to get their laptops back in a completely new state, others knew to back everything up first. “Reimaging is something all students must be prepared for,” said Knight. “All work must be backed up at all times, so work is not lost.” By Andrea Dilao (September 24, 2015)

Near the end of the summer of 2015, students were asked to turn their laptops in for a process known as reimaging. Little did they know just how significant backing up their hard drive was until after getting their laptops back.

As Mason nears the end of its third week of school, it seems as if teachers and students are getting used to the flow of continuous activity in the busy month of September. Personalized learning can be found in almost every classroom, and a laptop in every student’s hand.

However, with every new development comes a new set of complications.

On Tuesday, August 18, parents received an email from GMHS Principal Tyrone Byrd requesting students return their school-issued laptops to the school for “reimaging.”

The process, which began on Tuesday, August 25 – only two weeks before the opening of the school year – is designed to improve the functionality of the device, but also removes administrative/parental controls.

“Reimaging is the process of completely erasing the hard drive and replacing it with a new image created by the [Instructional Technology] IT department,” said Mr. Steven Knight, Instructional Technology Coordinator. “The image is a version of a hard drive with all configurations needed to use at GM and at home.”

Many students were unaware of how the process would completely wipe the laptop??s hard drive, and though many have been using Google Drive to store assignments, others had significant documents or programs for other classes that remained on the hard drive.

“I like that it’s updated, but it was really tedious to have to figure out how to backup everything,” said sophomore Lydia Grund. “I figured the process would delete it all.”

Apple computers come out with new operating systems every year, along with other updates, and these updates alter the look and functionality of the software. For example, the most recent Apple OS, Yosemite, was released October 2014, yet some students weren’t able to (or preferred not to) install it.

“The reimaging process ensures that anytime a teacher utilizes a tool in class, every student has the updated version of that resource,” Assistant Principal Kevin Clark said. “It makes it easier for teachers to instruct smoothly and make easy transitions between class lessons and activities.”

The process also fixes glitches and parents can still have access to administrative controls if they consult with Knight.

“Since this was the first time we let students take laptops home over the summer we wanted to make sure everyone started fresh for the upcoming school year,” said Ms. Kesha Legagneur, GMHS librarian,. “From time to time we come across a little hiccup [with reimaging] but it hasn’t been overwrought with issues and in the grand scheme of things, it’s been pretty smooth.”

In orientation sessions this year and last, before students were able to sign for responsibility of a laptop, they were reminded that they must always be ready for the reimaging process, and it was especially emphasized for them to save all work in more than just one place.

“We try to ensure that when students have their computer reimaged they are reminded to back up work, but this summer several students were not reminded and for this I am sorry,” said Mr. Knight. “Students need to remember that this device is not theirs, it is owned by FCCPS. When each student received their device, they signed off on that fact and agreed to follow the Acceptable Usage Regulations.”

“I’ve been talking with administration about my concerns, and decided not to turn my laptop in just yet as I knew the implications,” said senior, Jacob Bruner. “I know I have to soon, but they want my input on how to make a more effective policy for the laptops, which I’m glad to give.”

Bruner, self-informed and aware of the meaning of reimaging, took the matter into his own hands. He did not turn his computer in because of what some of the changes will mean for him. However, he encourages others who want a say in their computers to talk to administration, because according to him, they really do want to hear from the students.

“To give students the choice to take laptops home over the summer was thoroughly discussed,” Mr. Clark said. “This is our first time going through this unique process, so there were a few mistakes made. We [the administration] encourage and appreciate feedback, and out of this, we’ll know what we need to do to make all of this better for next year.”

About the Writer
Andrea Dilao, Staff Reporter
A four-year contributor to The Lasso, Andrea Dilao (GMHS class of 2017) served on the staff for two years and then as a student contributor for two more years. She wrote about school issues and school culture. She now studies at the University of Virginia.
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